The truth about careers in the public sector

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How much do you really know about the public sector? It’s not all red-tape and compliance. We talked to Andy Foster, Manager of Commercial Services at the Department of Internal Affairs (DIA) to find out the truth about procurement in the public sector. 

What is the truth about careers in the public sector?

  • It’s commercial 

The truth is that the public sector is getting more commercial all the time. Through my experience I have seen that public sector procurement maturity is often ahead of many private sector firms. Agencies like Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment (MBIE) and DIA operate as big drivers in the industry, investing heavily in new technologies and pushing to innovate.  

Public sector isn’t about just ministry and big departments. It works closely with private sector, sharing technologies and process to develop best practice. 

  • It’s customer centric 

Procurement in the public sector is all about best practice, putting the customer at the heart of everything we do. It is also about continuous improvement, examining how to improve process and fundamentally changing the way that customers and stakeholders interact with the commercial procurement function. 

At DIA we are working to improve the services that are offered to New Zealanders, and we often do that through service design work. This commercial procurement technology is agile and we are investing in new agile technologies all the time.  

Why did you choose procurement? 

I started my career in the Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF), working there for 12 years as a Logistics and Supply officer. This sparked my passion for procurement and the public sector. 

I then worked at MBIE. MBIE are well-known throughout the public and private sector as functional leaders in procurement. They are responsible for performance and capability uplifts across the sector, and have a good track record for delivery. 

I worked at MBIE for four years, having three different roles in the organisation during that time. Head of Procurement was my big goal so I began working at DIA. 

DIA's finance team has gone through a significant transformation centered around leadership and continuous improvement. I work in a high performing culture everyday, where we strive to become the leading commercial team in the public sector. 

People who think that the public sector is slow need to come and spend some time here. Commercial procurement, finance and HR are highly strategic, fast and delivery focused

At DIA we have significant obligations to New Zealanders and there’s no excuse to slow down. The more complex, the better the challenge, and we are up to the task. 


If you think procurement could be your next challenge, talk to one of our team or check out some of our current procurement positions available here

Check out the next opportunity at DIA by watching the video below or applying for the job here.


We talk to Andy Foster from the Department of Internal Affairs

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