From Job Seeker to Mentor: Nicola's Journey with the Job Mentoring Service

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In 2017, Nicola came to New Zealand from her native Germany and luckily stumbled upon the Job Mentoring Service (JMS) as she navigated the challenging terrain of jobhunting.

Moving to New Zealand, Nicola encountered the challenges of job seeking in a new cultural landscape. She notes, "Being a migrant myself, I became more aware of my own culture and see how different cultures have different social rules. Kiwis culture has its own social rules which it’s handy to be aware of."

Reflecting on her experience, she emphasises, "Job mentoring has helped me a lot in getting a job and getting to know different cultures and their approaches. I learned so much."

Giving back through volunteering

After she secured a position as a People & Culture Co-ordinator, Nicola's success fuelled her desire to pay back. She recalls, "Some of my friends became Job Mentors. So, I started playing with the thought. Now, I have the time and thought I can give back."

She attended the JMS training in 2023. Training sessions equip volunteers with the necessary tools and resources. Nicola highlights the companionship among mentors and the insightful presentations from the mentee as key aspects of the training.

"JMS provides a great frame to feel safe to start as a job mentor”

Following the training, Nicola was paired with her first mentee, Tomoka. She supported Tomoka on her journey, which led Tomoka to land a position as Programme Support Administrator with English Language Partners (ELP). “I’m so happy to have found a job at ELP – everyone is so kind and has helped me settle in a lot, it was worth it,” beams Tomoka.

Tomoka found the local market challenging and appreciates the help she received with navigating it: “I could learn how job hunting and interviewing works in New Zealand because it’s so different than my country.” She shared that she found solace in the Monday meetings. “It kept me motivated to find a job because I could talk with other job seekers every week.”

Tomoka reflects that Nicola's guidance, empathetic support, and encouragement helped her a lot: “Nicola knew what I was going through too and could cheer me up and keep me focused.”

Nicola also commends Tomoka's proactive approach, stating, "Tomoka was very self-driven. She just wanted help with her cover letter and CV."

For Nicola, the joy lies in witnessing personal growth. "It’s an amazing experience to help and see people grow," she notes.

Asked if she would recommend the service, Nicola doesn't hesitate: "I do recommend the service wherever and whenever I can." Nicola emphasises its group-oriented approach and the invaluable support provided by coordinators.

“I feel supported by Lucie, who coordinates the programme, and the whole ELP team."

"I think JMS is amazing. I love the group approach to see one is not alone in the job search. All the coordinators I have met so far were amazing, welcoming, supportive, always positive and trying their best. I can say this with my experience as a job mentee and as a job mentor.”


The Job Mentoring Service (JMS) is a free Wellington-based service by English Language Partners that helps migrants and former refugees build confidence, expand professional networks and develop careers.

Do you or someone you know need a job mentor?

You are eligible for our free job mentoring service if:

  • English is not your first language, but you can communicate confidently in English.
  • You have a tertiary qualification and/or professional work experience in your home country.
  • You are new to the New Zealand job market.
  • You are entitled to work in New Zealand.
  • You are a New Zealand resident or citizen or you have at least six months remaining on your visa.

If you would like to learn more, contact Lucie at jobmentor.wellington@englishlanguage.org.nz or visit the JMS website.

Would you like to become a job mentor with us?

Together, we're shaping brighter futures and empowering migrants and former refugees to reach their fullest potential in the New Zealand job market.

The next training for new volunteer mentors is coming up in September 2024, in Wellington. If you are keen to learn more, connect with Lucie at jobmentor.wellington@englishlanguage.org.nz or visit the JMS website.


The Big Shout Out is a campaign to celebrate volunteers, held between 1 - 30 June. Find more information on Volunteering New Zealand's website.

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