Summer Internship - Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ's)



"In my time with New Zealand Defence Force. I have worked on multiple projects, whether that be auditing units on sites. Looking at critical risks within the airforce as well as looking at how the airforce could adopt ISO45000 health and safety standards into their working practices".

Emma, New Zealand Defence Force, 2022/23 H&S Intern.


Interns sitting in a helicopter

"Having an intern as part of our team not only provides an opportunity for someone who is looking at health and safety as a potential career option to see what is involved and the opportunities it can bring, but it also provides an opportunity for the wider team to share their expertises and build mentoring skills in a collaborative learning environment. Helping bring new talent into a growing industry only supports the wellbeing health and safety of everyone."

Juliette McCandlish, Health, Safety and Wellbeing Manager, Department of Internal Affairs.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ's)


1. I don’t have any Health and Safety experience. Can I still apply? 

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

2. I haven’t studied Health and Safety. Can I still apply for intern role? 

To ensure that all our interns get the best programme experience we do expect all our interns to be in their third year moving into your fourth year or final year. 

All students must be based in New Zealand studying for an under graduate degree/diploma in health and safety, health, psychology or human resources and who has completed one more papers in health, occupational health and safety, or a related area of study (or ability to pick up related papers from 2023/24).

We ask candidates to provide an academic transcript with your previous 12 month grade average – something you can only do from your third year onwards.

3. What is involved in the recruitment process? 

There are four stages involved in the recruitment process: 

  • Online application and video interview; 
  • Attend an interview or assessment day;
  • Reference and vetting check process; and
  • Appointment process 

4. How long is the internship programme? 

The programme runs for approx three months from mid November to mid February every year.  Check out our intern recruitment guide for more information.

5. How much do I get paid for this internship? 

All our interns are paid the minimum living wage which is currently set at $27.80 per hour. (Based on 1 September 2024 Living Working Wage). All successful interns are expected to cover their own relocation expenses.

6. Who is my employer - the Government Health & Safety Lead (GHSL) or government agency? 

All our interns are employed by their selected agency directly on a fixed term individual employment contract.  The GHSL is here to facilitate and support our interns and agencies throughout the programme.  

7. What are my days and hours of work?  

Interns are generally contracted to work full time hours of 7.5 to 8 hours per day from Monday to Friday inclusive. This will be stipulated in your individual employment contract with your agency. 

8. Can you outline what is involved in the summer internship programme? 

During the three month programme you will get to experience what it is like to work in a government agency, participate in workshops, field trips and professional networking events. Check out our intern video's(external link) which will showcase the diverse environments and range of health and safety risks public servants and agencies operate in.  

9. What type of work can I expect to undertake whilst on the programme? 

Typically, an intern would expect to complete ordinary work with the rest of the team and have one project or significant piece of work to be delivered within the three-month period,with additional tasks assigned by their agency. Check out our intern videos or diary of an intern article.

 10. Are the intern placements only available in Wellington?

No, some interns can be based in Auckland or around the country, however, this depends on the inidividual agency and where they want to offer intern placements. However, the majority of placements are based in Wellington.

11. Can I apply for the Summer Intern programme even though I am a first or second year or high-school student?

Unfortunately, we need you to be in at least your third year of tertiary education or fnal year of diploma study to apply for the GHSL Summer Intern programme. We ask candidates to provide an academic transcript with your previous 12-month grade average – something you can only do from your third year onwards.

12. When can I expect to hear after submitting my application?

We will not review any applications until after the closing date. You will be contacted within two- three weeks of the closing date to confirm whether or not you have been successful in progressing onto the next stage of recruitment.

For more information why not check out our summer internship page.

Updated April 2024