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About ACE Nursing

Eligibility for ACE Nursing

Eligibility criteria to apply to ACE Nursing for a new graduate NETP or NESP position

ACE Nursing Process Overview

Full overview of the ACE Nursing process

ACE Nursing Statistics

Historical statistics from previous ACE Nursing intakes

Application Requirements

Specific information about what you need to do to submit your application to ACE Nursing

Vacancy and Position Information

Which employers are taking part in each intake and which practice setting areas you can preference

2017/18 Application Intake Dates

Key dates when applications open and close. Full timelines available here

Employer Contact Information

Contact details and key information including employer NETP career pages for each employer involved in the ACE Nursing process

ACE Nursing Resources

Applicant Guide, Resume and Cover Letter templates, Nursing School Presentations, Referee Report Forms and other career information

ACE Nursing Talent Pool

Unsure about how the Talent Pool works? Check out all the info here including further options for graduate nurses


ACE Nursing Frequently Asked Questions

  • Referee Report Extensions (2018)

    Applicants are required to provide two references as part of their ACE application.

    One referee must be a Clinical Tutor from their nursing school or tertiary provider and the other must be a Nurse Preceptor employed by the organisation where the applicant completed their clinical placement in their final year. ACE will allow a 2 week extension to those nursing schools identified as starting their clinical placements late during the ACE process.

    The following nursing cohorts have been identified by ACE and the ACE Nursing Reference group as starting their final placement late during the ACE nursing intakes for 2018. It was agreed that these students were not reasonably expected to be able to provide high quality references before the traditional application closing date. The students enrolled with these nursing cohorts will be granted a two week extension to have their referee reports completed by their preceptors and tutors. These students MUST have all other aspects of their ACE nursing application completed before the traditional application closing date. All applicants will be audited as part of this extension process.

    Mid-Year 2018

    • Eastern IT, Hawke’s Bay (Cohort One)
    • UCOL, Palmerston North & Whanganui (Cohort’s One)

    End of Year 2018

    • Auckland University of Technology (Cohort Two)
    • NorthTec, Whangarei (Cohort Two)
    • ARA IT, Christchurch (Cohort Two)
    • Toi-Ohomai, Tauranga & Rotorua
    • UNITEC, Henderson (Cohort Two)
    • Otago Polytechnic
    • Southern Institute of Technology, Invercargill
    • WINTEC, Waikato (Cohort Two b)
    • Eastern IT, Hawke’s Bay (Cohort Two) & Gisborne
    • UCOL, Palmerston North & Whanganui (Cohort’s Two) and Wairarapa

    Both references must be requested, completed and returned via the ACE system within the six weeks that applications from when applications open in order for your application to be deemed complete and to progress to the next stage of the process.

    For information on how to request references please see the ACE Applicant Guide or the Reference Section within your ACE application. If you are having difficulty getting in touch with your referees, or your referee's are not completing your references, please contact the ACE centre on 0800 223 226.

  • Change Referees

    To change any of your referees, you must log-in to your profile before the closing date to edit your references. A new reference request with unique ID will be sent to the referee outlining the next steps and the reference due date. Your referee must complete your reference report form by the time applications close 8th May 2018 and 20th May 2018 for cohorts eligible for an extension. Refer to Referee Reports Extension (2018) FAQ.

  • Eligibility for Australian Citizens

    Australian Citizens who have studied their Bachelor of Nursing degree in New Zealand are eligible to apply to ACE Nursing however they do not meet the Health Workforce New Zealand (HWNZ) criteria for a funded NETP or NESP position.

    If you are an Australian Citizen and do not hold Permanent Resident Visa, your employer will not be automatically eligible for Health Workforce NZ funding. However, if successfully employed via ACE your position could be funded directly by your employer, or your employer could apply to HWNZ for an exemption to the residency status policy for trainee funding. For more information about the HWNZ exception to residency policy, please click here.

    Consult the Immigration NZ website to find out if you are eligible to apply for a Permanent Resident Visa.

    Graduates that do not meet these basic ACE criteria should apply directly to individual employers for private positions. We recommend checking the Job Search page on the Kiwi Health Jobs website as a first point to see which employers may be looking for registered nurse and also by checking the career web pages of each DHB. 

