Policy Graduate Program

New Policy Professionals (Graduate) and Summer Policy Internship Programme

Do you want to play a role in shaping the Aotearoa of tomorrow? We are looking for students and soon to be graduates who are interested in making a difference for all New Zealanders.

Do you have a curious mind? Are you an explorer and innovator? Do you like the big picture thinking, or are you down in the detail? If you’ve answered yes to any of these, then our policy programmes may be for you!

We consider New Policy Professionals (Graduates) and Interns from all backgrounds with a genuine interest in working in policy and government and making a difference for all New Zealanders.

Applications for our 2024 New Policy Professionals (Graduate) Programme and 2023/24 Summer Policy Internship have now closed.

At MBIE, we put people at the heart of our mahi. Our work is underpinned by one clear aspiration, to Grow Aotearoa New Zealand for All. Based on the principles of Te Tiriti o Waitangi / The Treaty of Waitangi, we are committed to upholding authentic partnerships with Māori. Our work touches on the daily lives of New Zealanders. We grow opportunities (Puāwai), guard and protect (Kaihāpai) and innovate and navigate towards a better future (Auaha) for the communities that we serve.

We are a large and complex global organisation with over 4,000 staff. We play a big role in shaping and influencing New Zealanders standard of living and quality of life through policy.

Both programmes are based in Te Whanganui-a-Tara Wellington, the coolest little capital in the world! You’ll never be short of things to do in this vibrant city. It’s easy to get around, filled with sporting and cultural events, and what’s more - it’s Aotearoa New Zealand’s political, scientific and cultural heart.

What is policy?

Policy professionals provide the evidence and information Ministers need to make informed decisions on public policy issues.

The public policy making process involves the elected government (Ministers or Cabinet) making decisions for Aotearoa New Zealand, which can be based on advice and recommendations by impartial policy advisors. Being a Policy Advisor can involve understanding the problem/issue, researching, consulting and writing advice.

Great policy advice is the foundation of effective government decision-making. Policy underpins the wellbeing of all people in Aotearoa New Zealand.

Policy at MBIE

Policy at MBIE involves exciting and challenging mahi that could see you looking at a wide range of issues; how do we make New Zealand businesses more internationally competitive? How do we solve the gender pay gap? How do we regulate space-related activities at the New Zealand Space Agency? How is Aotearoa New Zealand responding to climate change? A range of exciting opportunities are waiting for you at MBIE.

It’s exciting and challenging work that could see you looking at a range of interesting and high-profile issues including government priorities and hot media topics.

Whai tikanga/wheako ake - Take your career further with MBIE

2024 New Policy Professionals (Graduate) Programme

Our New Policy Professional (Graduate) Programme is a paid 12 month-long development and training programme that upon successful completion of the programme would transition into a Policy Advisor role.

From week one you'll get stuck into real, meaningful work - researching topical issues, analysing key trends and helping us deliver new projects and programmes

Through our programme, you will gain experience across a broad range of areas and access development opportunities to quickly advance your career. You’ll be exposed to a wide range of perspectives, with opportunities to work closely with other government agencies, senior officials, ministers and key influencers outside of government.

Our robust, structured training programme includes:

  • A supportive induction programme to help get you up-and-running quickly
  • On-the-job learning opportunities designed to expose you to a wide range of policy issues
  • A development programme designed to develop your policy craft
  • A buddy from your Policy team to help learn and navigate around MBIE
  • Ongoing support, feedback and direction to help you progress your policy career
  • A great cohort of graduates to support and grow alongside you

Ngā whakaritenga - Minimum requirements

To be eligible for the Graduate Programme you will need to meet the following criteria:

  • You can have no more than one-year post-graduation full-time work experience
  • You must have graduated, or will finish your study, before February 2024
  • You must have the ability to legally live and work in New Zealand
  • You must pass all our employment vetting and approval standards

To Apply for New Policy Professionals (Graduate) Programme, Click here

2023/24 Summer Policy Internship Programme

Do you want a taste of what it’s like to help shape the Aotearoa New Zealand of tomorrow?  The Summer Policy Internship is a paid three-month programme, suitable for tertiary students in their second to last year. It’s a great way to explore the policy profession and see what it’s like to work in government .

You’ll be given plenty of guidance and support to tackle real life policy problems and find out what it’s like to be a policy professional.

The Summer Policy Internship programme will start November 2023 and runs until February 2024.

As part of your 12-week programme you will have:

  • A supportive induction programme to help get you up-and-running quickly
  • A buddy from your Policy team to help learn and navigate around MBIE
  • Introduction workshops about “what is Policy” and “what is it like to work in the Public Sector

Ngā whakaritenga - Minimum requirements

To be eligible for the Summer Policy Internship you will need to meet the following criteria:

  • You must be currently studying for a Bachelor’s degree or higher qualification, and continuing your study in 2024
  • You must be eligible to live and work in New Zealand
  • You must pass all MBIE employment vetting and approval standards

To Apply for Summer Policy Internship, Click here.

E rapu ana mātou i a wai - Who are we looking for?

We're looking for passionate people from any degree with diverse perspectives and backgrounds, who love an intellectual challenge and who want to help create a better New Zealand. A range of exciting opportunities are waiting for you at MBIE.

