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Meet Beth Rust, who holds a Bachelor of Arts, majoring in History and Media Studies and minoring in Creative Writing, from Victoria University of Wellington.

"At DIA, I worked mainly in the Digital Inclusion team, under Service Innovation. The team was focussed on the government’s commitment to making sure all New Zealanders have the skills and tools they need to meaningfully interact with the digital world. Many New Zealanders aren’t currently ‘digitally included’ – that is, for one reason or another they can’t make the most of the digital world. Some people, for example, can’t afford a digital device or an Internet connection in their home and so are excluded from the digital world.
Government agencies aren’t the only organizations working towards digital inclusion in this country. A lot of non-governmental organizations (not-for-profits, private companies, etc.), have also been working for years to help get more people online. My chief responsibility during my time in Digital Inclusion was conducting a stocktake of digital inclusion initiatives in the New Zealand community. Plainly: researching how many projects or programmes in the community are contributing to helping more New Zealanders become part of the digital world.

I also had a key role in organizing the release of the Digital Inclusion Blueprint, a document which outlines government’s commitment to digital inclusion and the steps it will take towards realizing the goal of all New Zealanders being digitally included.

My top 5 reasons to apply for the grad program:

  • The opportunity to work in three different government agencies, and be part of a cohort spread out across government – you develop a broader and deeper understanding of how government works in New Zealand than you would if you stayed within one agency.
  • The people you meet – both your fellow grads and the colleagues you work within your agencies.
  • Sampling work outside your comfort zone.
  • Learning new skills, and ways of thinking, that you may never have even considered before.
  • Building up a network of connections across government, just by virtue of rotating through different agencies and attending cross-government events.

Working in government has exposed me to a range of challenges, both in a macro sense (‘How do we deal with bureaucracy? With resistance to change?’) and in a micro sense (‘How do I navigate office politics and team structures? How do I fit in, in an organization with thousands of employees?’)."


Meet Alexandra McGregor who holds a Bachelor of Arts with Honours in Media Studies from Victoria University, Wellington.

"I have been working as an analyst at the Ministry of Education working on a wide range of projects, including both annual and commissioned research. Initially, I worked on the cross-government Child, Youth and Wellbeing Strategy, where I worked on commissioned research projects to evaluate questions around the wellbeing of students and the school environments, this was an exciting chance to explore the data, conduct new research and answer salient questions. Since then I have also worked on annual data releases, as well as a large-scale international survey, these releases provide valuable insights into the schooling environment and do go on to inform policy throughout the ministry.
It has been a great opportunity to utilize my skills as a researcher. I come from a humanities background which really developed critical thinking skills, which are of great value in this role. Being able to identify the nuance and complexity of the issues and situations that we are dealing with and explain these thoughtfully is key to being able to interpret data and meaningfully convey findings from your analysis.

My top 5 reasons to apply for the grad program:

  • The opportunity to work in a dynamic and innovative space within the government.
  • The chance to work on meaningful and challenging projects.
  • The variety and flexibility that is not offered in other graduate programmes.
  • Being able to be constantly developing your skillset.
  • Work on projects which will contribute to the digital future of New Zealand.
What made me apply:

I had completed a socially-focused degree and ultimately knew that whatever I did I wanted to help people, and I also wanted to utilize my skills. Both of which I have been able to do with this programme.


Within my role at education, I have worked on a lot of interesting research projects, including contributing to the OECD Teaching and Learning International Survey (TALIS).

Although I am only just beginning the number of opportunities in such diverse roles is really exciting, because there is much scope to be able to utilize your interests and skills."


Meet Sushant Balajee who holds a Bachelor of Science at Victoria University, now working as an Information Security Analyst at ACC.

"As an Information Security Analyst I am responsible for the integrity of the ACC M365 environment through the development and maintenance of ICT Security standards, and to promote an understanding of security risks and management requirements in support of the ACC M365 Security Tools and Awareness scrum team.
I am required to work with the latest Microsoft cloud technologies, attend daily stand-ups, voice concerns and follow up on actions required to ensure the security of delivered M365 products and features. My work will allow ACC front-line staff to work safely and flexibly with M365 tools and information, so they can more efficiently focus on ACC’s core mission.

Some of my core responsibilities include:

  • Participating as a core member of the M365 Security Tools and Awareness  scrum team with a specific focus on security
  • Collaborating with the M365 Office Productivity and Digital Workspace scrum teams as they deploy new features and technologies to ensure compliance with security policies and standards
  • Assisting in the design and definition of the solution architecture and conceptual design
  • Supporting M365 technologies in a scrum of scrums with the other M365 scrum teams
  • Monitoring compliance by ACC users and outsourced IT partners with ACC’s information security policies and standards
  • Providing assistance to Business managers to train staff in information security policies and their responsibilities in relation to these
  • Assisting in planning for new security or security-related systems and tools
  • Managing access to ACC’s IT systems in accordance with policies, standards, and processes established by the Manager, ICT Security & Risk Management
My top 5 reasons to apply for the grad program:

  • The variety of pillars that related to my degree
  • I was keen to get a foot in the door to progress my career in DevOps
  • The variety of agencies and experiences that were offered
  • To develop and apply my knowledge in the public sector
  • Location – Allowed me to stay in Wellington and play competitive Cricket
What made me apply:

Toward the end of my formal education, I was as curious and interested in software development as ever, so I was very keen, confident and ready to get straight into the workforce.


I am most proud of accepting a role (outside of the programme) in a field that I am now extremely interested in but never intended to pursue.

Coming with little to no experience in the Security field, I have been extremely grateful for the support I have received to be in the position that I am, and the knowledge that I have gained.

It is important to be willing to try new things. If I played it safe, I would be doing what I intended to and would have risked staying in a comfort zone which could have stunted my career and mental growth.

The non-degree specific skills you learn from university are extremely important. The soft skills are vital in providing young professionals with the ability to branch out and open up careers that are not backed by their formal education."