Policy Graduate 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.

Applications for our 2023 Policy Graduate Programme and 2022/23 Summer Internship will be open from Monday 28 February to Sunday the 3rd of April.

We provide the evidence and information Ministers need to make informed decisions on public policy issues. It's exciting and challenging work that could see you looking at how we can make New Zealand businesses more internationally competitive, making sure all regions benefit from tourism or protecting people from loan sharks.

The programme is a 16 month-long development and training programme. 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.

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

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

An development programme designed to develop your policy craft

Ongoing support, feedback and direction to help you progress your policy career

A great cohort of graduates to support and grow alongside you.

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.

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

We consider graduates from all backgrounds. As an organisation we would like to be able to represent the communities that we serve.

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.

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

We are looking for grads and interns who have genuine interest working in policy and/or government, and making a difference for all New Zealanders.

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.

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 2021.

You must have achieved at least a B average (please use the Victoria University GPA calculator to calculate your GPA).

You must have the ability to legally live and work in New Zealand.

You must pass all our employment vetting and approval standards.


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 2021.

You must have achieved at least a B average (Please confirm your GPA using the Victoria university GPA calculator).

You must be eligible to live and work in New Zealand.

You must pass all other employment vetting and approval standards we require

Sam Harrison | Immigration Policy - Labour, Science and Enterprise

I wanted to work for MBIE as I heard from others that it had a supportive environment and a good work culture. Working in immigration policy was an exciting opportunity to work in a highly dynamic policy area that is directly linked to New Zealand’s economic recovery in the wake of COVID-19.

Sasha Vlassoff | Innovative Partnerships - Labour, Science and Enterprise

The Graduate Programme has been an excellent opportunity to get a head start in policy. During the programme I have had the opportunity to work on a wide range of projects and have been trusted and well supported to take on significant responsibilities in my team.

I was placed in the Innovative Partnerships team in the Science, Innovation and International branch. One project I have been closely involved in is the Airspace Integration Trials Programme, which supports the testing and development of drones in New Zealand for uses including conservation, environmental monitoring, agriculture and medical deliveries. Through my work I have had the opportunity to engage with a wide range of stakeholders, take the lead on advice provided to Ministers and learn a lot about topics I was not previously familiar with.

I appreciated being part of a cohort that gave me exposure to a range of subject areas across MBIE and helped me to develop a network of people that I will stay in touch with for years to come. Being in a group of people at a similar early career stage made the transition to working life much smoother.

The programme has given me the skills and experience needed to hit the ground running as a Policy Advisor. The breadth of training and work I have experienced as part of the programme have given me the confidence and transferrable skills needed to step into a new area of policy and take on a new challenge.

Anastasia Wilkes | Immigration Policy - Labour, Science and Enterprise

I knew I wanted to work in policy and MBIE was attractive because it offers so many different areas to work in and I knew it would be an exciting and dynamic place to work.

I have really appreciated the educational opportunities available at MBIE which have been valuable for expanding my skills in policy and improving my ability to work effectively and think deeply about issues. We have benefited from trainings on a wide range of topics including Finance, Public Sector Ethics and Regulatory stewardship and we have then been able to apply the skills learnt in these trainings to our policy work.

I work on facilitating the entry of people into New Zealand following the closure of the border in March 2020 to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The New Zealand border closure was definitely never something I expected to occur, nor so soon after starting at MBIE. It has been a fantastic learning opportunity because it is a completely new situation for everyone. Consequently, I have been able to contribute and be fully involved in the wider policy process and even had the opportunity to lead several pieces of work. I have been able to work on a wide range of policy topics including defining the critical workforce, enabling family reunification and New Zealand’s humanitarian commitments. The rapidly-moving and interconnected nature of the work has been exciting as each month presents new challenges and I have enjoyed refining my policy skills in such a dynamic environment

Neihana Waitai | Innovation Policy - Labour, Science and Enterprise

I joined MBIE because policy is a great opportunity to make a positive change in the world. Being a Māori policy advisor, I can provide intelligence and information to our Ministers that highlights the gaps for Māori that are often overlooked, and combining knowledge from both my Māori and tauiwi sides allows me to create novel opportunities for my people.

One thing I like about the grad programme is the structured training. As a grad, not only do you have to become an expert in your team’s subject matter, but also an expert in the policy craft. I found these courses very helpful as a crash course for the policy world.

Brent Bautista | Strategic Policy and Programmes - Economic Strategy

I heard good things about the programme prior to applying, both from friends and my wider social network. It is well regarded across government, and gives grads a wide range of areas to work on. Overall, MBIE stood out to me as a great place to grow and start a career in the public sector.

My two favourite things about the programme: first, the work has been rewarding. Knowing that what I do in my day to day life actively contributes to working towards a better New Zealand for all of us in itself has been a great motivation in my life. Second, the people I’ve met through my role. My team, manager and general manager have been great supporters and have always looked after me.

One of my early projects that I found to be interesting was entering the graduate programme was researching and providing advice on Intergenerational Equity; what it means; how to get there, and the opportunities and risks for New Zealand in this area. It’s all the more rewarding now that other agencies have began incorporating this into what they do.

It’s cliché, but at the end of the programme and anything else I do, I want to come out as a better version of myself –professionally and personally. I have refined my thinking, I am better able to critically analyse situations, and most importantly, cultivate my relationships with others which is paramount to a career in policy

Vainui Moresi |Employment Relations Policy - Labour, Science and Enterprise

I got the opportunity to intern here during the summer of 2019/2020 and really enjoyed my experience and team. The graduate programme to me seemed an obvious fit to carry on learning about policy and it’s in and outs.

My favourite thing so far has been the people in our cohort and the familiar faces around MBIE welcoming us in this year. It’s been cool to learn about how others got here and how different our background of education is which I think can only be a positive.

When I finish this programme I hope to be confident in my writing of policy and better my understanding of the process as a whole. I also hope to just have a fun time in general with my cohort and work team

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