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Internship programme exposing Pacific youth to public sector

08 February 2018

Posted in: Pacific Radio News,

By Mabel Muller -

The lack of Pacific representatives in management and leadership roles within the public sector has prompted the government to provide an internship programme for Pacific youth.

Tupu Tai Pasifika's interns for 2017 - 2018. Photo/ Supplied.

The Tupu Tai Pasifika Public Sector internship programme began in 2016 with six internships offered across four agencies. This year the number of internships have tripled and have extended to a further five agencies.

Malia Vehikite, a graduate in Energy Management, is currently in the 10-week programme working for the Department of Conservation's project management team.

With only eight per cent of public sector employees identifying as Pacific, Vehikite says Tupu Tai is a much-needed insightful experience for Pacific youth.

"My situation, it was more lack of awareness of what the public sector did and understanding that and then there's also just low confidence in applying for graduate jobs within the sector because you're competing with so many other capable and educated people."

Malia Vehikite. Photo/ Supplied.

Vehikite says she's the first Pacific intern DoC has hosted and she sees the need for Pacific voices to have a say at the decision-making table in these agencies.

"It's exposing us to understand the public sector better and then giving us those opportunities to move forward within the government, there's a voice for our Pacific people when it comes to decision-making which we really need."

She says the work they do at DoC is not something of interest to Pacific people but they're hoping to change that.

"When it comes to things like training for our rangers, for example, it's only based in one place which is Nelson and some people don't like to have to commute or go to a new place where there are no familiar faces and such."

Vehikite is in her last week of internship with DoC and says the experience has really exposed her to a great potential career pathway.