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Whitireia And WelTec Leadership Programme Helps Young Woman Grow Confidence Through Volunteer Work

At the beginning of 2020, Roseline Enoka, who was born in a refugee camp in Kenya, moved from her family home in Australia to Wellington to live with her sister. Roseline wanted to study social work so she could get a job helping children and refugees. She set her sights on getting a social work degree at Whitireia, and as a stepping stone enrolled in the Whitireia Certificate in Study and Career Preparation - Social Science (Level 3 and 4).

But the move to Wellington to study for Roseline’s dream job was not easy.

“I have always been extremely shy and unsure of myself, so when I moved to Wellington to start my studies I didn’t find it easy to make friends, and didn’t feel very confident,” says Roseline.

Recognising Roseline would benefit from some extra support, a member of the Whitireia and WelTec Learner Support team contacted Roseline during lockdown and introduced her to Jackie Bailey, one of the coordinators of the institute’s leadership programme LEAP. Jackie knew immediately that LEAP would be a big help for Roseline, and encouraged her to join when lockdown ended.

LEAP, which is short for leadership, employment, action and preparation, is a student volunteer and leadership programme which was developed by two academic support staff at Whitireia and WelTec to engage students in leadership and employability activities and develop communication skills and confidence, to become more community-minded, and work-ready.

The LEAP programme requires students to complete at least 20 hours of volunteer community service, and to attend two workshops a year. The workshops include talks on leadership, employability and community.

Roseline attended the first LEAP social event in July 2020 and has been to almost every event and workshop since.

“From the first social event, you would have thought that everyone had been friends for years,” says Roseline. “No one knew each beforehand and we were all there for the same reason, so it made socialising really easy. After that event people were saying hello to me on campus and I felt like I knew a lot of people all of a sudden, and that in itself really boosted my confidence.”

“From then on I started to complete my volunteer hours at events around campus including helping at Mental Health Awareness Week, and running the Whitireia Pātaka Kai, a ‘take what you need’ pantry run by the Student Hardship Fund.”

“Roseline was obviously a bit lonely and struggled with self-esteem before joining LEAP but now when she walks into a room you can see her beautiful personality shine through. I knew that with a little push she would flourish in the LEAP programme,” says Jackie.

Roseline spent much of her young life moving from place to place but never felt like she settled in, causing her to feel isolated and struggle to make friends.

“The confidence that I developed from LEAP meant that I was able to communicate better with my peers but also with my tutors. It really helped my studies, especially having to deliver presentations in front of the class. I honestly don’t think I could have done all of that without my experience with LEAP.”

“LEAP was instrumental in helping Roseline to find her feet, connect with others and building confidence,” says Jackie.

Roseline has successfully completed her Certificate in Study and Career Preparation - Social Science (Level 3 and 4) and is looking forward to starting her Bachelor of Social Work early this year. 

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