The Wonder Project is Engineering New Zealand’s free programme for schools, designed to get young Kiwis excited about science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM). Designed to spark wonder in young Kiwis from Year 5–13, our learning experiences make STEM super fun and engaging, and get students excited about a future STEM career. And you can help bring the wonder to life by joining our nationwide crew of Wonder Project Ambassadors.
What's a Wonder Project Ambassador?
Wonder Project Ambassadors are professionals working in the STEM sector who want to make a real difference. You don’t have to be an engineer – we welcome people from all STEM fields. As an ambassador, you represent STEM and everything that’s wonder-ful about it. Your job is to impart your wisdom, passion, and excitement, inspiring students to pursue a career in STEM.
"Watching the young inquisitive minds of future engineers learn and ask challenging questions was an enriching experience. It was a great way to introduce engineering concepts into a fun environment."
Facade Engineer - Kaizon
How it works
We offer a series of in-class challenges that run during specified school terms each year. We’ll pair you with a teacher to help them run one of our challenges in the classroom. We supply everything you need to have loads of fun with your allocated class – training, student learning material, teaching support material, and a free challenge kit.
All our programmes are free, thanks to our funding partners, and open to any school in New Zealand. We design everything to be accessible for students across Aotearoa from all sorts of backgrounds, and want to help bridge the gap of women, Māori and Pasifika working in STEM fields.
How to become a Wonder Project Ambassador
Are you a STEM Professional who’s passionate about your career? Well, you’re halfway to becoming a Wonder Project Ambassador. All you need to do is sign up online. Because you’ll be working with children, we’ll need to know if you have any criminal convictions. To go into schools you'll also need to be vaccinated against Covid-19 and be willing to provide your status to any school you're paired with. Once we have all of this information, we’ll pair you with a school and give you access to the Wonder Project’s resources.
To be a Wonder Project Ambassador you need:
- to work in a STEM field (science, technology, engineering, or maths)
- the support from your employer to participate
- time to donate
- confidence to speak to a class of students
- passion and excitement for all things STEM!
You don’t have to be an engineer or an Engineering New Zealand member to take part.
The time investment
Wonder Project Ambassadors give back by giving their time. For all our challenges, you’ll need to invest at least 3 hours over the challenge to be present in the classroom. We understand it’s a big time commitment, so you’ll need to make sure your employer is on board too.
Our STEM careers ambassadors are required on an ad hoc basis, so that’s a smaller commitment. Career ambassadors only need to give a short talk to students on their experiences in STEM. We’ll let you know when and where you’re needed, but it’s not weekly.
How to get your workplace onboard
Being a Wonder Project Ambassador takes time. You’ll need some good reasons to get your employer to give you paid time off to participate. Start by telling them that letting you be a Wonder Project Ambassador is an opportunity to:
- give back to the community
- inspire a diverse range of students
- future-proof the STEM industry
- build your communication and presentation skills
- complete hours towards your continuing professional development
- lift the profile of the company you work with.
Gain CPD hours
If you're an Engineering New Zealand member, the time you spend as a Wonder Project Ambassador contributes towards your required continuing professional development hours. You can include preparation time and classroom time. Other professional bodies may also recognise this type of volunteer work as CPD.
You don’t need to be a rocket scientist, power expert or green thumb to be a great ambassador – we’ll give you all the training and resources you need. All ambassadors undertake initial training, and then specific training for the challenge they’re taking part in. This is all online and available for you to do in your own time – and it’s super easy! Throughout each challenge we support you and the teacher with all the student learning material and teaching guides.
Working with teachers
As a Wonder Project Ambassador you’ll be working alongside a teacher in a school that we pair you with. Some teachers might not have a STEM background and that’s okay. You’ll work together with the students to run your chosen Wonder Project challenge. You’ll need to meet up with your teacher beforehand so you’re prepared with everything you need to run the challenge successfully over the term.
Vaccinations for school visitors
The Ministry of Health's new Public Health Order has implications for our Wonder Project Ambassadors – covered as ‘volunteers and unpaid workers at all schools’. To volunteer at schools in person, Wonder Project Ambassadors must be vaccinated against Covid-19.
Schools are legally required to collect vaccination information. You will need to declare the following information to the school you visit for their vaccination records:
- your full name
- date of birth
- contact details
- the name of the COVID-19 vaccines received, and
- the date those doses were received.
We expect the Government's vaccination certificate system will enable you to do this.
When you sign up to be an ambassador, we'll ask about your ability to declare this information to schools you are paired with. We will not be collecting your vaccination status.
We are happy to facilitate alternative options for those who cannot declare their vaccination records, including taking part as an online ambassador.
We're here to support you
The Wonder Project is Engineering New Zealand’s programme for schools and we’ll be with you every step of the way – even if you’re not an engineer. We’ll be in touch with you before, during, and after the project, making sure you feel comfortable and supported. We have a dedicated team who will be available to answer your questions Monday to Friday. We also have a Wonder Project Community on Facebook where you can ask questions and get support from a network of STEM professionals.