  • Skilled writers who write clearly, accurately, and logically
  • Critical thinkers who use well-reasoned logic to solve problems
  • Evidence gatherers who research, identify, and make use of relevant information
  • Nimble learners who are flexible and responsive to change
  • Supportive team players who build partnerships and work collaboratively
  • Persuaders and influencers who gain the trust and support of others
  • Purpose-driven actioners who take on new opportunities and tough challenges
  • Decision-makers who make sound decisions, even in the absence of complete information
  • You must pass all our employment vetting and approval standards


Melini Navunisaravi - Immigration Policy | Labour, Science and Enterprise

MBIE is a great place to kickstart your career. I wanted to work in a hands-on, fulfilling environment that directly benefits the lives of New Zealanders.  I’ve had the opportunity to intern through the Tupu Tai programme. This programme sparked my interest in policy making and shaping decisions.

My favourite part of the Graduate Programme is the built-in community MBIE offers. Learning and growing with the cohort has helped me develop as a professional.  I’ve created long lasting connections that will be invaluable as I progress my career.  I’ve developed invaluable connections that will support me as I grow my career.

The programme has allowed me to bring my authentic self and unique perspective to the table.  I'm excited to continue my journey here and apply my thinking, curiosity and skills.

Cassandra Liu | Immigration (Border and Funding) Policy | Labour, Science and Enterprise

The graduate programme allows me to build a strong foundation in policy. As a graduate you are encouraged to be curious, ask questions and give things a go.

I moved to Wellington for the graduate programme and didn’t know anyone.   Joining the public service with a built-in community of other graduates made all the difference.  Starting my career in policy and government was daunting, but having others to grow alongside and learn from gave me comfort and strength. My graduate cohort are spread across so many different areas.  It’s given me the chance to learn more about the diverse work MBIE does to Grow Aotearoa for All.  We all get up to some interesting work!

I’ve been involved in examining the areas impacted by Immigration, including its demand on infrastructure, Te Tiriti o Waitangi obligations, and connecting immigration with workforce training and development. It’s been an eye-opening project, I've gotten to see the policy process in action, while learning how the immigration system operates.


Patrice Le Sueur - Workplace Relations and Safety Policy | Labour, Science and Enterprise

While on the job hunt I was on the search for a workplace where I’d be encouraged to be creative and ask big ‘why’ questions every day. MBIE turned out to be the place for me.

My team focuses on New Zealand’s employment relations regulatory system.  This was an area of law and policy I was really interested in at university. It’s been a real privilege to see some of my ideas and analysis go all the way to decision makers in the Beehive. So far, I’ve worked on a wide range of projects, from advising a Select Committee on a Bill, helping to design new regulatory activities, and even taking a lead role in a meeting with a visiting overseas delegation.

Beyond the day-to-day work I’ve found the grad cohort immensely supportive and fun to be around.  I look forward to honing my policy skills with them for the remainder of the programme.

Elizabeth Zhu - Strategic Policy | Te Waka Pūtahitanga

MBIE is one of the largest government economic agencies, so was a great place to start my career.  I could use my background in economics and policy to provide evidence-based policy advice.

My experience in this mahi has helped develop my organisational network, policy skills and knowledge.  It's also helped me realise my vision to improve the wellbeing for all of Aotearoa New Zealand. 

I am grateful to have embarked on the graduate journey at MBIE alongside my cohort. We come from different backgrounds, but we embraced our diversity.  MBIE provides a safe and inclusive environment to collaborate and respect the experiences of others. The graduate programme has provided a wide range of training to equip young policy professionals like me with a full basket of critical skills and knowledge. I am excited to continue my policy career journey by applying what I have learned in my work and the graduate programme at MBIE.

Maria Mahoni | Building, Resources and Markets

Through my mahi in the building policy team, I’ve expanded on my skills through research and analysis – I’ve even provided advice to Ministers! I’m also part of MBIE’s Women of Colour Network’s leadership team, a network at MBIE that allows me to lead inclusively and authentically.

As a member of the 2022 Policy Graduate Programme cohort, I was involved in the Construction Contracts Amendment Bill where I helped prepare material for the Committee. I also worked on the Occupational Regulation reforms in the building and construction sector, all exciting mahi that will help protect the lives of New Zealanders.

I’m grateful to have embarked on the graduate journey at MBIE alongside my cohort. We came from different backgrounds, but we shared our lived experiences and learnt from each other.


Oliver Taylor - Market Performance | Building, Resources and Markets

MBIE offers diverse opportunities for new policy professionals to explore. MBIE has given me the chance to work on a range of important policy areas – more than anywhere else in Aotearoa’s Public Service.

As a valued member of the team, I’ve delved into diverse sectors, including grocery and banking, and worked on competition study options where markets for goods and services may be experiencing competition issues that affect consumers. The regulatory focus of my work adds an exciting dimension to the mahi.

The best part of the programme is not just the breadth of policy areas but the support from the graduate cohort – a supportive community that has enhanced my learning journey so far. This collaborative environment has been the foundation to my positive experiences, moving me forward in a promising policy career to make a difference.

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