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Leadership and Talent - Early in Career logo.

We are investing in ensuring that people have a strong start in the Public Service, from their first day as a new professional. 

The Public Service has roles in every sector within New Zealand, and in every community.

Students, graduates, and new professionals need an understanding of the full range of opportunities available to them, whether they are seeking temporary roles, beginning permanent roles, or their professional career.

New professionals starting in the Public Service can expect:

  • exposure to a range of opportunities which can inform future choices of employment or specialisation, and
  • the ability to connect experiences across sectors, professions, and agencies.

The State Services Commission (SSC) Early in Career programme is currently focused on induction and career development for interns and graduates. Some of the ways we are helping shape leaders for the future include:

1. Summer Interns and Graduates

The SSC centrally hosts inductions for summer interns and graduates, these events highlight career opportunities within the Public Service and help new professionals to create networks amongst peers and form connections across agencies.

SSC also works with agencies to support a collective approach to the attraction, selection, development and retention of new professionals across the system.

2. Induction to the State services

The SSC has worked with agencies to create an online introduction to working in the State services.  This is available for all our Public Service agencies to use in their induction programmes. The module supports new starters to understand what it means to be a public servant, the machinery of government, and how their agency priorities fit into the wider context and system priorities. 

The induction module can be viewed at Induction to the State Services

3. Emerging Leaders Fast Stream programme

2015 to 2018 SSC piloted an Emerging Leaders Fast Stream Programme to increase bench-strength and diversity of the future public service leaders. This program was targeted at high-potential emerging leaders who demonstrated their readiness to step up to their first people management or thought leadership role. Participants developed a breadth and depth of knowledge, skills, and experience over the three-year accelerated development programme. The Justice sector hosted the pilot and further opportunities are being explored. 

The Leadership Development Centre (LDC) partners with agencies to deliver emerging leader development and tools – more information about their role can be found on the LDC website.

If you are thinking about embarking on a public service career, you can find more about current opportunities for interns and graduates at nxtstep or at

4. Westpac New Zealand Spirit of Service Scholarship

The State Services Commission, in tandem with sponsorship from Westpac New Zealand, is offering the opportunity for an early-in-career, high-potential future public service leader to gain an internationally recognised Master of Public Policy (MPP) from Oxford University’s Blavatnik School of Government (BSG).

The scholarship to attend the MPP was first offered by Westpac New Zealand in 2019, and applications are now being sought for 2020. Current recipients Arun Jain from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and Tennille Maxey from Statistics New Zealand recently acknowledged that “we are left with no illusion that this one of the most profound experiences of our lives.”

Public servants interested in applying for the scholarship should gain their home agency support in the first instance. With this support, applicants can then apply directly to the Blavatnik School of Government. Only those accepted onto the programme by BSG will be eligible for the scholarship.

Key dates:

  • 10 January 2020 - MPP online applications due with BSG
  • 31 January 2020 - 5pm, Friday – scholarship application due with SSC to (the application is subject to BSG invitation onto the MPP).
  • Early April 2020 – BSG response to applicants, followed by SSC/Westpac consideration of scholarship applications.
  • September 2020 – MPP commences in the UK.

Attached is:

  • A brochure (196KB | PDF) providing additional information on the Blavatnik School of Government Master of Public Policy and the Westpac scholarship
  • An application form (Word | 96KB) for the 2020 Westpac NZ Spirit of Service Scholarship.

Email for more information.

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