Tutor Programs


History: The tutor program is a joint partnership between Vancouver Island University (formally Malaspina University College) and Literacy Central Vancouver Island (formally Literacy Nanaimo)The program provides services between Nanoose and Ladysmith. The original program began with VIU (once Malaspina College) in 1989. We opened our downtown office in April of 1991 and we have enjoyed a fruitful partnership ever since. We continue to provide space, resources and tutors to our learners at both locations. We also offer these services at selected outreach locations, such as Nanaimo Corrections Centre, Snuneymuxw, Halalt, Penalakut and Stz’minus First Nations, several John Howard Rehabilitation Houses, Nanaimo Women’s Centre, Haven House and in Ladysmith. The program offers free one-on-one tutoring to anyone over the age of 18 who wishes to improve their basic English, math and/or computer skills.

Since the inception we have assisted 2940 learners using 750 volunteer tutors.

In 2011-12 the program gave 7,000 hours of volunteer time to the community with 130 tutor learner matches using 60 volunteer tutors.

Become a Volunteer Tutor

Benefits to you:

  • Vancouver Island University Volunteer Tutor Certificate
  • Helping another adult improve basic literacy skills
  • Meeting others interested in a common cause
  • Involvement in the community and in the literacy movement
  • Gaining new skills and knowledge
  • Bookstore discount -Literacy Central Vancouver Island Well Read Books

Expectations of you:

  • To be willing to accept and work with people of various cultural, economic and religious backgrounds
  • To treat each learner’s opinions and experiences with respect and confidentiality
  • To tutor in a supportive manner which will build each learner’s confidence and self-esteem
  • To prepare adequately for each lesson
  • To maintain regular contact with the tutor coordinator and
  • To submit monthly progress reports.

Tutor Training

We offer a 30 hour training session for all volunteer tutors as needed. Each potential tutor is interviewed prior to training by a Tutor Coordinator and must have a criminal record check prior to tutoring. Tutors do not need teaching experience to be effective; however, being empathetic, patient and open-minded is essential. Potential tutors who do have teaching experience do not need the 30 hour training session but are required to attend an 8 hour orientation.

Once they have completed the training, tutors will be matched with an adult learner. Tutors and their learners are expected to meet for three hours per week at a time and place that is convenient for both. Tutoring spaces are available at Literacy Central Vancouver Island, at Vancouver Island University at specific outreach locations, or at any public location convenient to the pair. The program also provides professional upgrading opportunities.


“As at tutor with the Vancouver Island Therapeutic Community I have found working with adult learners who have overcome obstacles to pursue their learning goals has been a very inspiring experience. Supporting adults in pursuit of academic goals, whether they are upgrading or trying to improve their literacy, has been very rewarding” Jo, tutor

“Confidence is the one word I can use to describe what the Literacy Central Vancouver Island Program has given me. Confidence when it came time to do an exam in class. I know that if I didn’t use the program I wouldn’t have been able to come up with such good marks. It is because of my tutor Barbara’s help with my studies every Thursday afternoon. I cannot thank the program enough for the amazing year that I had at Vancouver Island University.” Billy, learner

Download Tutor Registration Form here

For more information, contact:


Tutor Coordinator, Team Leader

VIU250-753-3245, local 2209


Tutor Coordinator
NCC, Outreach (Ladysmith)



Tutor Coordinator



Aboriginal Community Coordinator