Minister for Diversity, Inclusion and Ethnic Communities, Priyanca Radhakrishnan has welcomed the first participants of the newly established graduate programme for ethnic communities, which begins today and will span across multiple public agencies.
“New Zealand is growing in diversity. We have over 213 ethnicities represented across Aotearoa and we collectively speak over 160 languages. Our ethnic communities make up nearly 20 per cent of our population, and it’s important that our Public Sector reflects that,” Minister Radhakrishnan said.
“With these actions, we are laying the foundations for a better future, and a fairer more equitable New Zealand.”
The Ethnic Communities Graduate Programme will provide a pathway into the Public Service for skilled graduates from ethnic communities while also improving cultural competency across the Public Sector.
The programme will see 23 graduates start work across 12 agencies, including the intelligence community, as part of the Government’s response to the Royal Commission of Inquiry into the terrorist attack on Christchurch masjidain on 15 March 2019, which highlighted the need for more diversity across the Public Service.
“It is clear from the Royal Commission’s report, and the subsequent hui held across the country, that there is more to do to ensure that the Public Sector is able to better understand and respond to diverse needs. This graduate programme aims to inject some cultural understanding into those agencies while also providing pathways for those who often face barriers to employment,” the Minister said.
“The first intake was originally set to be 15 graduates, but we received a very positive response from agencies interested in being involved and were able to expand the opportunity to 23 people.
“There will be a programme of wraparound support for both the graduates and their host managers, provided by the newly established Ministry for Ethnic Communities.
“Graduates who come through this programme will be set up to influence and drive change that directly affects ethnic communities and the whole of New Zealand society, and I wish them all the very best.”