Scholarships for School Leavers

Helping you make the leap into university or polytechnic study.

Are you currently a year 13 student? Or maybe you’ve left school in the last few years but haven’t started further study yet?

We have a range of study awards and scholarships on offer for young people (particularly those whose paths are being blocked by financial challenges or difficult circumstances), helping you get a degree behind you and carve a successful career in the property or construction industry.

If you’re awarded a scholarship, you’ll receive financial assistance, mentoring and a first-year study buddy, as well as invites to regular networking events, incredible work experience opportunities and more.

What the scholarships include

We’re committed to seeing you successfully complete your tertiary studies, land your first role after graduation and develop a rewarding career, so the support we provide includes much more than just money.

Financial support

You’ll receive tertiary fee assistance of up to $5,500 a year (for three years), plus you’ll get access to a hardship fund to help with essentials like food, travel costs, electricity bills and reading glasses.


You’ll get regular, one-on-one time with an experienced industry mentor, who will stand alongside you, guide you through any challenges and help you move into the workforce.

Networking opportunities

We host regular networking events, which allow you to meet industry leaders, network with our sponsors and get to know other students and alumni.

Paid work experience

You’ll get the opportunity to apply for internships with our sponsor companies, giving you practical experience that’ll put you ahead of the competition when you graduate.

Study buddy

You’ll be paired up with a study buddy during your first year at uni or tech, which means you’ll always have someone to call for support and a friend to navigate this experience with.

Site visits

We host site visits on sponsor construction sites, allowing you to ask questions about challenges and conflicts resolved, learn from the best and bolster your academic learning.

Sponsor showcases

You’ll have the opportunity to visit sponsor offices, where you’ll speak to industry professionals about their day-to-day roles and get an insight into the culture at each company.


Our annual workshops will get you ready for the year ahead and prepare you for your career, covering things like team building, purpose, resilience and interview skills.

Additional support

Our team is always here to help you through any hurdles you’re facing, whether that’s a lack of motivation, falling grades or challenges writing your CV.

Keystone alumni Simone Sharp sits at a cafe table talking a student

Alumni network

When you graduate, you’ll still be part of the Keystone Trust family. We have a strong alumni community in New Zealand and overseas, with alumni who help each other out and mentor younger students.

“Keystone has made a huge difference to my transition into tertiary education.

The Keystone Study Award not only provided me with a significant amount of money to aid my studies every year, but also provided me with so many opportunities both through meeting others like me and meeting some very important and influential people in the property industry.”

Ryan Trotter – 2016 Scholarship Recipient

Surveyor at Woods

Scholarship criteria

To be eligible for a school leaver scholarship, here’s what you’ll need to demonstrate:

  • New Zealand citizen or permanent resident status
  • Facing financial challenges or difficult circumstances
  • Minimum of university entrance achieved at school
  • Good written and verbal communication skills
  • Intention to enrol at a tertiary institution in New Zealand to study a property- or construction-related degree (like architecture, construction, engineering, planning, property management, real estate, quantity surveying or valuation)
  • A passion for your chosen course and future career

How to apply

1. Decide which scholarship(s) you’ll apply for

As soon as applications open, read through the criteria for each scholarship and decide which scholarship(s) you’ll apply for. Students often apply for more than one scholarship – there’s no limit on this, as long as you’re eligible for each one.


2. Get prepared

Read through the application form for each scholarship you’re applying for to get a good understanding of the information and supporting documents you’ll need to submit. All supporting documents should be submitted with your application.


3. Start your application early

The application form can be saved, so we’d suggest that you start working on your applications sooner rather than later, coming back to them as needed. Don’t leave it until the last minute!


4. Get a second pair of eyes

Once you’ve completed the application form(s), ask a trusted family member, teacher or careers advisor to review your application.


5. Hit the submit button

Make any finishing touches needed, submit your application and give yourself a big pat on the back. You’ve taken the first step!


6. Attend an interview

If you’ve made it onto the shortlist, we’ll be in touch to arrange an interview (either in person or via Zoom) so we can get to know you and answer any questions you have.


7. Receive your scholarship

If you’re awarded a scholarship, you’ll be invited to our Awards Evening, where we’ll hand out your certificate. Welcome to the Keystone Trust family!


When do applications open?

Applications for the next round of scholarships are open from 1 June 2024 until 1 September 2024.

How many students apply for scholarships each year?

Each year, we typically receive applications from 70-100 students for school leaver scholarships. We award 10-12 school leaver scholarships every year.

How many students do you support?

In 2023, we have 54 students on our programme studying at eight different tertiary providers around New Zealand.

How do you process each application?

Once scholarship applications close, we download each one and ensure the required documents are attached. Next, we read every single application. Our office team works with Binty Bringans (founding trustee) and Deidre Shea (past Onehunga High School principal) to produce an initial shortlist. Our scholarship selection committee (made up of our team, plus several trustees) then reviews the shortlist, decides who to interview and completes the interviews. Finally, we select the scholarship recipients.

Do you stay in touch with alumni?

Absolutely! We have almost 200 alumni, with 70% of them still living and working in New Zealand. We connect with our alumni regularly and they attend our events, mentor students, advocate for the trust and provide support however they can.


Explore the career possibilities

The property and construction industry has a broad range of exciting, prosperous career opportunities on offer.

Wondering what kind of career a Keystone Trust scholarship could lead to? Download the careers roadmap to explore all the different career paths available.

“The high school career advisor suggested I apply for the Keystone scholarship. I had been worried about how I would pay my way through a degree of that length, so I went for it.

In my situation, having to be self-reliant at a young age, it enabled me to study rather than go directly into the workforce. But then there is a lot more to it than the money. The personal support Keystone offers, and the exposure to people in the industry, sponsors and the like, is incredibly valuable.

Without the scholarship, my tertiary experience would have been very different. It gave me financial stability and freedom that I wouldn’t have had otherwise. I wouldn’t have come out of the other end with the grades and experience I had.”

Mary Henry – 2003 Scholarship Recipient

Registered Architect & Associate Principal at Jasmax

ready to take the next step?

This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, so don’t hesitate to apply.