ITF National Volunteer Week

Inspire the future for National Volunteer Week

Inspire the future for National Volunteer Week

Last updated 23 June 2022
Last updated 23 June 2022

This week is Te Wiki Tūao ā-Motu National Volunteer Week, a time to celebrate all the volunteers in Aotearoa New Zealand.

Inspiring the Future Aotearoa is a programme introduced by the TEC to connect students aged 7 to 13 with volunteers from the world of work. Through in-school events, we aim to broaden young people’s horizons and challenge stereotypes that can limit their potential.

The programme is one of the TEC’s key initiatives to support New Zealanders to raise their skills and aspirations, to meet the demands of work now and in the future. It’s part of the National Careers System Strategy that TEC is leading.

Why is Inspiring the Future important?

Nina Ive, Acting DCE Strategy & Design, says the programme developed out of research into children’s aspirations (Drawing the Future (PDF 14 MB), 2019).

“TEC commissioned research in 2019 into what kinds of jobs and careers children were thinking about. It showed that most children aged 7 to 13 could see themselves in just one of nine different jobs. Unconscious biases, to do with gender, ethnicity and background, were limiting their aspirations.

“That’s not a good result for our young people, because children should dream big for the economic prosperity of Aotearoa, which depends on the development of a broad range of skills.”

International research shows that children’s career aspirations at primary school often predict the subjects they choose at secondary school, and what they then go on to study or train in. We need to make young people more aware of their options, not limit them.  

“Inspiring the Future is about engaging with role models – adults from the community – who can share their life and career stories at primary and intermediate schools. That way, tamariki get to see and hear about jobs they might never know about from friends and whānau, but still hear from people with backgrounds like theirs. It increases the relevance to them of their learning, and challenges stereotypes.”

Volunteer to help broaden young people’s horizons

If you do just one thing this week to celebrate Te Wiki Tūao ā-Motu National Volunteer Week, consider signing up to have a kōrero with students about your job and journey. Just a few hours of your time can make a big impact.

Alicia, one of our Inspiring the Future volunteers, describes her own experience: “There was a point where I really connected with one of the kids. It was that moment when I realised, ‘I’m actually inspiring someone – wow!’ It made my day, but I’m still thinking about it. When I’m having a struggle at work and I’m like – ‘Am I doing a good job?’ – I think about that kid and I’m like, ‘Yes it’s fine.’”

Everyone has a story to tell, and everyone can inspire someone.

Find out more and sign up at