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First Foundation calls for more scholarship partners

Tuesday, 8 October 2019

New Zealand organisations are being asked to help change the lives of talented young students who would otherwise miss out on well-deserved support.

First Foundation, an educational trust that operates nationwide, is seeking new partners to become part of its highly successful scholarship programme for capable students from low socio-economic communities.

“Every year, we award highly sought-after scholarships to young New Zealanders who have plenty of talent but few financial resources, so they can access tertiary education, paid work experience and mentoring,” says First Foundation chief executive officer Kirk Sargent.

“This life-changing work is only possible because of the amazing support of our Scholarship Partners, who are the cornerstone of our programme.”

Sargent says the First Foundation recently interviewed 150 potential scholars for the 2020 academic year. All are highly competent students, but the Foundation will have to turn down 100 of them unless new partners come on board.

“We currently have 50 generous Scholarship Partners, including our principal sponsors Spark and Fletcher Building, but we’d love to have more. We want to provide the same opportunity to all these gifted students.

“If we can get more Kiwi organisations to partner with us, we’ll be able to transform the lives of even more deserving young students.”

Becoming a First Foundation Scholarship Partner involves providing financial assistance towards a scholar’s tertiary fees, and providing them with part-time work for the four-year duration of the scholarship.

Telecommunications company Spark has been a Scholarship Partner for 13 years, currently supporting 17 scholars and looking to take on five more in the next tertiary year.

Rhonda Koroheke, Spark’s general manager of human resources and head of diversity and inclusion, says the relationship began when a handful of the company’s managers became mentors for First Foundation students.

“We saw an opportunity to align our values with an organisation that is passionate about providing a helping hand to talented rangatahi, and providing the means to achieve their academic aspirations and be instrumental in setting them up for a successful future.”

Rhonda says both the First Foundation scholarship and Spark benefit from the partnership.

“Spark nurtures the student through their first experience of working in a corporate environment, building their technical and business acumen and potentially extending that relationship long after the student has finished their studies.”

Fletcher Building’s Rochelle Grant says the company is proud to have partnered with First Foundation from the start, 21 years ago.

"We believe the students that come to Fletcher Building through this wonderful programme gain insights, experience and opportunities that will set them up to achieve in the working world," says Rochelle.

“First Foundation provides students with so much more than just financial assistance. Paid work experience and mentoring give them access to diverse professional networks that many of us take for granted.”


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