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Summer interns gain first-hand experience

16 March 2021
2020 Interns

Every year for 13 weeks over summer, Ara Poutama Aotearoa runs an Internship Programme, which is open to university students around the country. The programme has been evolving and gaining momentum over the past few years. The 2020/2021 cohort has been one of the most successful yet with more interns getting jobs with us and staying on than in previous years.

On 23 November 2020 we welcomed 25 talented students into the Ara Poutama Aotearoa whānau to begin their intern journeys across different regions and business groups within the department. At National Office 20 interns were based in National Operations, Mental Health and Addictions, Psychology & Programmes, High Risk Response, Payroll and Legal…to name a few! Five internships were based in the regions.

A huge attraction for our interns is the opportunity to roll up their sleeves and get involved in some fascinating mahi and a variety of meaningful projects. The interns, who receive a salary, gain first-hand experience in their relevant areas of study and gain an understanding of the awesome work we do. A real highlight for our interns has been the visits to some of our prisons, and the ‘lunch and learn’ sessions we hold twice weekly. This gives interns the opportunity to hear from guest speakers from around the department and gain a deeper insight into the various business groups and mahi being done, and the many career options that exist with us.

Along with clever minds, our interns brought energy and passion, and as a result this year we have been able to secure fixed term and permanent opportunities for a large number of the cohort - a great sign of the importance and success of our annual Summer Intern Programme!

“I really loved working in Corrections, especially in the Communications and Government Services team," says Georgina Lomax-Sawyers. "I got a lot of opportunities to see a broad range of work that Corrections does. Coming into Corrections I didn’t realise just how big and wide ranging the work is and getting exposure to lots of different parts of the organisation was super interesting! And of course the people I got to work with were amazing. I would definitely recommend it, and already have to some of my friends.”

"Working at Ara Poutama Aotearoa has been an eye-opening experience. At the start of this internship I didn’t even know what Ara Poutama Aotearoa was!" says Alisha Paotonu. "From participating in prison visits to observing the hard work of our 24/7 Operations Advisers on my own floor, there was a lot to take in. However, learning about Hōkai Rangi was also very special, and always reminded me of my purpose when working on tasks both big and small – the wellness and wellbeing of people."

While we are lucky enough to receive a huge number of applications from students directly, we are also a Principal Partner of the TupuToa Programme, which is a pathway providing professional opportunities for Māori and Pacific Island students. We have been part of this programme for the past three years, and this year we were able to secure 10 amazing interns through this pathway.

The annual TupuToa gala dinner held in Auckland celebrates the end of their intern journey and this year hosted 800 people. The evening is filled with performances, guest speakers, and a few special shared stories from interns. This year National Commissioner Rachel Leota was a keynote speaker at the leadership hui that the interns attended ahead of the gala dinner.

One of our interns, Jamie Wehipeihana, also spoke (2nd right, standing, in photo). She shared her personal journey, explaining how important  her internship with Ara Poutama Aotearoa has been. She was acknowledged by an impromptu haka performed by a number of interns in the room and not a dry eye remained!

Interested in joining our intern programme?

Our summer internship programme offers university students the opportunity to undertake work related to their studies, and in turn gain first-hand experience of the public sector and the work we undertake within Corrections.

The programme has enabled Corrections to benefit from a number of projects being completed by the students, whilst also promoting the work we do within the wider community. 

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