Limited Service Volunteer (LSV)

Get a fresh start and the tools to get a job with the Limited Service Volunteer (LSV) course.


“If you want to improve your life, be more motivated and find a job, then LSV is one of the best courses you can do.”

Jacob, 2018 LSV graduate

About LSV

2 guys hanging off a wooden bar on a ropes course

LSV is a voluntary and free 6-week training course. It's run by New Zealand Defence Force and supported by people wanting to work with you, including Police.

You'll live on an army base which will be in either:

  • Auckland (Whenuapai)
  • Wellington (Trentham), or
  • Christchurch (Burnham).

In most cases, you'll go to the base closest to where you live but this isn't guaranteed.

You’ll meet new people and take part in a range of activities to:

  • increase your confidence
  • earn NZQA credits
  • learn new skills
  • get fit and healthy
  • be proud of yourself.

We’ll support you before, during and after graduating from the course.

Watch a video about LSV

Find out about LSV and what it can do for you.

Watch a video about the LSV course
  • Who can go on the course

    To take part in LSV, you need to:

    • be 18 to 24
    • be in good health so you can take part in outdoor activities.
    • not be working
    • not be in education or training.

    You can be male, female or gender diverse. If you're gender diverse, we'll talk with you about how we can make sure you're comfortable and safe throughout the course.

    You don't have to be getting payments from us to go on the course.

    If you're 17

    We'll consider your application on a case-by-case basis.

    Criminal convictions

    If you have a criminal conviction, you may still be able to attend LSV. When you apply, we'll complete a police vetting check and its best to be honest about any convictions. We consider each application on a case by case basis.

    If you're on probation or waiting on a court hearing, your Probation officer or lawyer will need to write a letter of support to go with your LSV application.

  • Activities you do on the course

    Each day is different. You'll do a range of activities every day, including the weekends. These could include:

    • people coming to talk to you about different life skills
    • taking part in physical activities
    • working together in a team
    • employers speaking to you about:
      • what they look for when employing someone
      • job opportunities.

    Fitness training will be a regular activity. It will start off easy and gradually build up to be more challenging. Everyone will be at a different fitness level but, as a team, you'll support and encourage each other through the activities.

    An idea of what you'll do in a day




    Wake up, get ready for the day


    Breakfast and morning routine


    Adventure course


    Life skills




    Job skills


    Meet employers and hear what's important to them




    Cultural training


    Night routine/personal time


    Lights out

  • What you'll get out of the course

    Girl smiling at table


    • have an awesome experience
    • be determined to improve the things in life you want to change
    • get new skills and new friends
    • have a CV, certificates and be motivated to get a job
    • make yourself and others proud.

    After the course, we'll help you to find work, further training or to study. You could be employed by various people, including the Defence Force.


    "LSV helps find direction in your life. You grow so much and feel so proud to be who you are."

    Maia, 2019 LSV graduate

  • What's expected of you while you're on the course

    Living on the army base

    You'll live on an army base for 6 weeks and sleep in the barracks on the base. There could be up to 8 trainees in a room and the rooms will be divided into genders. You'll get 3 meals a day and a uniform to wear.

    You must stay at the army base for the whole 6 weeks. NZ Defence Force are responsible for you and your safety while at the base and there are strict access rules.

    • You cannot go home on weekends, for birthdays or other celebrations.
    • If you’re part of a sports club or team, you won’t be able to play for the 6 weeks while you’re at LSV.
    • You cannot have visitors during the course.

    You’ll be able to write to your friends and family while on the course. NZ Defence will post the letters for you.

    You’ll be given the address for the camp and an emergency number which you can share with your family. They can write back to you or contact you in case of an emergency.

    If a family or whānau member becomes very sick, has a bad accident or dies, you’ll be able to leave the base. This could be for a few days or you could leave the course altogether, it depends on your situation.

    Cell phones

    You won't be able to use your cellphone every day. If you bring your phone, it will be collected and stored safely when you arrive at the base.

