The University of Auckland’s youth mentoring course, named SOCYOUTH 300, aims to provide students and youth with a fresh mentoring experience.
The course is a part of the Faculty of Education and Social Work and the wider Campus Connections Aotearoa organisation, and provides students with the opportunity to enhance and develop their respective mentoring skills by working with youth. SOCYOUTH 300 not only examines theories and concepts of youth mentoring and positive youth development in relation to youth work practice, but provides a supported, structured and fun environment to practically apply this learning with youth from Alternative Education providers across Tamaki Makaurau.
Course coordinators state that the programme intends to develop important engagement skills. “students enrolled in SOCYOUTH 300 will develop therapeutic communication and relationship building skills with youth participants, and engage in prosocial activities as part of their hands-on learning experience”.
The programme intends to have a larger focus on one-on-one engagement and communication. Because of this, focus on course readings and the written component will be reduced, opting rather for an increased practical approach that will be undertaken significantly during class time. Topics that will be examined through this course include adolescent development, effective mentoring relationships, communication and counselling, ethical youth practice and risk assessment.
Through this programme, students (mentors) and youth (mentee’s) will be matched to form a therapeutic mentoring partnership. These partnerships are further grouped into mentoring whānau, to allow students to support each other’s practice and youth to benefit from multiple mentoring influences. Within this structure, youth are able to engage with their mentors individually and in larger groups in numerous activities. These activities include, but are not limited to, art, music, sports and educational opportunities, as well as shared meals within groups.
Both mentors and mentees have the opportunity to connect, interact and grow in a safe and inclusive environment, while mentors are able to gain and grow important engagement skills should they wish to pursue a career in social work or not. The course also provides opportunities for reflection and debrief for mentors, allowing for group discussion, evaluation and feedback/forward with industry professionals and peers.
A student who has completed the course says, “It makes me feel good to be a mentor. It gives me a sense of fulfilment where I am able to work with my mentee. Giving back to the community through youth is a great feeling.” Another said they “really enjoyed the positive environment that Campus Connections Aotearoa provided” as it gave them “a lot of different opportunities to grow, especially in communication and interpersonal skills.”
The course runs every Thursday over six hours, from 9:00am to 3:00pm in Semesters One and Two. The course is open to BSW, BSportHPE or BA students as an elective. Places are also open to BCom or BSc students as part of the 30 points that may be taken from other programmes. BA students may also take SOCYOUTH 300 as part of a Community Service in Youth Development Module.
Applications for the SOCYOUTH 300 course in Semester One and Two, 2022 can be found here.