When two financial experts joined forces in November 2020 to form Ingeus’s first Money Management team, little did they realise the impact they would have. Within two years the advice service has soared! Originally launched as an exclusive money advice service for participants on the Job Entry Targeted Support (JETS) programme in Greater Manchester, the team’s ideas have now found their way across the world to Australia, with plans for further globe-trotting in the pipeline.
The Money Management service was set up at the start of lockdown in conjunction with the Greater Manchester Combined Authority, which commissions Ingeus to deliver the JETS programme. Parveen Akhtar and Ian Girvin were recruited to support participants, using their experience to develop the service, which had a totally open remit at that stage.
Senior Advisor and Partnership Manager, Parveen has been leading the Money Management service since day one. She says, “I was given a totally open brief to shape the concept and content of the programme. Never in my wildest dreams would I have thought this is where we would be just two years later!”
With Parveen at the helm, the team were quick to put their ideas into action and the service soon became an integral part of a JETS participant’s journey back into employment. From budgeting to debt advice, the dedicated advisors offered support in all key areas affecting the smooth running of people’s finances. Just one change of personnel since its creation, and the team now consists of Parveen, Ian and Neil Maudsley – each bringing a wealth of experience and expertise.
Within 15 months of its launch, the team was supporting Ingeus’s Work and Health Programme and the newly formed Restart Scheme. Work with both programmes is ongoing, with the Money Management team helping to train and support Ingeus advisors so they too can offer monetary advice.
“Finances are one of those things that people don’t want to talk about,” explains Parveen. “When people have the worry of not being able to pay bills, they all too often bury their heads in the sand. But it can escalate and become a barrier to enjoying life.
“So many people say they wish they’d seen us sooner. They trust the information we give because there’s no hidden agenda – we’re completely impartial.”
In October 2021, Ingeus’s parent company in Australia, APM Group, contacted the JETS team about supporting a financial awareness programme for its Employable Me digital platform. Parveen has since helped to establish eLearning resources for the platform, which supports vulnerable 18–24-year-olds.
She says, “Working with APM in Australia has meant lots of early morning and late evening calls but together we have created really useful resources for people to use.”
Working with the Employable Me team, Parveen divided the online resources for jobseekers into sections on budgeting and borrowing. Her work has included writing information for videos explaining financial terms simply. After much positive feedback, the platform will expand into other countries with APM centres, with a potential reach of 100,000 Employable Me users.
“People face the same financial challenges in every country,” she explains. “And they need the same advice. My work has been all about making the language clear for people so they have the knowledge to make informed choices.
“I’m extremely proud of what our little team has created. We took one step at a time, keeping focussed on our goal of making a difference and improving people’s lives.”
Acknowledging the value of the service, JETS’ Operations Director Amanda Newell adds, “The Money Management team provides a pivotal, quality service to JETS participants, supporting them to make informed decisions about their finances. We know that the right work, at the right time, is good for people and Money Management positively supports participants back to the workplace. It has never been more important than now in our current socioeconomic climate to have this service.”
In Australia, Parveen’s colleagues are equally enthusiastic about the value it’s adding. Catherine Elsworth, Employable Me’s Learning and Content Manager, and Andy Nguyen, Learning Designer, say “Parveen has an amazing wealth of knowledge. The courses we have created with Parveen are valuable eLearning assets in the Employable Me platform as we have jobseekers from many different backgrounds and situations. Parveen not only has the expertise, but she also adds a human touch from her years of her experience in helping a range of people with different money issues.
“We have really enjoyed working with and learning from Parveen and we look forward to continuing our collaboration creating courses that will be used globally throughout APM.”