Great Potentials Foundation has been working in partnership with the University of Auckland’s EDUC 200 course since 2012 on the MATES programme. Students who enrol in the EDUC 200 course are required to participate as MATES Junior Mentors as part of their coursework.


Dr. Pat Bullen, Senior Lecturer at the University of Auckland


This year, 33 students from the University of Auckland’s EDUC 200 paper will participate in the MATES programme as MATES Mentors. Dr. Pat Bullen, Senior Lecturer at the University of Auckland says, “The number of EDUC 200 students has increased from 10 in 2012 to 33 in 2023. I’m very excited to see the increase in the number. Students who take this paper would have to have a passion to be a mentor and learn about youth mentoring.

MATES impacts not only the young people who are being mentored but also profoundly impacts the EDUC 200 students. MATES gives the EDUC 200 students an opportunity to learn at a deeper level by providing opportunities to apply what they are learning in class to a real-life setting. It helps them to understand what works and what doesn’t work, and create the connection between theory, research, and practice.

Almost every year at the year-end MATES EDUC 200 graduation, I can hear students saying they enjoyed the MATES experience, which has positively enriched their understanding of youth and taught them the importance of doing their part to contribute to an equitable and caring society.

On the other hand, for the Year 8 students, having a mentor whom they could view as a role model would create a broader view of them. It introduces them to different cultures, nurtures their identities and exposes them to different ideas. MATES really is a win-win programme for both mentors and mentees.  

As the Senior Lecturer of the course, I have been truly honoured to work in partnership with Great Potentials Foundation and MATES. MATES is a great programme for our tertiary students to learn their practical skills and strength-based skills. Because of the nature of the course, it often creates a lovely and intimate relationship between the students as they support each other throughout the MATES journey.

The new cohort of EDUC 200 students is starting their first MATES sessions in less than two weeks’ time. I have no doubt that MATES will be a highlight of their tertiary journey!”