    For more information about the HWNZ exception to residency policy, please click here. Consult the Immigration NZ website to find out if you are eligible to apply for a Permanent Resident Visa

  • Cover Letters

    You are encouraged to do some research on the employers that you have chosen to apply to. Information about your employers can be found by researching their career websites and by asking key people in the organisation questions about their organisation. From this information you will come to understand that each employer has specific areas of practice that may be of interest to you. Some of these areas will be similar to other employers, some will be different and specific to that employer and the region that they cover; therefore, each cover letter should be very specific for the employer that you are interested in applying to.

    A Cover Letter Template is available for download in the ACE Nursing Resources section of this website and also in the documents section of your ACE application.

    When submitting your cover letters, you have two options. You can either submit one cover letter which all 3 employers you rank will be able to see, or, you can write separate cover letters for each of the employers that you have ranked.

    Writing separate cover letters is the best option! It allows you to customise your cover letter specifically to an employer and remember that employers don’t know where you’ve ranked them, so by writing separate cover letters you can make it sound as though each employer you selected is your most preferred option!

    When addressing your cover Letters, remember to triple check who you’ve addressed them to. Remember to be sure you’ve put the correct employer and NETP and NESP coordinators names at the top of the letter. AND…make sure you’ve attached the right cover letter into the right employer upload slot in your ACE application!.

    You will see in the application portal that once you’ve ranked your employers, you will have up to three separate cover letter upload slots available for those employers. Make sure you attach the right letter to the right employer, for example, Waikato DHB do NOT want to know why you really want to work at Auckland DHB!

    You should include

    • Brief Introduction about yourself. You can chose to incorporate a mihi and provide your whakapapa
    • Your Nursing Philosophy/Kaupapa
    • Brief summary of your skills and abilities
    • Your main reasons for choosing each employer
    • Highlight why you’ve chosen your practice setting preferences – Be specific!
    • Finally, include any other details that you think are relevant to your application for a NETP/NESP position

    A cover letter should not read longer than one A4 sized paper. Employers want to know why you are interested in a NETP or NESP position in that organisation and what you can offer them. You should first note your main reasons for choosing that employer as one of your preferred places to work.

    Note that employers cannot see the order in which you ranked them. You can also use your cover letters to specify your true practice setting preferences. Although employers can’t see your employer preferences, they CAN see your practice setting preferences. You are free to include a discussion about any other areas of practice outside of your three preferred options in your ACE application.

    You can clarify in your cover letters what your nursing philosophy is and your passion for your chosen practice. Each DHB will offer different practice settings from what we advertise on our ACE websites. Our advice to you is to visit the DHB websites and contact the NETP coordinators for this information.

    General Cover Letter Advice

    • Why do you want this position?
    • Show how motivated and enthusiastic you are, and how you can fit into the organisation discussing your personal qualities
    • Mention any of the organisational philosophies that are relevant to that DHB or External Provider and comment on something positive about them and letting them know why you would want to work there
    • Make sure that you communicate your nursing philosophy, short to mid-term clinical aspirations and make it clear why you have selected the areas of specialty in your application
    • Research your employers! Go to their career webpages and gain an insight into their culture, what RN positions they currently have on offer and make it absolutely clear why you want to work for each employer that you’re applying to

    How to Structure Your Cover Letter

    • It is important to make a good impression.
    • Cover letters are usually no more than one page long.
    • Be professional, warm and friendly.
    • Make the letter interesting to read, but clear, concise and to the point. Do not repeat everything you say in your CV.
    • Use simple and natural language
    • Use positive words and phrases such as "I have" or "I can".
    • Do not start every sentence or paragraph with "I".

    Final Proofing

    • Write a rough draft first so you can get your thoughts in order.
    • Remember that whoever reads your cover letter will consider it an example of your writing skills. Make sure there are no grammatical mistakes and that the spelling is perfect.
    • Always get another person to read your letter before sending it to an employer.
    • Keep copies of all cover letters you have written and save them to storage on your computer or in the cloud.
  • Resumes

    Applicants are required to supply an up to date Resume (CV) as part of their ACE application. A Resume Template is available for download, however applicants are encouraged to develop their own format and style of document. Note that CVs need to be created and saved as PDF’s in order to be uploaded to your ACE application. If you do not have a PDF converter on your personal laptop, you might find that the common computers at your tertiary institute will have them, there are also others available online, just google them. ACE will only accept PDF copies of all of your documents because it guarantees that each employer can open and view your documents.

