Innovative youth mentoring programme at the University of Auckland

20 April 2016
Pat and Kelsey
Dr Kelsey Deane and Dr Pat Bullen

More vulnerable youth will be mentored under an innovative youth mentoring programme at the University of Auckland, thanks to a $220,000 grant from the Vodafone NZ Foundation.

Dr Pat Bullen and Dr Kelsey Deane, who both specialise in youth development and youth mentoring at the University’s Faculty of Education and Social Work, will lead the project.

The grant will support them to work collaboratively with existing programmes and community partners to develop a culturally-based version of the Campus Connections mentoring model for Aotearoa New Zealand.

Designed by their colleagues at Colorado State University, the Campus Connections programme aims to boost meaningful learning opportunities for vulnerable youth in alternative education.

The programme is a natural extension of Dr Bullen’s Fellowship work. In 2014 she received the Vodafone World of Difference Fellowship to further develop her expertise in youth mentoring and service learning. She focused on enhancing the quality and reach of youth mentoring through community-university partnerships.

“During my World of Difference year, I examined many youth mentoring programmes and Campus Connections certainly stood out. I was completely overwhelmed by the programme’s ability to positively impact vulnerable youth by uniquely combining 50 hours of intensive one-to-one mentoring, with social group-based activities and on-site therapy,” Dr Bullen says.

She says the NZ Youth Mentoring Network has identified a significant gap in service provision for high-risk youth, including those who are involved in alternative education. Campus Connections Aotearoa will help fill this gap.

Campus Connections Aotearoa will be launched at the Faculty of Education and Social Work in the second semester of 2017. During the first year, approximately 30 young people aged 12-18 in alternative education will receive 48 hours of mentoring over a 12-week period from Faculty of Education and Social Work student mentors, counsellors and social workers.  Each young person will then be supported by supervised social work students to transition into other social services, programmes, educational and/or employment opportunities.

In addition to supporting vulnerable young people, Campus Connections Aotearoa will provide multiple opportunities for students studying counselling, social work and/or youth work to experience authentic youth mentoring, case management, transition support, and counselling experiences.

The grant from Vodafone NZ Foundation was announced at an event held at Vodafone’s Viaduct Harbour corporate offices in Auckland.

Vodafone Foundation Chair Anthony Welton said, “Dr Bullen’s application clearly demonstrated the potential for this international programme to make a meaningful difference in New Zealand.

We support initiatives that create opportunities for vulnerable young people to thrive. We have seen the benefits of Pat’s fellowship year within the mentoring sector and believe this approach via Campus Connections will build on that impact.”


Anna Kellett, Media Relations Adviser