Nelson Tasman to attract a pipeline of young talent through collaborative graduate programme

Nelson Tasman to attract a pipeline of young talent through collaborative graduate programme

Posted on Friday 7 May 2021

This month the Nelson Regional Development Agency (NRDA), Nelson Tasman Innovation Neighbourhood and Intepeople officially launch a Graduate Programme for the Nelson Tasman region, which is potentially the first of its kind for New Zealand.

The Programme is a collaboration between local organisations to attract top graduate talent to the region and expose them to the diversity of employment opportunities available.

“Our vision is to create a pipeline of future talent and ambassadors for the region who are excited about Nelson Tasman as a great place to live and establish a career. We are looking for Graduates from varying disciplines. From IT, Food Science, and Communications to Law, Logistics and Aquaculture”, says Kirsten Thorp, Workforce Development Coordinator at NRDA.

Graduates are employed by individual organisations across Nelson Tasman but are treated as one ‘cohort’ that come together as a group for professional development and social events.

Kirsten adds “What is also really exciting is a ‘Grad Share’ option, which provides a valuable one-of-a-kind experience for the graduates and gives businesses a chance to work with fresh ideas and talent, without having to commit to a full 2-year programme”.

Under the Grad-share option, graduates spend time working at multiple employers over two years – this could be 4 x 6-month; 3 x 8-month; or 2 x 12-month placements. To make it easy for organisations to get involved, Intepeople employs the graduates for the full two years and then leases them to the participating organisations.

Selena Tunnicliff, a Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology Bachelor of Commerce graduate began the programme as a pilot in 2020, and is currently completing the second of four placements in Human Resource teams within local businesses NMIT, OneFortyOnePort Nelson Limited, and Nelmac.

“Within a two-year period, I am being mentored by four different Human Resource teams across four diverse organisations. This is knowledge and learning you just can’t pay for," says Selena.

Selena’s current employer Jenny van Workum from OneFortyOne says “Our experience with the Nelson Tasman Grad Share Programme has been highly positive. Our graduate has brought enthusiasm and a willingness to try unfamiliar tasks and has added vibrancy and diversity to our business. We have enjoyed being part of an innovative programme, adding to our reputation as a great place to work by showcasing exciting opportunities for graduates.”

Another youth-focussed programme on offer since 2018 is the Nelson Tasman Summer Intern Programme. This programme is delivered by NTIN and NRDA and brings together a cohort of interns for professional development opportunities and learning around the region for 12 weeks each summer.

NTIN Chair Russell Manning says “After three very successful years of the Summer Intern Programme and strong support for the Grad Programme pilot, we have the confidence to officially launch the Grad Programme. Our vision is to collaborate and strengthen the appeal of building a career in the Nelson Tasman region.”

Nelson Regional Development Agency is now recruiting local organisations across all sectors for the next Graduate and Summer Intern Programme. NRDA acknowledges the support of the Ministry of Social Development for establishing the development of both these programmes.

To register your interest, or for more information please visit or contact Kirsten Thorp,