    A Resume Template is available for download in the ACE Nursing Resources section of this website and also in the documents section of your ACE application.

    General Resume Advice

    • Ensure that your resumes and cover letters are clear, succinct and properly structured
    • Maximum 3 pages for resumes
    • Passport sized photos are ok (professional)
    • Research your employers! Go to their career webpages and gain an insight into their culture, what RN positions they currently have on offer and make it absolutely clear why you want to work for each employer that you’re applying to
    • Ensure that your resumes and cover letters are free of spelling errors and grammar mistakes. Have a friend or a colleague proof read your documents!
    • You only have one chance to impress nurse managers, coordinators, educators, preceptors, ACNM’s and other clinical or HR staff members

    Photos in Resumes

    You can add a photo to your resume or cover letter if you wish. ACE recommends that your photo be professional and be about the size of a passport photo.

  • March State Sitters (Late Starters)

    New graduates who are required to sit or retake their state finals in March 2019 and subsequently pass their exam will be eligible for the talent pool and/or to commence NETP in April 2019 provided that they have made an application to the End of Year 2018 intakeThese candidates must indicate in their ACE application that they will be a 'late start applicant' due to sitting state in March 2019.

  • Verified Documents

    Do I Need Verified Documents?

    Yes. Your residency documents such as your passport, drivers licence, birth certificate, residency or citizenship certificates must be certified prior to uploading them to your application. These documents can be certified by a Justice of the Peace, Police Officer, Court Registrar or Lawyer.

    Your official transcript sent to you by your Tertiary Education Provider need to either be certified (as above) or verified by the faculty at your Tertiary Education Provider.

    Who Can Verify my Documents?

    Any Justice of the Peace, Court Registrar, Lawyer or Police Officer can verify your documents. Most Tertiary Providers have JP’s who visit campuses weekly. These certified copies must then be scanned an uploaded to your application in PDF format. If you have had a statutory name change by deed poll, please provide the proof by scanning this document together with your New Zealand Driver's License or Student Identification Card

    My Passport is Expired

    ACE will still accept an expired passport as it still provides proof of citizenship. Usually this would not have expired more than 5 years ago. If your passport has expired longer than 5 years prior, you will need to supply ACE with a Full New Zealand Birth Certificate.

  • Employer Interview & Selection Criteria

    Employers have 6 weeks to shortlist, interview and rank their graduates during each intake. Each employer is entirely responsible for this process in their organisation and each employer may perform this process differently. Be aware that ACE is not involved with this step of the process. As such, any queries relating to this period should be directed to the NETP and NESP coordinators at the employers applicants have applied to.

    Step 1) Employer interviews: Employers interview graduates. Note that each employer runs their own process and interviews may therefore occur at any time throughout the 6 week period.

    Step 2) Applicants may re-order their preferred employers if they wish: Based on information applicants receive during their interview, ACE recognises that applicants may wish to change the order in which they have preferenced their employers. Applicants have until Friday 30th June 2017 before the match is run to change their preferred employers. To do this, you must email ACE ( to request the change.

    Step 3) Employers shortlist and rank: Once interviews have been completed, employers shortlist their preferred graduates and rank them in preference order.

    Step 4) Employers submit rankings to ACE: At the end of the 6 week period employers must submit to ACE their final list of graduates in ranked order together with their number of NETP and NESP vacancies.

    Employers will use the contact information you provide in your ACE application to contact you for these interviews. Ensure your contact details are kept up to date. Remember, you can update your profile (including your contact details) even when applications have closed by logging into your profile. When interviewing it is a good idea to discuss with the employer their available specialties and the support offered for new Graduate Nurses, that way applicants can make a more informed decision regarding how best to order their preferred employers. Employers may manage their time differently during this period. As such, some applicants may be contacted very early in the 6 week process while others may not be contacted until much later in this timeframe. This is not a reflection on the applicant! Employers may interview differently. Some may hold panel interviews and others may hold one-on-one interviews while larger employers may choose to run an assessment centre to consider all of their applicants.

