From a degree in Sociology to a Graduate Policy Analyst

Interns with Minister Davis

I studied Sociology (among other things) at VUW from 2015-2019 and I’m currently working in the Ministry of Education as a Graduate Policy Analyst. The public sector (and policy more specifically) appealed to me because it will keep me learning, continue to challenge me, and hopefully make a real difference in people’s lives. I actually did a summer internship here as well, which was another great experience.

Sociology offers a good foundation for policy work because not only does it cover a wide range of subject matter, but the skills I developed are transferrable to a great number of further topics I might come across in my work. I was worried that I lacked specific knowledge needed to enter the workforce, but policy is built on teamwork and external consultation, so I draw on resources like I would for any assignment, and on the knowledge and experience of those around me.

I applied for the Graduate Policy Development Programme in June last year, so I definitely recommend that final year students watch for when applications open for these programmes. They are competitive, so think about extra-curriculars, but most government departments offer them and they’re a great first step into the public service which offers so many different career pathways.

I never knew what I wanted to do with my life (and still don’t) but policy is meaningful work and has been a great transition from university to the workforce. The sector is also built on rotational movement across teams and between organisations. So, if you’re like me, I seriously recommend the public sector as an excellent option. (P.S. get a LinkedIn).