Health and Safety Summer Internship Programme


Why should you apply?

Listen to what the 2020/21 interns have to say.

2020/21 GHSL Summer Internship Programme

About our programme

Our Health and Safety Summer Intern Programme is a key part of the Government Health and Safety Lead (GHSL) workforce development programme, designed to build a pipeline of future passionate health, safety and wellbeing professionals for the government sector.  

The demand for health and safety professionals in New Zealand is high, with an estimated shortage of 2,100 health and safety professionals over the next few years.  There are a range of career opportunities within this profession!


In 2017, the GHSL saw an opportunity to trial a Summer Health and Safety Intern Programme to help build a pipeline of qualified health and safety practitioners entering the sector.

Many public sector agencies operate general intern programmes, however, health and safety roles are not typically included in these programmes.

In 2017/2018 the inaugural GHSL Summer Intern Programme ran with nine interns across nine agencies. With the success of the trial and interest from agencies, the GHSL extended the programme and more than 20 interns were employed in both 2018/19 and 2019/20.

Programme dates

Our Intern programme runs from mid November to the mid/end of February each year. 
We start recruiting from end of July to end of August each year via MPI website, University career portals and

Our aim

The programme gives interns (undergraduates) the opportunity to work in health and safety roles in government agencies.

Interns also complete training and get exposure to a variety of government agencies with the intention that they develop an interest in health and safety, ideally within the government sector.

Check our GHSL intern guide which provides more information about the programme and participating agencies.

What's in it for you?

By the end of the summer, we expect our interns to have:

  • Gained an understanding of why health, safety and wellbeing is important;
  • Built a professional network;
  • Understand the breadth and complexities of health, safety and wellbeing in government;
  • Contribute to valuable pieces of work in a diverse and interesting organisation; and
  • Obtain a relevant work experience in health, safety and wellbeing.

Programme overview

Our summer intern programme runs from mid to late November to the end of February each year. Usually positions are based in Wellington.

During the programme interns will be employed by a government agency on a fixed term contract and will work in their health, safety and wellbeing team full time, Monday to Friday, for the full 14 week period.

Each agency sets their own programme of work for their interns for the duration of the programme, sitting within the overarching objectives agreed upon with the GHSL.

Throughout the programme, the GHSL will also facilitate several events for the interns to come together and visit different sites/agencies, to expose them to the government’s diverse environments and broad range of health and safety risks that public servants operate in.  Examples of past visits have been Rimutaka Prison, Corrections National Learning Centre, Wellington Central Fire Station, WorkSafe New Zealand, Haywards Substation and Ohakea Air Force Base.

The programme has three components:

  1. Paid employment:
    Our interns are employed by a government agency in their health, safety and wellbeing team. Interns are provided with meaningful health, safety and wellbeing work that exposes them to the type of activity carried out within a government agency.

  2. Project:
    Each intern will be expected to complete one significant piece of work or project by the end of their internship period, which will be in addition to other tasks assigned by the agency. This project work will contribute to the teams/agencies programme of work. 

  3. Workshops, field trips and professional networking events:
    These events are organised by the GHSL, providing interns with professional development opportunities and exposure to health, safety and wellbeing within the public sector.

    Building relationships within the intern cohort is an important part of the programme. Interns are encouraged to actively network with each other; meeting for coffee after work and, where appropriate, collaborating on projects or initiatives.

What are we looking for?

We don’t expect our interns to have any prior health and safety knowledge or experience but some relevant study and an interest in this field is a must.

It would be advantageous if interns can demonstrate work experience in a customer facing environment and some leadership experience, for example in a sports team, volunteer group or academically.

Our minimum requirements

Interns must be:

  • Studying in New Zealand for a diploma or undergraduate degree in health science, health and safety, health, psychology, or human resources.
  • Moving into their third, fourth or final year of undergraduate study.  As we want to have students who have studied or completed one more paper in health, health science, occupational health and safety, psychology, law or a related area of study to health, safety and wellbeing.
  • Be available to work full time in either Wellington or Auckland from 22 November to 18 February 2021 (excluding the Christmas/new year holidays)
  • A New Zealand citizen or permanent resident or be an Australian citizen*

*All interns must be eligible to live,study and work in New Zealand.


If you have any queries, please contact the GHSL team at Check out and follow us on LinkedIn.(external link)

Meet some of our previous interns

Each year every cohort is asked to make an intern video to showcase their internship experience. So, that students applying for a place on our programme, can have good idea about what to expect to experience during your internship programme gain in the health, safety and wellbeing profession.

2019/2020 GHSL Summer Intern Programme - What we've learnt.

2018/2019 GHSL Intern Programme - Sharing our Insights

2017/2018 GHSL Interns - One Year On