    ACE are not involved in the employers short-listing process so we can’t tell you why you’ve not been invited to interview but your friend for example has. If you have questions during interview stage you will need to direct these to the NETP or NESP coordinators at the DHB. Their details are on our ACE website.

    Each employer has a different interview format. This is because employers run their interviewing process their own way and ACE are not privy to the individual processes of each employer. So be prepared that different employers may ask slightly different questions etc. So if your friend comes back and fills you in on everything they asked at interview, bear in mind they may ask very different questions at your interview.

    Also, remember that when you fill in your ACE application form, the address and email address details you enter are the details employers use to contact you and potentially send out your offer letters later in the process so ensure your information is accurate. If you change address after applications close you can still update your address information by emailing the ACE nursing email address and ACE will update the information on your behalf.


    • Applicants who meet the locally applied criteria are interviewed and employers can then use their own interview or assessment process to determine which graduates to employ from each of these sub sets.
    • Please note Not Everyone will be interviewed.
    • If you are not interviewed please do not call the ACE Consultant to ask why. They do not have this information. The ACE Consultant is not privy to the shortlist of applicants. This is an employer process.
    • Employers confirm their selections & rankings of applicants and submit these back to ACE along with a confirmed number of vacancies.

    Before your interview, always be prepared and expect the unexpected. Ask the interviewer about their vacancies and specialties FIRST. That way you know what their vacancies are BEFORE you tell THEM what specialties you really want. Remember that an employer can NOT ask you what other employers you have ranked or where you have ranked them in your preference order. Be conscious of your attire. I have heard of many applicants showing up to interviews with bare feet, hoodies, shorts and jandals. Please remember this is a PROFESSIONAL interview. You don’t need to go and hire a suit for it, but do dress professionally. Be on time! You can pretty much guarantee that if you’re late for your interview…you won’t get the job! Make sure you’re prepared. It’s as much an opportunity for you to ask them questions as it is for them to ask you. Remember, there is a wide variety of resources online to assist you with job interview techniques but first, your tertiary provider will have access to career coaches who have access to a wide range of tools to help you to become an expert.

  • Unsuccessfully Matched Applicants (National Talent Pool)

    The applications of unsuccessful graduates will automatically go into the national talent pool which is accessible to all employers, not just the employers you had originally ranked. It is anticipated that during each intake a number of positions may become available and these positions will be filled using applicants from this talent pool. Employers will continue to employ new graduates from the talent pool right up to the next recruitment round.

    Be Proactive

    If you are prepared to accept jobs with other employers that you had not initially ranked in your application you might like to write to the NETP or NESP coordinators of those organisations and let them know that you are on the talent pool and are prepared to work for them should a vacancy arise. The contact information for ACE employers can be found on the ACE nursing website. Employers can review the talent pool at any time and consider applicants when a vacancy arises. Smaller employers in more rural areas may be particularly pleased to hear from graduates prepared to work in their region. ACE recommends that you contact employers directly to highlight your interest in working with them particularly if you are prepared to move to an employer outside of the one you initially preferred within your application. If you are prepared to consider working in clinical areas outside of the ones you indicated within your application you may like to contact employers with an updated Cover Letter outlining this to them. Be mindful when making contact with NETP coordinators as they are often flooded with enquiries and are also busy with other aspects of their roles. Be as courteous as possible when contacting them and be very clear about your message and the reason why you are calling them or emailing; do not waffle or come across vague.

