Education tour company hopes developing students' awareness of the world will help to enhance their lives
When Jamie Wansey was working for big travel agencies, he had sign-off on fewer sponsorship initiatives than at his own small education travel business, Student Horizons.
He has a business mentor who sometimes wonders if he is overcommitting, but Wansey is adamant he's not.
"We are spending a lot of money on sponsorships. I am not concerned about that - it's important for what we stand for. I thoroughly enjoy what we do and we are already seeing benefits of community loyalty to the brand.
"I am a strong believer that if you give a bit, things will come back to you. All of the things we have got involved with have some strategic value and make business sense but also it is what we are passionate about," Wansey says.
Before establishing Student Horizons Wansey set up an education travel division for Williment Travel, and did the same for Williment's new international owner, Tui Travel.
"It was always my dream to set up my own business, and it had to be something that I was passionate about," says the British migrant, who has worked for companies such as Gullivers Sports Travel in the UK.
Wansey, a big rugby fan, sponsors the North Harbour Rugby League competition and College Rugby League. Student Horizons is also a sponsor of Pasifika Power Up, a study programme helping teens prepare for NCEA.
"You can see that helping them is taking effect quite quickly," says Wansey, whose father is a school headmaster in the UK.
Also a big cricket enthusiast, Wansey is behind the Student Horizons 2020 cricket tournament.
"We not only provide monetary support but also our time and interest in the initiatives," he says.
Eighteen months after launching his business, Wansey says his school tours are mainly repeat business. He is doing close to 30 tours a year and expects the business to grow by 15 per cent next year.
The majority tend to be school sports teams but a new trip he is organising for 2015 for Westlake Boys High School is a 27-day university campus tour of the US and UK, taking in universities such as Oxford, MIT, Harvard and Berkeley. Student Horizons operates a safety management system and an incident management plan, says Wansey. He has an international network of 25 partners who look after groups on the ground.
Wansey helps schools with fund-raising ideas and is eager to work with more lower decile schools.
He is organising a leadership and team-building trip to a Fijian village for 10 students and a teacher from Wairoa College.
"Our ethos for students is challenge, discover, achieve. We hope that by developing students' awareness of the world we live in through experiential learning we can go some way to raising their aspirations and by doing so help to enhance their lives."
Student Horizon is run by Wansey and his wife, Brooke, a graphic designer and marketer, and with a second child on the way, they are looking for an operations manager.
The Bayswater couple are also in the process of setting up in Sydney, Brooke's home town, in the next few months. Student Horizons also handles in-bound groups touring New Zealand.