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Student Careers

Here at the Ministry of Education we have multiple pathways into employment for those early in their careers. Below you will find a summary of the main pathways into our Ministry as a student, intern, or graduate. However, there are often other opportunities that pop up that may be suitable for someone early in their careers. Sign up for our email notifications on our careers center so you are able to keep informed for when these roles come up during the year.

Graduate Policy Analyst Programme 2021-22

Applications for the 2021 programme are now closed!

Every year Te Tāhuhu o te Mātauranga | the Ministry of Education employs up to six Graduate Policy Analyst. This is a permanent role which starts each January with the first 18 months as a development programme.

A career in Policy with Te Tāhuhu o te Mātauranga | the Ministry of Education gives you the opportunity to help shape New Zealand’s education system. Our focus is on delivering excellent and equitable outcomes for our increasingly diverse population.

Te Tāhuhu o te Mātauranga | the Ministry of Education has an extensive policy community with teams, covering areas of education from Pacific Education, Early Childhood, Māori Education, Tertiary, Learning Support, Infrastructure and International to name just a few!

Through working with Te Tāhuhu o te Mātauranga| the Ministry of Education you will have the opportunity to support improved outcomes for ākonga (learners), whānau and families, communities and wider New Zealand.

We're on the lookout for candidates who:

  • have completed within the last two years (or be in the final year of) an undergraduate or postgraduate qualification
  • have a genuine interest in working in policy and making a difference to the New Zealand Education system
  • are creative and flexible and able to work effectively in a fast-paced ambiguous environment,
  • have an understanding of the values of Te Tiriti o Waitangi and how they can be applied to support education success for Māori.

Sign-up for email notifications on our careers centre, and keep an eye on our NxtStep page for more information on early in career opportunities at the Ministry of Education.

See what our past graduates have to say about the programme

Maraea Mullane-Ronaki: Policy Analyst, Māori Education

Maraea Mullane-Ronaki

Policy Analyst, Māori Education

I was always interested in policy. I did an undergraduate degree in social policy and geography and a Masters in demography with a focus on Indigenous populations. After joining the graduate programme two years ago, I'm now a policy analyst in the Māori education team. I work on a range of things, from early learning through to tertiary education policy.

I feel privileged to be working in an area with a focus on making the education system equitable and enabling for Māori learners. My work is very personal, despite the focus on the macro. To me, Māori learners are my Whānau, my little brother and sister I see the potential benefit of my work for my Whānau and iwi Māori.

Policy isn't just a process. There's the importance of representation and a diverse workforce when you're working on policy informing big decisions for society.

You need to engage with others and work collaboratively. It's quite a change from university where you're focused on individual performance. It's all about our collective performance and us working together to get the best outcomes.

There are lots of opportunities ranging from high level strategic thinking to operational community engagement, and from writing cabinet papers to analysing data. The diversity in my work is really appealing.

>Alex Cliffe: Policy Analyst, Pacific Education Policy

Alex Cliffe

Policy Analyst, Pacific Education Policy

I've always been passionate about education and the transformative impact it can have on people's lives, and I was really excited when I saw that the Ministry of Education offered a policy graduate programme. I joined the graduate programme in 2016, and now work as a policy analyst in the Pacific Education Policy team, working on policy to ensure our education system enables Pacific learners and their families to achieve and succeed in education in ways that are meaningful for them.

Policy is like problem solving. You're working to understand what's happening in the education system and why, and identify the opportunities, challenges and options to address this. You get to think about what is going to make a difference to the lives of New Zealanders, and advise senior officials and Ministers of Education on what they should do to work towards a quality education system for all learners.

I've had the privilege to work with a bunch of passionate and talented people, who really care about the mahi, and I've been well supported to develop my education knowledge and policy skills. Most importantly, I've had the opportunity to listen directly to children and young people share their experiences of education and remind us why this work is so important.

Summer Internship Programme

About the Programme

We currently offer a paid 12 week internship programme over the summer holidays. This programme is available to all students who have completed at least two years of tertiary study, including those who may have already graduated.

This is an opportunity suited for someone who is beginning their career and is looking for their first step into the professional environment. You’ll be working on real projects with experienced colleagues, who’ll support you to develop your skills and knowledge further, and make the most of your time with us.

Opportunities are available in a range of areas, and can give you a real taste for where your career could take you. Many of our past interns have gone on to be employed with us or with other education sector organisations.

Sign-up for email notifications on our careers centre, and keep an eye on our NxtStep page for more information.

Applications for this programme will open mid-2020

Who are we looking for?

We are looking for resilient and driven people who are motivated to make a difference to our education system. We are looking for effective communicators, who enjoy working as part of a team and collaborating to make a positive contribution to our country’s future.

We welcome applications from students from diverse backgrounds, including Māori, Pacific and Disabled people that will enrich our understanding of the education system. We know there are many different pathways in education. Your academic grades aren’t the be-all and end-all. We’re looking for fresh ideas and diverse perspectives, as well as an ability to learn from your mistakes, take initiative and communicate effectively.

Click here to hear from some of our former interns.

Learning Support Pathways

What is Learning Support?

We deliver policies, resources and services for targeted interventions, specialist support services, funding and other resources for children and young people with learning support needs.

The Learning Support area of the Ministry is charged with leading the Education sector in ensuring that children and young people with additional learning needs are supported to achieve their full potential through education.

Our Learning Support specialists work closely with families, whānau, caregivers, schools and early childhood educators in English and Māori medium settings and other agencies to help maximise learning outcomes and promote social inclusion.

Click here to find out more about Learning Support and the work that our specialists do.

Pathways to Specialist Roles


We are the largest employer of Educational Psychologists and one of the largest employers of Speech Language Therapists (SLT) in New Zealand and supporting pathways into these key positions is an ongoing priority for the Ministry. Scholarships open the door to a diverse and rewarding career where you will deal with a rich variety of cases and interact with schools and early learning services, parents, whānau, children and young people.

We offer internship scholarships for Educational Psychologists, and Child and Family Psychologists. Find out more information here.

We also offer a scholarship for Speech Language Therapists which you find out more information about here.