Back in 2001 the World Council of Credit Unions (Woccu) started a scholarship programme to promote an engage the next generation of credit union leaders in the international credit union movement.
Over the years World Council Young Credit Union Professionals’ programme (Wycup) continued to expand and attract young credit union professionals from all over the world. To celebrate the 20 years milestone, Woccu hosted with a virtual event in October.
“We think globally, but we act locally. That’s just what we do,” said Wycup director Thom Belekevich.
“At the local level you’re working to expand financial inclusion and provide a values-based alternative for your communities. And together we’re having a global impact. Together we’re stronger. And together we’re inspiring hope for a global community.”
Among those who have recently set up a young professionals network is the Association of British Credit Unions (Abcul). Launched in 2019, the network has now 123 members.
Abcul CEO Robert Kelly said: “I’d like to thank and congratulate all members of the YPN and our dedicated committee for the great successes so far. We’re delighted with the start and delighted to give young people a chance to show their worth within our sector and to show they’re leaders of today.”
Several Wycup alumni have started regional and national young credit union professional organisations of their own after attending the programme.
Maureen Njoroge, a 2019 Wycup Scholarship recipient from the African Confederation of Cooperative Savings and Credit Associations (ACCOSCA) helped to launch the African Youth and Coops Network through ACCOSCA last October.
“This network was formed to elevate the voice of the youth within co-operatives in Africa and start awareness among them on the need to join credit unions, thus reducing the gap in financial inclusivity,” she said.
Brandi Stankovic, chief strategy officer and chief operating officer for Advisory Solutions at CU Solutions Group, wrote a business plan in 2017 to take Wycup beyond a simple scholarship programme.
“That business plan was based on three fundamental principles: to generate revenue, create an infrastructure for growth and to invigorate momentum,” she said. “The programme, of course, must be self-sustaining. And in the last three years we’ve raised nearly US$200,000—and the future is bright,” she said.
The Wycup programme is available to emerging credit union leaders between the ages of 18 and 40, after Woccu decided to raise the age limit for eligibility from 35.