Alert icon

The Customer Contact Group will be closed from 3.00pm today, Friday 22 September, reopening 8.30am Monday 25 September. Please email with any queries.


TEC AoG 18815 Plan Your Career Advice pages webtiles v4 Apprenticeships

Find out what New Zealand Apprenticeships involve, and who offers them.

What do New Zealand Apprenticeships involve?

New Zealand Apprenticeships teach you a trade such as:

  • building
  • engineering
  • hairdressing, barbering or beauty
  • agriculture or horticulture
  • tourism
  • sports or fitness.

As an apprentice, you:

  • work for, and learn from, an employer who supports you through your apprenticeship
  • complete practical, on-the-job assessments such as showing you can lay carpet
  • attend courses that are part of the apprenticeship such as block courses, evening courses and day-release classes
  • complete written assessments.

Benefits and costs of New Zealand Apprenticeships

Benefits of New Zealand Apprenticeships include:

  • earning at least the training minimum wage (employers often pay more as you become more skilled)
  • gaining technical, practical skills
  • gaining a Level 4 New Zealand Certificate when you complete the apprenticeship, which means you are likely to be paid more and have better work opportunities.
  • Employment NZ website - information about the training minimum wage

Support with costs of New Zealand Apprenticeships

If you’re doing tertiary study or trade training for the first time, you may be eligible for the equivalent of one year’s study or two years’ training paid through the Fees Free initiative.

How to become an apprentice - video

Find out what it takes to become a building apprentice - 1.54 mins

Scott Findlay: When it comes to getting into the industry, all you've got to have really is just, you know, a good work ethic and a good attitude to want to know get out there and get some skills, you know, and enjoy what you do.

Cody Webby: To get an apprenticeship there's quite a few essential things. One being, first of all, your licence. You may need to go down the road to get a couple of building supplies. You may even need to go down the road to get milk for smoko.

Desiree Turner: It's good to find a job that has a boss that's willing to take you on as an apprentice and put you through your apprenticeship.

Anna Clearwater: It's a good idea to stay in school until you're year 12 and take subjects like English and math and maybe design because those are all things that are going to help you towards your apprenticeship.

William Ellis: Update your CV, have all your credentials up-to-date and just show willingness to learn, and working hard is definitely a big thing.

Bill Harkness: I'd recommend going knocking on a few doors, giving people a few phone calls, and building companies out there, just asking for work experience in your spare time, school holidays, and that just gets to show people that you're sort of a motivated sort of person and that's just going to help you get your foot in the door at the end of the day.

Troy Matheson: Look in the phone book and ring every builder and don't stop till you find someone willing to take you on.

Cody Webber: Five years ago I could just dig a hole. Now I can pretty much build a house. It's a lot of commitment, hard work, show up on time, make sure you always turn up and commit yourself.

Cale Marshall: When you're ready to take on the next step you'll need to find an employer who's willing to train you. After that contact, the BCITO and get the apprenticeship started.

Can you do a New Zealand Apprenticeship?

To become a New Zealand Apprentice you must be over 16, but there is no upper age limit.

Each industry has different entry requirements, so check with the relevant provider.

Apprenticeship providers

Te Pūkenga and some private training establishments (PTEs) support work-based training (including apprenticeship training).

The Tertiary Education Commission (TEC) provides a complete list of apprenticeships and providers in the New Zealand Apprenticeship Register.

What qualification do you get on completing a New Zealand Apprenticeship?

When you complete your apprenticeship you receive a Level 4 New Zealand certificate in the area you studied. Examples include:

  • New Zealand Certificate in Seafood Processing (Level 4)
  • New Zealand Certificate in Automotive Electrical Engineering (Level 4).

What it's like to be a electrical apprentice – video

Opal Vickery, Nathan Graves and others talk about what it's like to be a electrical apprentice – 2.03 mins.

Opal Vickery: So my name is Opal. I am a qualified electrician. I work in the residential sphere for AB Electrical.

On a normal day, usually I’ll be up early in the morning, at our wholesaler, as soon as they open – that’s my kind of way to get into the environment, have a bit of banter, get my materials sorted for the day, it’s a kind of nice way to ease into it.

Nathan Graves: So when I started my apprenticeship, we did a two week block course where they taught us all the skills we needed, gave us a basic tool kit and just really taught us the fundamentals of being a good apprentice, being eager and having the right attitude from Day One

Jason Keremea: It’s amazing to have that extra support, it’s just so beneficial

Nathan: I’m learning so much from actually being able to be hands-on and everything I learn at night class, I can bring back here [on site] and fully understand it

Jason: The stuff that you learn, your eyes just become  wide open, it’s just really exciting

Leon Mepsted: Week to week I’m with my tradesmen so I’m learning everything from them on-job, on hand, and then everything at night class is covering the theory side of it, understanding what I’m actually doing and why I’m doing this.

ETCO and my co-ordinator, they worry about my apprenticeship side of things.

Ben Davis-Young: We did two weeks down in Ramarama, you’d go in the classroom, learn it, then you’d go to the workshop and do what you just learnt, so I think it was pretty good.

It’s a support network, you’ve got co-ordinators, tutors, Switched On [an Employee Assistance Programmme which provides assistance when you need it], you don’t have to go through the worry of finding a job, and they want you to achieve your apprenticeship.

Jackson Whaanga: We go through all our health and safety, toolbox meeting, and then I get put with a team lead and we go and do mahi around the worksite, wherever it’s needed.

I always wanted to do the big job, from the industrial side, it always interested me a lot more than just domestic. So I’m based at Fonterra at the moment, so I’ve been running out cable along the ladder, been putting up new light fittings around the silos, just to get a bit of light source around the work area.

Yeah it’s good to get into the electrical trade.


Apprenticeship Boost supports employers to take on apprentices

Apprenticeship Boost is a payment to help employers keep and take on new apprentices.

The payment is made directly to employers.

Apprenticeship Boost will run until the end of December 2024.

Updated 19 May 2023