In September, more than 35 MATES Junior mentees attended the "University for a Day" event of the year. "University for a Day" is an annual event to give Year 8 students the opportunity to take part in the university experience and explore what their futures could look like.

MATES Junior mentees and mentors

The full-day event allowed mentees to explore the University of Auckland city campus, sit in on lectures, and take part in challenging workshops. The mentees were also very excited to finish the day with a tour of the Sky Tower.

MATES Programme Manager Connor Bourne says, "The purpose of the event is to give our MATES Junior mentees an overview of what life is like as a university student and explore the vision they have for their future."

Workshop at the Maker Space- Unleash

"Every year we try to run the event differently so we can show our young people different opportunities and challenges. This year we had the help of the Maker Space- Unleash, who helped us run a workshop on critical thinking. I was amazed by the creativity and problem-solving our mentees brought to their challenges!" says Connor.

Another highlight of the day was the Merchant 1948 shoe design workshop. The mentees were split into teams with a teacher and/or a MATES mentor. The mentees were asked to design a pair of shoes with the choice of a boot, a sneaker, or a heel. It was a great time for mentees to show their creativity and design skills.

MATES mentees designing a boot

Blob Art- a design from a MATES Junior Mentee

MATES mentor Gemma says, "There is so much fun and energy going on today. I was very surprised to see mentees asking questions at the lectures and bringing their creativity to the table at the workshops. One mentee told me he had never thought about university before today. MATES is doing such a great thing to spark interest for the students and let them know what opportunities are out there for them."