    Options Outside of ACE

    ACE recommends that you also visit the Kiwi Health Jobs website, the careers pages of employers and alternatively job boards such as Seek or TradeMe to research the nursing job market. This can be useful for a number of reasons. You will gain an insight into the culture of the hospitals you are thinking about applying to and usually job or position descriptions will be attached to each job number outlining the requirements, skill and experience required to fulfil a RN role. Furthermore this will give you an insight into the areas of practice that each hospital specialises in. It would be helpful for you to research or review these before you make your application. You will usually find that employers advertise for RN’s with 2 or more years of experience. Do not be discouraged, if you are vigilant you will come across vacancies where employers are looking for new graduates to fill positions alongside HCA’s, EN’s and experienced RN’s. Finally, there are other graduate programmes that exist outside of the NETP programme. You need to research these for yourselves; they usually exist in private hospitals and some leading aged residential care facilities. You may, for example, be able to find positions within Primary Health, Aged Residential Care, Community Care or Private Surgical Hospitals that are not necessarily covered by the NETP programme. To do this you would need to contact and apply directly to these service providers for any positions they may have available.

    Offers from the Talent Pool

    If you are subsequently offered a job from the talent pool you must inform ACE immediately as your details will need to be updated and removed from the talent pool. Alternatively, if you are approached by an employer who has taken your name from the talent pool and you choose not to interview or accept a position with that employer (i.e. because you are unable to move to their region), this will not mean you are removed from the talent pool or for any other vacancies that may arise. Declining a position on the national talent pool will have no impact on an applicant’s eligibility to remain within the national talent pool. Applicants will only be removed from the intake if they decline a match offer during the initial match process. As such, should a graduate be approached via the national talent pool by an employer which they are unable to accept a position from, ACE will not remove their application from the intake. The Talent Pool for the intake you applied to is available right up until the national talent pool for the subsequent intake is made available. For the Mid-Year 2018 intake the talent pool is open from 19th July - 26th October 2018. The End of Year 2018 Talent Pool is open from 23rd November - 28th June 2019.

    Reapply to ACE Nursing

    All re-applicants who still meet the eligibility criteria must login to the ACE nursing website with their existing user name and password. On the right hand panel you will see 'Applications for Nursing are open' start your new application. All re-applicants need to click and commence their application as though applying for the first time.

    Your previous referee details will be retained in your new application. If you would like to change referees, you must contact ACE on 0800 223 236. A new reference request with unique ID will be sent to the referee outlining the next steps and the reference due date. Your referee must complete your reference report form by the time applications close. Your previous certified academic transcript will be uploaded to your new application. If there are additions to your results since you last application, you can upload this new transcript. Note only academic transcripts that meet the requirements outlined in the application requirements section of the site will be able to be attached to your application.

    To check the eligibility criteria and the full ACE Nursing process further, download the Applicant Guide in the ACE Resources section. If you have further questions about re-applying, or about the talent pool, you should contact ACE to discuss this further calling 0800 223 236 or emailing

    Advice Summary

    • Contact employers directly to highlight your interest in working with them particularly if you are prepared to move to an employer outside of the one you initially preferred within your application. It is recommended you contact the NETP or NESP coordinator by email to outline your interest in working with them as soon as possible.
    • If you are prepared to consider working in clinical areas outside of the ones you indicated within your application you may like to contact employers with an updated Cover Letter outlining this to them.
    • Search for private positions via Kiwi Health Jobs, Seek or TradeMe. Research employer career pages for further insight.
    • Ensure you are aware of when applications for the next intake open and that you understand the eligibility criteria so you can re-apply. Dates for the 2017/18 intakes can be found here.
    • Re-apply to ACE when the next intake opens.
  • Change Employer Preferences

    To change your Employer Preferences, you must log-in to your profile before the closing date to edit your preferences. If you would like to update the ranking order of your employer preferences or remove an employer after the date that the ACE applications close, you must email ACE at before 9am, 2nd July 2018.

    Your email should read...

    Full Name

    ACE Application Number #ABC123XYZ

    Dear ACE,

    Re: Employer Preference Change

    Please change the ranking order of my Employer Preferences.


    1. DHB X
    2. DHB Y
    3. DHB Z

    New Ranking Order

    1. DHB Z
    2. DHB Y
    3. DHB X

    Yours Sincerely,

    Full Name

  • Contact ACE

    ACE Centre Hours: 8am - 4.30pm
    Free Phone: 0800 223 236
    Fax: 09 623 4644
    FaceBook: ACE Nursing
    YouTube: ACE Nursing
    Postal: PO Box 112147, Penrose, Auckland 1642

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