Three months after the Royal Commission recommended creating a new Ethnic Communities Graduate Program to enhance ethnic leadership in the public sector, the program has been established just in time before the second anniversary of the Christchurch terror attack.

On March 15, the country will observe the second anniversary of the dreadful Christchurch attack which not only jolted the nation out of its supreme slumber but forced to introspect in many ways on important issues around social cohesion and growing ethnic diversity in New Zealand society.

Royal Commission had led a comprehensive government enquiry on all factors related to the government response and presented 44 recommendations in early December last year, which had agreed in principle to implement all the recommendations.

One such recommendation of the Royal Commission was to create a new Ethnic Communities Graduate Programme to enhance the ethnic representation at the higher echelons of public services.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern had then said, “We will provide meaningful work experience and pathways into the public service for graduates from ethnic communities through a newly established graduate programme,” 

“People from ethnic communities remain underrepresented in leadership roles in the public sector, and recommendation 35 of the Royal Commission report recommends greater diversity in the public service at all levels,” the PM had then said.

It is expected that the programme will address the low representation of ethnically diverse employees and remove the barriers they face to access employment in the public sector. The program will achieve this objective by offering a targeted pathway to the eligible members of ethnic communities into public services.

An update from the Office of the Ethnic Communities (it is still not a full-fledged Ministry as per Royal Commission’s another recommendation and is set to become so on July 1) informs that the recruitment process had already begun for the Program and March 25 being the deadline for applications.

The program will give the opportunity to any young member of the wider ethnic community (Middle Eastern, Latin American, African, Asian, or Continental European), who has recently obtained a qualification at the bachelor’s level in NZ or overseas within the last 2 years; and have right to live and work in NZ.

Graduates will enter Public Service agencies in two 18-month intakes, the first of which is scheduled to start in July 2021. Available roles will be focused on either public policy, policy-related functions, or the delivery of high-quality and efficient public services. It is anticipated that the positions will be mainly Wellington-based, with some positions located in Auckland and Christchurch.

It is expected that the graduates who come through this Programme will be set up to influence and drive change that directly affects ethnic communities and the whole of New Zealand society.

For more information, including how to apply, please visit here.