The Best Student Leadership Courses in New Zealand

We have all heard the saying of he/she is a born leader, where leadership comes naturally for some, as for others, it’s a skill that requires honing.

In some cases, there are students who do show leadership qualities, but are not always exposed to the opportunities or the right environment to bring out those qualities to its best ability.

No matter where you sit on the scale, leadership comes in various levels and styles, and it can be taught. There’s a vast number of different student leadership courses and training available to improve your leadership skills, so you can grow to become a leader who will develop, lead and inspire others.

*Read on to see our 8 Best Student Leadership Courses in New Zealand.

Raise Up

Good for: Senior students looking for short, local courses in their area

Raise Up provides leadership training for high school students who are in a leadership position, a prefect role, or aspiring to become leaders at school. Their programme helps develop vital skills young leaders need, including communication, goal setting, team participation, and public speaking.

The Raise Up leadership programmes are flexible and can cover a range of topics. The training can also be customised specifically to suit the needs of your school or students.  Select from a two-hour workshop to a full day of training at YMCA locations or your school.

Burn Bright

Good for: Students in Year 5 – 12 in New Zealand and Australia

Burn Bright takes on a preventative approach through tailored experiential student leadership learning, wellbeing programmes and national camps.

Burn Bright is a not-for-profit organisation promoting prevention of mental illness, specifically around anxiety and depression. This social enterprise focuses on helping the young take charge of their own lives, both their health and mental wellbeing.

Burn Bright partners with schools across New Zealand and Australia, with a focus on encouraging, developing and challenging students from Year 5 to Year 12.

The inclusive, collaborative environment of the programmes supports positive behavioural changes, a shift in mindset, and empowers students to make informed decisions. Burn Bright provides fuel and the spark that ignites the potential within each student, leading to self-efficacy and a heightened sense of wellbeing.


Good for: Students in Year 9 – 13 wanting leadership in a sport context

Wilss is a charitable training provider with NZQA accreditation aiming to deliver quality education to provide opportunities in leadership and volunteer activities.  Wilss delivers a variety of programmes to participants within schools, communities and workplaces.

A central focus for this organisation is to develop individuals to speak up, build capability, contribute to their communities and improve their personal development through leadership training. Wilss and KiwiSport have teamed up to provide opportunities for Year 9 and Year 13 students to help develop confidence to demonstrate leadership within the school and wider school community.

Grip Leadership

Good for: Primary and Secondary students wanting a leadership conference

GRIP Leadership specialises in practical and interactive training for school students. The main leadership values of GRIP make up the name, Grip.

  • Generosity
  • Responsibility
  • Integrity
  • People

The one-day GRIP Student Leadership Conference is held annually during the first school term in various cities across New Zealand. This event is for primary, intermediate and secondary students. GRIP places focus on specifically training students in becoming school leaders, equipping them with a clear vision, ideas and what they can implement right now.

What the GRIP Leadership Conference offers:

  • Tailored to school-based leadership context
  • Practical, hands-on activities and group work
  • Interact with other leaders from different schools
  • Secondary school events allow students to tailor their experience

Student Horizons

Good for: Students looking to travel domestically or overseas

Student Horizons provide a vast range of student tour options focusing on areas of the arts, business, science and sport. On the Business Studies trip, students can visit highly reputable organisations such as Google, Apple and PayPal to learn about “design thinking”.

Destinations range from Silicon Valley in California to the financial centres in London, New York and the industrial heartland of China.

Student Horizon’s goal is to offer more than an overseas experience, but to provide a positive impact on a student’s personal development and self-growth. With the aim to push students out of their comfort zone that will deepen their knowledge of the world, themselves and to help shape their future.

Waikato University Educational Leadership

Good for: Students looking to improve leadership in education

The leadership course through Waikato University is aimed at students in their young adult years going into the workforce or stepping into a leadership role.  This programme will challenge you personally and professionally with the goal to enhance your career prospects and help you become a more effective leader.

This course is for you if you are an aspiring leader who is ready to level up into a leadership position, or continue building on current leadership skills.

The leadership papers are challenging, innovative and enlightening. They incorporate global best-practices and emerging trends in order to develop the knowledge, skills and mindsets required for high performance leadership.

Whenua Iti Outdoors

Good for: Year 12 Students based in the Nelson/Tasman region

This Whenua Iti Outdoors (WIO) course runs for three days for Year 12 students.  The programme focuses on developing student’s independence and leadership skills.

Students tackle a variety of personal and group challenge activities which include low or high ropes course, trapeze or tower climbing. Participants will also have the opportunity to contribute to an off-site community service project one of the four days.

What Whenua Iti Outdoors focuses on:

  • Encouraging participation and connection
  • Development of personal, communication and social skills
  • Setting foundations for self-management and essential skills for the future
  • Build on positivity around identity
  • Build on decision making
  • Identify how to contribute to school and community initiatives

Future Leaders Academy

Good for: Year 11/12/13 Students in New Zealand and Australia wanting to combine advanced leadership training and pacific island travel

At the Future Leaders Academy (FLA), we help develop the core qualities of a student leader to prepare them for their next stage in life, both personally or professionally.  

We understand people fall into managerial positions but this doesn’t necessarily mean they have a nous for leadership. Training is often required to ensure they are an effective leader within the workplace which resonates with their leadership style. Our approach is proactive, by offering practical leadership training for the youth that will equip them with the key skills they can carry over into their future endeavors.

Future Leaders Academy offers hands-on engaging leadership programmes. Although our top programmes are running advanced student leaders’ trips to the Pacific Islands, we also work with the New Zealand Government, schools, corporates and clubs.

Our programmes are military-inspired and we work with businesses, youth development, government and we run international expeditions across New Zealand, Australia and the Pacific Islands.  Strength from multicultural unity is a unique stand point for us, and we foster that connection and understanding to build high performing student leaders and teams.​

We believe in developing people leaders who have the tools to influence positive change in their personal lives, workplace, and community, while strengthening values and culture.

Future Leaders Academy

With so many courses to choose from in New Zealand we hope this article has made it easier for you decide which is the right course for you. If you would like to find out more info about our leadership courses please get in touch, or register for one of our Pacific Student Leaders programmes.

*Disclaimer: These courses are selected by Future Leaders Academy and not considered an official list or in any specific order. 

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