Universities, wānanga and the tertiary sector

Staff talent

VSA offers New Zealanders the opportunity to expand their horizons through volunteering – living, connecting and working with partners in the wider Pacific   in an experience of a lifetime – transforming their own lives as well as those they work with. VSA enriches New Zealand society through the cross-cultural exchanges it creates and the new knowledge and cultural understanding that returns with its volunteers. We offer both long (6 months and over) and short-term assignments and currently work in Melanesia, Kiribati, Polynesia and Timor-Leste.

SDG 4 aims to “Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all 

Access to education in the Pacific, particularly in rural and remote areas, remains an issue for many people. Children, especially girls, have few opportunities for education. VSA volunteers support teachers and governments to deliver education to their communities. VSA’s strategy is to develop volunteer assignments that build the capacity of the education system. Volunteers on assignments improve teaching and learning practices through teacher training and development, build the capacity of government education systems and institutions, and promote opportunities for young people. 

We work with our partners overseas to make sure that all our assignments are locally identified, locally relevant, and locally delivered. Our goal is to transfer skills and knowledge so that the changes achieved during an assignment remain sustainable after a volunteer returns to New Zealand. Our capability building model, with a focus on training the trainers, means that your teaching expertise, combined with your technical knowledge, would make you a great volunteer. Volunteers get the rare chance to live and work among local communities in the Pacific deepening their cross-cultural competence and teaching skills. We work with universities and vocational institutions, secondary, primary and early childhood institutions, as well as developing curriculum and education policy. 

We often have roles for people who have experience as  trainers of  trainers, teaching, teaching English as a second language, educational resource development, mentoring, coaching and on-the-job training, transfer of knowledge and skills, training in effective teaching and learning practices, evaluating training needs and delivering workshops, and experience mentoring staff in an academic leadership role, such as PhD supervision. 

Benefits of staff volunteer programmes

  • Leverage the strengths of both our organisations. VSA has decades of experience in sending volunteers and working in the Pacific. We have great systems for looking after our volunteers and making sure they have a fulfilling and safe experience. 
  • Develop the talent of your staff with innovative leadership challenges and professional development opportunities, with real world, lived experience in Pacific communities. 
  • Gain valuable experience living and working with Pacific communities. 
  • Build reputation, brand, and networks. 
  • Support academic colleagues in other universities and contribute to higher educational outcomes. 
  • Gain experience working with scarce resources, and develop innovative in-field solutions. 
  • Identify future research opportunities and contacts. 
  • Fast track development of talented future leaders. Staff of all ages are increasingly purpose driven and want a workplace that supports meaningful work. From Millennials to Baby Boomers, people expect career flexibility and development opportunities. A volunteer assignment can help you to recruit and retain top talent. 
  • Millennials are moving into management roles, which is a great time to offer them a stretch assignment, a chance to test their skills in a new environment, and an international experience. This aligns with millennials expectations that their employer will make a contribution to society, promote diversity and inclusion and offer development and pay benefits to earn their loyalty. 

Student and graduate opportunities – real life experiences

The UniVol Programme is a collaboration between VSA and Otago University, Victoria University, Auckland University and Massey University. The programme provides a personal and professional development opportunity for selected candidates as well as contributing to existing VSA development programmes and improving development education in New Zealand. Students who take part must have taken some development or development-related papers at 300 level. 

The first group of Univols headed off to South Africa, Tanzania and Vanuatu in 2007. Since then, well over 100 students have taken part in the programme. UniVol is the brainchild of Professor Tony Binns, Ron Lister Chair of Geography at Otago University, who had earlier been involved in Volunteer Service Overseas’ (VSO) intern programme in the UK. 

Find out more about Univols by reading about ten years of Univol and the impact on volunteers lives and accounts from students talking about what inspired them to volunteer.

The Univol home page can be found here.

For more information in relation to tertiary partnerships, please contact VSA’s Stakeholder Engagement team here.