Are you our next First Foundation Mentor?



Become an integral part of guiding New Zealand’s talented youth 

The vital ingredient 

More than 70% of all First Foundation scholarship recipients are the first in their family to attend university. With the academic ability and the drive to succeed but little knowledge about how to navigate the landscape of university life, First Foundation recognises that success needs to be supported in more ways than just financial. An integral part of the scholarship offering is the matching of each scholar with a mentor. 

Mentors are matched with scholars after the lengthy recruitment process which takes place over almost ten months. Scholars are asked what they require from their mentors (someone to talk to, budgeting advice) and mentors are asked what skills they can bring to the relationship. The First Foundation team then matches scholars with mentors. First Foundation invest in their mentors with a mentor development programme. 

“I can only do what I do because of the shoulders on which I stand.” 

- Michelle Johansson, TeachFirst – Programme Director and guest First Foundation Mentor Training Co-facilitator

Boost your own career 

As well as all of the obvious benefits to your mentee, being a mentor has some added benefits to help you invest in your own skillset and build your personal brand. In a 2018 survey, 38% of CFOs said that the greatest benefit of being a mentor is the opportunity to improve leadership skills which can enhance your personal brand. Being able to highlight your values driven ethos and people skills essential to leadership as demonstrated through volunteer and mentoring roles put you in good stead for board appointments and promotions as they show a deep, long term commitment to people. 

“Being genuinely interested in someone else made me reflect a lot on my own life and goals. I learned a lot about myself, especially my strengths and weaknesses. It highlighted to me the kind of role model I wanted to be to positively benefit others.” 

- Nick Deerson, First Foundation mentor 

Keep your finger on the pulse of the future of New Zealand 

A recent graduate can keep you in touch with new perspective and learning. This could be the most up-to-date teachings in your particular field, or more broadly, exposure to the workforce of the future and their way of working. Gives you the ability to remain relevant and connected. 

The future of New Zealand is a more diverse workplace. By 2038 over 50 per cent of New Zealand’s population will be Māori, Asian and Pacific. To retain market share, businesses need to understand a more diverse customer base. Mentoring through First Foundation will put you in touch with the pulse of future New Zealand. 

“Mentoring has helped me to understand a different aspect of New Zealand’s rich culture and the diversity of backgrounds each of us comes from.” 

- Richard Easton, long-time mentor, board member and now Chair of First Foundation 

Feed your soul 

There is well documented research on the psychology of giving and Professor Carrie Mogilner talks about the sense of control we gain when we choose to give our time away to others, leaving us feeling like we have more time. Our mentors remark on the deep satisfaction they have received through their role in helping support talented youth at a pivotal time of their lives. Often the relationship that is developed during the four-years is so meaningful that a life-long friendship emerges. Many mentors and mentees are in each other’s lives well past the end of the programme. 

"It’s eye-opening and has made me a more rounded person. I’ve got so much out of watching these talented young people grow into incredible adults. Each of them added new perspectives into my thinking.” 

- Sheree Nicholas, First Foundation mentor 

First Foundation is a non-profit which brokers partnerships between organisations committed to better social outcomes in NZ and academically talented students who need financial assistance to achieve their potential through tertiary education.