    You’ll be allowed to use it a couple of times during the 6 weeks. If there’s an emergency, you’ll be given the phone to contact home.

    Hair and jewellery

    You can choose if you want to get your hair cut or not. If you have long hair, it must be tied up.

    If you have any body piercings or jewellery, these must be removed during the course. This is for health and safety reasons.


    Your Platoon Commander will allocate certain times when you can smoke. You won't be able to smoke when you feel like it.

    Leaving the course early

    If you want to leave early, you can talk to the NZ Defence Force and Work and Income staff at the base about this and they’ll support you.

    If you get very sick, or a serious injury stops you from doing all activities, you may need to leave the course early. This would be discussed between you and staff at the base.

    If you do leave early, you may not be able to return and you won’t be able to graduate from the course.

  • Course dates for 2021


    Start date

    End date

    12 April 22 May
    14 June 24 July
    16 August 25 September
    18 October 27 November


    Start date

    End date

    27 April 5 June
    28 June 7 August
    30 August 9 October
    1 November 11 December


    Start date

    End date

    25 January 6 March
    29 March 8 May
    31 May 10 July
    2 August 11 September
    11 October 20 November

  • How much it costs

    The course is voluntary and it's free.

    • We'll sort travel to get you to the course and back home again.
    • You'll get clothes, a bed and 3 meals a day while you're on the course.
    • We can help you get any gear you may need.
  • How to apply for LSV

    Step 1 - Complete the application form

    The application form has 2 parts:

    • an application to apply for the course
    • a police vetting form.

    You'll need your:

    • personal details, eg, name, address, date of birth
    • client number (if you have one)
    • community services card (if you have one)
    • emergency contact details
    • driver's licence (if you have one).

    Need help to complete the application form

    If you need help to complete the application form, tell us your name and contact details in the 'Enquire about LSV' form and someone will give you a call.

    Step 2 - We'll call you

    We'll call you within the next day or so between 9am-5pm to talk about:

    • the LSV programme
    • the application process
    • any questions you have.

    Step 3 - Get a medical check

    You'll need to get a medical check.

    We'll talk to you about how to do this (and we'll pay for it).

    Step 4 - We'll let you know the final decision

    The New Zealand Defence Force will make the final decision if you're accepted on the course. This can take up to 6 weeks.

    We'll keep in touch with you to let you know how things are going and what the final decision is.

    Once you're accepted

    NZ Defence Force will let you know the travel details of how you're getting to the camp a week or 2 before you start. This could be by:

    • bus
    • rental van
    • NZ Defence Force bus or van, or
    • plane.

    You'll also get a list of items you'll need to bring (see the 'What you need to bring' section below).

    What happens to your payments

    If you're getting payments from us, you'll continue to get them while you're on the course.

  • What you need to bring

    You'll get a list of items to bring once you're accepted onto the course. If you don't have everything you need, we can help you get it before you go.

    You need to bring things like:

    • formal clothes for the graduation dinner (nothing too short, low cut or see through), eg:
      • women can wear a dress, or pants and a top
      • men can wear dress pants, a shirt and tie
      • dress shoes (sports shoes are not acceptable)
    • some money to buy personal items. There's a shop at the camp and you'll be allocated time to go there if you need to.
    • enough medication for the 6 weeks. Talk to your doctor or pharmacy before you go.

    You don't need to bring:

    • your car - we'll organise travel to and from the camp.
    • a lot of clothes - most of the time you'll wear gear provided by NZ Defence Force.
  • Hear from people who have been on the course

    Head and shoulders photo of LSV graduate, Maia

    Maia, 2019 LSV graduate

    Maia went from struggling to find direction in life, to getting a great job and feeling proud.

    Head and shoulders photo of Jacob, an LSV graduate

    Jacob, 2018 LSV graduate

    New confidence and new skills gave Jacob the fresh start he wanted.

  • More information

    If you want more information about the Limited Service Volunteer course, complete the 'Enquire about LSV' form.

    We'll call you within the next day or so between 9am-5pm to talk about:

    • the LSV programme
    • the application process
    • any questions you have.