The Consumer Advice Service is involved in a number of projects with young people from the age of 11-18 years old. We have a validate scheme where we issue proof of age cards to young people to help retailers and licensees.
We are also right behind consumer education and regularly speak to young people from schools regarding age restricted products and advice on purchasing their first cars.
Validate UK is a voluntary proof of age scheme for everyone, it aims to ensure that age restricted products are only sold to those legally entitled to buy them; it also helps those who may look younger than they are to prove their age.
All Validate UK cards are plastic, have scanned photos, scanned signatures, the applicant’s date of birth and age attainment boxes, making it easy for retailers and licensees to see immediately how old the holder is and shows the Government endorsed PASS mark.
Asking to see a Validate UK card will help traders to avoid breaking the law and shows that they are taking a responsible attitude towards under age sales.
At the moment cards are being issued in the Rhondda Cynon Taf Authority to all children in full time education , between the ages of 11 to 18, free of charge. Traders within the Authority are also being made aware of the scheme and that the Validate UK card is being carried by 11 to 18 year olds. To enquire about validate contact Consumer Advice on 01443 484469.
Consumer development and education
We run two National competitions for youngsters in our schools. The Young Consumer of the Year Competition and the Consumer Challenge Quiz, both of which are run by the Trading Standards Institute (TSI) and organised on a local level by Trading Standards Services.
In 2005 Rhondda Cynon Taf did very well. Our Young Consumers team won the Welsh title and won a place at the National Final at the TSI conference, where our Consumer Challenge Quiz team beat teams from 14 schools from across Britain to take the UK title.
Young consumer of the Year
2005 was particularly successful, 10 out of 19 schools participated. An elimination heat was held at Llantrisant Leisure Centre in December 2004 with the top four teams going on to compete against each other at our Final in the Pop Factory in February.
Treorchy Comprehensive School were the winning team and went on to represent Rhondda Cynon Taf at the Welsh Final in Llandrindod Wells. There they beat teams from 16 other Local Authorities across Wales to take the title of Welsh champions and represented Wales at the National Final at the Trading Standards Institute’s Conference in Brighton.
The competition is well regarded in Rhondda Cynon Taf, with teams from our schools having enjoyed success in previous years both in Wales and at the UK Final.
Consumer challenge quiz
The Consumer Challenge Quiz (CCQ) is similar to the Young Consumer of the Year Competition but is aimed at children with special needs. Teams from Wales entered the competition for the first time this year.
The team from Rhondda Cynon Taf did exceptionally well and won the competition; they beat teams from 14 other schools across Britain to become the UK titleholders.
The youngsters involved in these competitions learn a great deal about their rights and responsibilities as consumers. Both events encourage children to learn a diverse range of facts in areas such as Consumer Affairs, Money and Finance, Credit, Europe and Travel, Food and Drink, Safety and the Environment and Legal matters.
This prepares them for the challenges they face at university, in their first jobs and beyond, it is also a memorable and enjoyable experience for them.
This section works with others to deliver consumer education and raise awareness of consumer affairs. Talks and presentations about our work include:
Support at Crucial crew and Wise For Life at the Safety Zone, manning a Co-op shop on under age sales talking to children from years 5,6,11 and 12.
The dangers of using credit unwisely for youngsters in years 10,11 and 12, delivered at Rhydyfelin Comprehensive School.
“World of Work” talks to youngsters explaining the role of Trading Standards.
Talks to the carers of elderly people on doorstep selling.
Toy Safety talks to young mums.
Mega Drive talks.
Scams awareness day
General Consumer Rights talks
A part time Consumer Development Officer has been employed to further develop the consumer education within the service. The education programme is being expanded to include:
Financial Literacy Project
We are progressing a financial literacy project, which aims to empower youngsters to choose financial products with confidence and equip them for independent living in a modern economy.
We plan to prepare lesson plans and materials for practical workshops on budgeting for students aged up to 16, we would look to engender a sense of personal responsibility with this age group. A presentation on the dangers of using credit unwisely was delivered at Rhydyfelin Comprehensive School to students in year 10. As part of this presentation the students completed a questionnaire, which tested their knowledge and sought their opinions on financial matters. Interestingly 88% felt that they should be taught how to manage money with just 6% saying that they had been taught money management skills.
For older students, those between 16 and 19 the talks would focus around independent living prior to them entering employment and/or Higher Education i.e. Budgeting, loans, credit agreements etc.
For adults and vulnerable groups the talks would focus around debt avoidance as well as general prudent money management skills with workshops providing advice on specific financial problems. To find out anymore about our work involving consumer education you can contact Consumer Advice on 01443 484469.
Doorstep Crime and Empowering the Elderly
We plan to develop a series of talks raising awareness of doorstep crime and high-pressure doorstep selling techniques. We are considering staging a play working with a school drama group, which would address these issues and our intention would be to move the play around various community centres within the borough.