Meet our Graduates

Michael Chapman | Commerce, Consumers & Communications - Building, Resources and Markets

What did you study at University?

I studied a Bachelor of Arts in History and Sociology at the University of Auckland, with Honours in History.

I relocated from Auckland to Wellington for the graduate programme at MBIE, which has been a great experience so far. Living in Wellington is different to living Auckland - it is smaller and it has a different vibe. I like the fact that I can walk around the city easily and I don’t need to have a car.

Why did you apply for the Graduate Programme at MBIE?

As part of my Sociology major, I did a few policy-related papers, particularly around welfare. Looking into the various aspects of policy behind the welfare system was really interesting to me and gave me an insight into policy work. At MBIE - being one of New Zealand’s largest regulators that sets government policy - there are many more policy areas to explore and work on.

What is your favourite thing about the Programme so far?

The cohort has a community feel, a real friendliness. I think there are about 25 of us this year. I have made some really good friends, which is really important to me. It is great meeting people that are in a similar position to me; it helps with learning, and you can pop a quick email to the graduate email address list and say - “Does anyone know about this?” It has been quite helpful having this peer support.

What is an interesting piece of work you have been working on?

From day one, I have been working on the KiwiSaver Default Provider review. It is a piece of work that has made us consider different ways of thinking. As a History graduate, I wouldn’t normally have the opportunity to engage with financial markets – my team at MBIE. The variety of work available is really great!

What do you hope to get out of the Graduate Programme?

For the most part - the learning. The Graduate programme is a really good opportunity to prepare you for working in the public sector. I would like to excel as a Policy Analyst and this programme is catered to that aspiration. I can’t emphasize enough that I particularly enjoy the exposure we get; from day one I was meeting with external stakeholders relevant to my area of work.

Ruby Sands | Housing policy - Housing Systems and Performance

What did you study at University?

I studied a Bachelor of Arts, majoring in Political Science and International Relations with Honours in Political Science at Victoria University of Wellington.

Why did you apply for the Graduate Programme at MBIE and HUD?

I applied for the Graduate Programme at MBIE and HUD because there were a wide range of interesting areas in which you could work and also take part in group sessions that support you to develop into a Policy Advisor. I indicated that I was interested in Housing, as I am really passionate about how housing links in with wellbeing in our society - particularly for our Tamariki.

What is your favourite thing about the Programme so far?

My favourite thing about the Programme has been learning about all the different mechanisms of government. We have had some really interesting sessions on Select Committees. These were particularly useful to me as I am currently working on a departmental report on a Select Committee session.

What is an interesting piece of work you have been doing?

I have been working on a broad range of housing policy areas including housing affordability. I mapped the different progressive homeownership schemes that are currently available to first home buyers to assist with our analysis of how we can best assist people into homeownership.

What do you hope to get out of the Graduate Programme?

I hope to gain transferrable skills to become an effective Policy Advisor. The best thing about this Programme is that by the end, you should be able to apply the skills you have learnt to any policy topic. Whatever subject area takes your interest - you should be able to turn your hand to!

Tayla Sumner | Trade & International - Labour, Science and Enterprise

What did you study at University?

I completed a Bachelor of Commerce in Accounting and Management, as well as a Bachelor of Arts in Pacific Studies, Political Science and International Relations at the University of Auckland.

Why did you apply for the Graduate Programme at MBIE?

I wanted a career that would allow me to combine my interest in politics and passion for my Pasifika community. Policy was not on my radar until I attended a Tupu Tai event at the University of Auckland and heard about how Pasifika are underrepresented in policy roles across the public sector. After learning more about MBIE, and how I could use my experiences to shape policies to better serve our communities, I was sold!

What is your favourite thing about the programme so far?

I've really enjoyed the opportunity to work on a diverse range of work projects and collaborate with like-minded people in my team and within the graduate cohort. Graduates are given a lot of responsibility which can be daunting, but it means that we get a lot of development opportunities and get to work on really interesting projects from the get-go.

The graduate programme has also been invaluable in connecting me with colleagues around MBIE who work tirelessly to ensure that the lived experiences and perspectives of all communities in New Zealand are heard and represented.

What is an interesting piece of work you have been doing?

I'm in the Trade and International team, and one of my projects at the moment is working on MBIE's participation and preparation in the lead up to New Zealand's host year of Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation 2021 (APEC). The APEC21 event creates opportunities for New Zealand to promote its economic interests with trading nations and will be the largest event ever hosted by the NZ Government. It's exciting to be a part of that!

What do you hope to get out of the Graduate Programme?

I hope to come out of the graduate programme with the tools and confidence to address the problems faced by our communities, in order to create a more prosperous New Zealand.

Cameron Meads | Labour and Immigration Policy - Labour, Science and Enterprise

What did you study at University?

I have a Bachelor of Arts with majors in Political Science and Film & Media Studies from the coldest (read "coolest") university in the country - Otago!

Why did you apply for the Graduate Programme at MBIE?

Since picking up Political Science at University, I have always been interested in working in policy. It seemed like a career path I could genuinely make a difference for New Zealanders in. I heard that the Graduate Programme at MBIE was among the best of graduate recruitment in government, so I wasn't going to miss my chance!

What is your favourite thing about the Programme so far?

We receive a lot of support while also having a lot of responsibility. I had to do a briefing for our Minister in my second week! There's nothing quite like learning on the job, especially when the stakes are high. We're able to make a real impact from day one, without the fear of making mistakes. All of the graduates are in the same boat which adds to the support. Plus, I've made mates for life here.

What is an interesting piece of work you have been working on?

I'm working on the Temporary Migrant Worker Exploitation review and engaging with the International Labour Organisation in Geneva. The review is particularly exciting and gives real meaning to the job. We are currently proposing options to help reduce migrant exploitation in New Zealand. This has meant engaging with a number of stakeholders inside and outside of government. The experiences so far have been invaluable and I can't wait to see this project through.

What do you hope to get out of the Graduate Programme?

I hope to have the skills needed to provide high quality policy advice and influence Ministers. I also hope to be able to create policy that doesn't just work in theory, but delivers desired outcomes in practice.