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Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI)

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Alysha Bagasra

MPI Graduate Alysha Bagasra

Studied: BA(Spanish)/BSc(Biology and Environmental Science) (University of Auckland)

“I studied a BA(Spanish)/BSc(Biology and Environmental Science) at the University of Auckland, because I was interested in how we can apply science to the environmental challenges we’re facing, and also how international collaboration can contribute to successful solutions.

I was involved in several volunteer activities throughout my degree including with the Department of Conservation, as well as cultural groups like the Latin American and Iberian Film Society. The MPI Graduate Development Programme has been fantastic as it’s allowed me to work in different roles and areas across the organization, from biosecurity to international trade policy.

Being on the programme enabled me to find what I was really passionate about which is international environmental policy. My current role working in international climate change policy as it relates to agriculture and forestry has opened up so many doors for me and I’m loving the challenge!”

Sam Bishop

MPI Graduate Sam Bishop

Studied: Bachelor of Applied Business Studies (Whitireia New Zealand)

When I saw the MPI Graduate Development Programme being advertised I saw it as a great stepping stone to get into a permanent role. The three work rotations as part of the programme provided an opportunity to see what the organization does and to get the opportunity to work on a variety of things.

I began my work rotations in our Policy & Trade branch, working in the forestry and plant sector; then transitioned into strategy systems and science policy. For my final rotation, I moved into our Corporate Services area, working in planning and business transformation.

Now in my current role as Adviser Business Continuity Planning, I get involved in some of the more people-focused areas in terms of how we react to natural disasters and emergencies, which provides a real sense of achievement when your work helps staff in knowing what to do. MPI has a great cohort of mentors available across the whole Ministry, constant employment opportunities, and a real sense of working towards something meaningful. The grad programme really has fostered my career growth and provided me an opportunity that many are keen to get in on.

Danica Carter

MPI Graduate Danica Carter

Studied: MSc in Chemistry (Victoria University of Wellington)

I’m originally from Rotorua but I have spent most of the last nine years in Wellington. I completed my qualification at Vic Uni and enjoyed getting involved with soccer teams, mentoring and tutoring, the VicPlus leadership programme as well as working at halls of residence.

Starting at MPI was really different for me but I have found that my scientific background has really helped in the analytic and problem-solving spaces of each project that I’ve worked on. I started off in a team that assesses and registers pesticides for use in New Zealand, as well as monitoring the residues of such products on the food that we eat to make sure that these are within healthy levels. I moved into a policy team that prepared for biosecurity threats in New Zealand and how to best manage them and then kept the Ministers informed of how MPI were dealing with the incursion if anything did arrive. Now I am a strategic analyst looking at the long-term threats to New Zealand’s primary industries; mainly in the food, trade, primary production, and biosecurity space.

I found MPI really welcoming as a whole, but I found the cultural support of Te Tauaki Puāwai (our Māori staff network) to be really valuable. The grad programme has been a great way for me to get an overview of the organization and has made me realize how broad the primary industries are. It has been a great opportunity to interact with different parts of this organization and is helping me figure out what kind of direction I want my career here to go in.