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Super-charged support for bright young Kiwis

Two teenaged bright sparks are getting life-changing support from the owner and operator of New Zealand’s national electricity grid.

Last year, Transpower came on-board as a First Foundation Scholarship Partner and it’s providing scholarships to two impressive young women – Isabella Tunai from South Auckland, and Jazz Parsons from Wellington.  

First Foundation scholar Jazz Parsons with scholarship partner  Sally Homer and mentor Aroshni Aluwihare

“Supporting the communities we work within is really important to us and our scholarships are just one of the ways we do this,” says Transpower’s talent and development specialist Sally Homer. 

As the company’s Talent and Development Specialist, Sally is responsible for leadership and management training; the Transpower Graduate Development Programme; various scholarships and internships; and Transpower’s Diversity and Inclusion Programme.  

The students they support are going to be a huge asset to the country, Sally adds.

“It’s great Transpower is able to work alongside First Foundation to support these students and give them a hand up.”

 As well as offering scholarships, a number of Transpower managers also provide further support by mentoring First Foundation students. 

Meaningful work

Transpower stands together to keep the lights on for New Zealand – planning, building and operating the system that powers our country and our lives.  

First-year Transpower scholarship students, who are usually in Year 13 at high school,  head to the company offices for work experience during school holidays, where they are given a variety of tasks.

 “Once they go to university, we will endeavour to give them some work which is relevant to their studies,” says Sally.

“While our scholarship students are with us, they get to learn what it is to be part of a work team

basic stuff such as punctuality, what to wear, keeping your supervisor up to date with your progress on tasks, supporting your fellow team members and so on.”

Transpower Scholar Isadora Tunai

At the same time, the team can introduce them to careers available in the New Zealand electricity industry – a vital part of the economy. 

“It is a really great place to work with lots of interesting, future-focussed things happening.

“In the future, our national electricity grid will become an even more critical backbone of the New Zealand energy system, and it is closely linked with the performance of our economy.


We are keen to get talented young people involved.”

Giving back

It’s only been a relatively short time since Transpower has been involved with First Foundation. But so far, the team is really impressed with the work ethic of the students it supports, Sally says.  

“Our staff gains a lot of satisfaction from knowing we’re supporting students from our communities and providing them with the opportunity to attend university – something which may not have been possible without Transpower and First Foundation’s support.”

“Our scholarship students can help our staff grasp a better understanding of the communities we work within, and that’s really important.”

After attending Wellington’s First Foundation Award Ceremonies in 2018 and 2019, Sally was hugely inspired to continue supporting the organisation.

“I was impressed by the First Foundation graduates and moved by the journeys they have been through to reach their graduation. Some of the stories brought tears to my eyes.” 

Interested in becoming a Scholarship Partner with First Foundation? Find out more here.