I was born and lived in Colombia until my 12th birthday. Both my parents are Colombian, and although I haven’t been back since moving to New Zealand, I identify heavily with the culture, customs and traditions of my country. As many do, my mum and I moved to Aotearoa seeking a better life with more opportunities, and we certainly found that. Today I happily identify as half Colombian Half Kiwi. 

Tell us about your graduate placement and your host agency.

Working for the New Zealand Government has been a very challenging and enriching experience. I come into work every day knowing my work directly helps to protect all New Zealanders and safeguard our interests abroad. It’s intense subject matter and often very technical, so it keeps me on my toes. There is a tangible sense of purpose behind the work done here, and I love it!

Is there a career goal you are working towards?

My ambitions in the Public Service are still wide open. I know I want to perform at a level of seniority as close as possible to the core of central government. I believe it would be very valuable to bring a migrant/ethnic voice to government decision-making systems and contribute to making Aotearoa a better place for all. At the end of the day, as long as my work of fulfilling, I am a happy man.

Why do you think it’s important to have a diverse Public Service?

I think we always carry our own background and experiences with us to every role, whether we realise it or not. Increasing the scope of backgrounds, experiences and ideas in the Public Service will lead to more resilient decisions that capture a larger range of the public’s view. Aotearoa is changing demographically, and having a variety of voices at the governmental level will help maintain a dynamic and productive Public Service and also foster inclusion nationally.

What advice do you give to graduates considering a career in the Public Service? 

Although a solid academic record is important, I would say that it is vital you show you have goals beyond study, and why you’ve spent your time working towards them. The Wellington policy scene can be very competitive, especially for ethnic undergrads. Being involved in the community and having experience in the humanitarian industry helped me clarify my goals and were absolutely crucial experiences I was able to draw from in the hiring process.

Posted 7 months ago by Cristian Cornejo

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