UCMe XL - Pasifika Outreach programme
Supporting future leaders
UCMe XLerate is an outreach mentoring programme with the aim to increase the academic achievement of Pasifika students sitting the NCEA levels 1, 2 and 3 exams. The programme promotes academic achievement and community engagement. Students attend holiday tutoring programmes at the UC campus that deliver real results with more students completing NCEA and an increase in Pasifika tertiary enrolments.
“The feedback we get from students, teachers and parents about UCMe XL is universally positive. Students always tell us how helpful it was, not only in terms of learning the academic content, but getting to know more about UC.”
Riki Welsh – Team Leader Pacific Development Team
Entering university for the first time can be scary, but the Pacific Development Team has designed the UCMe XL outreach programme to make the transition smoother and provide ongoing support for Pasifika students during their UC journey.
Over the last few years there has been a steady increase in the number of Pasifika students studying at UC which can be attributed directly to UCMe XL. The programme for Year 12 and 13 Pasifika school students aims to support academic achievement by bringing these students on campus, providing tutoring and building relationships with them. It increases their likelihood of getting University Entrance and also coming to UC.
The UCMe XL programme started off small in 2011 – originally as an afterschool programme for Aranui High School and Linwood College – but has grown to the point where it is offered to every secondary school in Christchurch.
Many former UCMe XL students are now tutors themselves so they can pay it forward and be part of a positive programme for other young Pasifika people. Ailine Kei and Wesley Mauafu are two students doing just this.
Ailine, a Social Work student, is a Pasifika mentor to first year students and a Student Leader with the UniLife team looking after a small group of first year students at UC. When she completes her degree she would like to give back to her community by working with Pasifika kids who are on the streets or in Youth Justice residences.
Ailine says: “The UCMe XL program pushed me to be more involved and join new things. As part of this involvement, I started as a high school student and now a tutor and mentor at the UCMe XL program. This role has enabled me to encourage more of our Pasifika young people to attend programs like UCMe XL that will allow them the familiar space to study, connect, and explore.”
Wesley, an Engineering student, was the recipient of a 2017 New Zealand Youth Award and was recognised for his work advocating for and supporting young Pasifika people in the area of wellbeing and suicide prevention. He is also part of the Pacific Youth Leadership and Transformation Council, a Christchurch-based group that supports Pasifika young people to engage in democracy.
Wesley says: “When I was in high school the UCMe XL programme helped me in many ways with my academics. Having one-on-one lessons with tutors who had been through NCEA and who were close to my own age was very refreshing and allowed for very productive study. When I became a student at UC I became a UCMe XL tutor because it was always really enjoyable but the main thing that drove me was the opportunity to teach students and attempt be to them what my tutors were to me.”