Our Story

On 26th February 2015, 130 guests joined the Urban Partners team to celebrate the launch of their new brand. During the presentation, Haydn Staples, Managing Director Urban Partners, delighted the audience with a surprise announcement that a $1 million fund was being established to support Dilworth School, an institution that Urban Partners has an affinity with – one that has moved with the times yet continues to take a long-term, pragmatic approach to achieving outstanding results. This fund would be used to help selected students as they transition from secondary school, into the world of tertiary education and then into employment.

In 2018 the APO Haydn Staples Piano Scholarship Programme became a part of SEF. This innovative programme is one of the most comprehensive training programmes for emerging pianists in the country. It is run in partnership with the School of Music at the University of Auckland. It provides talented young musicians with a diverse portfolio of skills to complement their advance solo studies, equipping them with invaluable experiences and training opportunities that will facilitate vastly improved options for career paths in many diverse areas of music.

At the end of their first year of study, up to three piano majors are selected to enter this programme. This runs in conjunction with the final two years of their undergraduate degree, with the possibility of being chosen for an Honours year of study.

Dilworth was opened in 1906 and has educated generations of boys whose circumstances meant they needed a helping hand in life. Dilworth has been educating boys of straitened circumstances for over a hundred years. Entrepreneur, philanthropist and co-founder of Urban Partners, Haydn Staples’s affinity for Dilworth’s approach has led him to provide additional support for the students from ‘beyond the green gates’ of Dilworth.

“I was made aware of an opportunity to complement the outstanding education that Dilworth gives its students by facilitating their tertiary education once they leave the supportive environment of Dilworth. Students needed a helping hand through the rigours of the outside world to make the best of their Dilworth education. The gap that the Staples Education Foundation (SEF) fills is as a specialist organisation dedicated solely to enabling high achieving Dilworth student graduates to get a tertiary education, a job and to give back to Dilworth."

All Students are provided with the support of a Buddy for 1 year (to help them navigate their first year of university) and a mentor for 3 years. They all receive continued support and development through a programme of workshops relevant to their needs. Additionally each Student is given an annual work experience placement within the industry they eventually hope to work in.

Many of our Dilworth Students have received financial support from either SEF or one of our generous sponsors. The financial support is there to help these students with their university costs which can include fees, accommodation or costs related to their studies. SEF plans to recruit at least eight deserving students each year. "It is a privilege to give a hand to deserving young students. The feedback from participants in the SEF has been outstanding and I am committed to ensuring the SEF is set up to endure and stand the test of time.”

Currently SEF is working with Dilworth School but in the future hope to expand this programme to other schools as well.

Click here to read more about the initial announcement on Urban Partners blog.