Health and Safety Summer Intern Programme

2019/2020 Summer Internship 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 to late November to the end of February each year. So, we start recruiting from end of July to end of August each year via MPI website, University career portals and

About the programme

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.

Programme outcomes

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.
    Typically an intern would expect to have one project or significant piece of work to be delivered within the three month period, with additional tasks assigned by the agency.
  2. 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.
  3. Peer Networking:
    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.

Minimum requirements

Interns must be:

  • A current university student (undergrads) who has completed one more papers in health, occupational health and safety, or a related area of study (or have the ability to pick up related papers from 2021)
  • Studying in New Zealand for a degree in health and safety, health, psychology or human resources
  • A New Zealand citizen or permanent resident or be an Australian citizen*
  • Available between mid to late November 2020 and to the end of February 2021 for the Summer Intern programmes

*All interns must be eligible to live 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 interns

As an intern, if you’re successful in gaining a placement in the programme, you'll get to experience a broad spectrum of what working in health, safety and wellbeing is all about. Listen to what some of our previous interns have said about their experiences.

GHSL Interns - 2017/18 One Year On