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Trust Tycab to know innovation and impact

If you’re looking for an effective way to make an impact on educational opportunities for the next generation, First Foundation makes a sound choice. This is borne out by Tycab, a part of the Tyree group, where innovative solutions are part of the culture.

First Foundation scholar Monalisa Topu with the team from Tycab

First Foundation scholar Monalisa Topu with the team from Tycab including Mark Whorwood (right).

The Tyree group was founded by Sir William Tyree, OBE. He was an innovator, never accepting the status quo and always seeking a better way. This led him to be a success in business and an inspiration to many engineers. His legacy is doing the same.

The companies Sir William set up throughout Australia and New Zealand produce a range of electrical products, including cable, magnet wire, transformers, substations and associated more. On his passing, he put them all into a trust, ensuring that up to half of the annual profits would be given back through philanthropy.

Supporting aspiration in Aotearoa

Tycab in New Zealand saw First Foundation as the right fit to provide opportunities for ambitious Kiwis pursuing further education. 

The GM of Tycab NZ is Mark Whorwood. He said they sought a way to nurture future industry. 

“We were looking for a provider supporting disadvantaged young people. And we very much like what they do at First Foundation. You see the results coming out the other side; they develop talented people.

“The transformation in these young people as they transition from high school to university is very impressive. The mentoring and support deliver quality.”

Mark says the programme’s wraparound support is not only successful but empowering from the start.

A process of empowerment

“During the selection process, potential scholars still have another year of high school. They may not yet have exposure to business, management, networks and opportunities. But First Foundation shows these things are not big and scary.

“It helps broaden options for young people when they start to have discussions with different people and figure out that they can talk to them quite normally. Many of the scholars are probably quite surprised at the amount of assistance that they can get just by discussing their situation.

The time scholars spend with their mentor is possibly one of the most important things that First Foundation is able to give them. It’s that exposure to a part of the world that they haven’t experienced previously.“

“A couple of years ago, a scholar spoke about the first time he sat down with a middle-aged white guy when he met his mentor. The scholar said he’d never been able to imagine he’d be doing that – it was so far out of his usual world. It turned out the mentor was just a normal, empathetic guy, and he helped him change his future.” 

Growing the future

Tycab NZ has put their support behind six First Foundation scholarships. Two of them are pursuing engineering degrees, and others are studying commerce and business. 

“Sir William was an electrical engineer, so he always wanted to give back to the industry. 

“We’ve been able to keep this focus with the students we support. We don’t angle to any particular region, but we’re pleased to have students from Dargaville High School in Northland all the way down to Mairehau High School in Christchurch.”

Mark says he looks forward to doing even more in the coming years.

“Our business is set for growth as we’ll soon be manufacturing transformers in New Zealand. We’ll have more employees, and it will put us in a particularly good position for our engineering students. We’ll be able to provide outstanding work experience opportunities in electrical engineering.”

Mark says even after a few years of being a First Foundation partner, he’s still struck by the outcomes of the programme.

“We were surprised by the number of scholars that are given an opportunity through First Foundation and by the degree of success they achieve. First Foundation’s results are outstanding – they’re changing lives. 

Mark recognises that Sir William has ensured Tycab is in a unique position to invest in future generations. However, for anyone who would like to invest in tomorrow’s talent, First Foundation is a sure bet.

Mark Whorwood (right) with 2023 First Foundation scholar Mark Watkins

Tycab NZ General Manager Mark Whorwood (right) with 2023 First Foundation scholar Mark Watkins