Apprenticeships & trades

An apprenticeship enables you to ‘earn while you learn’ which means you are being paid while getting skills and qualifications. There are hundreds of different types of apprenticeships in New Zealand in trades such as: construction, automotive, butchery, hairdressing, health care, marine, agriculture, sports or fitness, tourism and engineering.

While being employed as an apprentice, you work towards gaining a Level 4 NZ certificate in your chosen trade. Your training takes between two to four years and is overseen by an ITO (Industry Training Organisation) to ensure that your practical and theory work meets national standards.

From 1 July 2020, training for all NZ apprenticeships will be free until December 2022: Free Trades Training 

Preparing for an apprenticeship while at school

  • Try to gain some relevant skills in the trade you are interested in (Gateway and STAR courses can be a great way of doing this or studying a relevant subject offered by your school).
  • Work towards gaining your full NZ Driver’s Licence, preferably manual (at least Restricted).
  • Gain some relevant work experience (paid or unpaid) through family, friends or school contacts. At very least, spend a day shadowing a qualified tradesperson to find out what the job is like.
  • Prepare a good CV that clearly states your career goal (your desire to gain an apprenticeship), your skills and attributes.
  • For construction trades, if possible complete First Aid and Site Safety courses.

How to get an apprenticeship

Finding an apprenticeship involves you finding an employer who is willing to take you on and train you up. Most vacancies are not advertised, so you may need to take the following action to find a job:

  • Talk to family, friends and your school about possible opportunities.
  • Make contact yourself directly with local employers in trades of interest. Yellow Pages can be a good place to start. Phone to see if they are looking for anyone, drop off your CV and even drop in to introduce yourself.
  • Make a good impression on a potential employer through a Gateway or STAR placement.
  • Offer to do some work experience to showcase your skills to a local employer who may be looking for an apprentice.

Other options

Some ITOs help students find apprenticeships, especially if you have done trades-relevant credits and a work placement while at school (E.g. MITO and BCITO).

Other organisations will employ you as an apprentice and mentor you throughout your training, such as:

  • ETCO (electrical)
  • ATT (plumbing, gasfitting, electrical and drainlaying)
  • Masterlink (plumbing, gasfitting and drainlaying)

Useful information on apprenticeships