Free apprenticeships and traineeships


All apprenticeships, plus traineeships* in targeted areas, are free from 01 July 2020 to 31 December 2022, even for those currently enrolled in training, under the Government’s Targeted Training and Apprenticeship Fund (TTAF).

* Fees free traineeship funding may differ depending on training delivery. Please speak to your Competenz training advisor or account manager on the programme and mode of delivery.

Fees Free will be reinstated from 1 January 2023. This policy funds participation in tertiary education, covering up to 24 months of industry training or up to $12,000 of fee payments (GST included) per eligible learner.

Note that any new enrolments for learners who are not New Zealand citizens or residence-class visa holders (with some exceptions), will not be eligible for tuition subsidies for work-based learning. TTAF has no impact on a Fees Free eligible learner’s entitlement. Learners should refer to the Fees Free website to check their eligibility. See below for a step-by-step video on how to check eligibility.

We presently have limited information available to us from the Tertiary Education Commission (TEC) regarding the status of current learner eligibility and consumption under the Fees Free scheme. We will be contacting our employers with further updates when it is made available.

Fees Free FAQs
How do I find out if my current learner is eligible for Fees Free in 2023? 

Check the 2023 learner and programme eligibility criteria for work-based learning.

The Tertiary Education Commission (TEC) also has a tool available for learners to check their eligibility using their NSN.

We will send you correspondence regarding an update on your learner’s eligibility when it is available. If you believe the information we have regarding your learner’s eligibility is incorrect, please contact TEC.

I am considering taking on a new learner. How do I find out if they are eligible for Fees Free in 2023? 

Note there are specific residency and prior study and training criteria for work-based learning that starts in 2023. Read more about the eligibility criteria here

The TEC also has a tool available for learners to check their eligibility using their NSN.

What happens if I have a learner currently enrolled in a programme funded under The Targeted Trades and Apprenticeship Fund (TTAF) that runs into 2023?

TTAF covers your fees for training between 1 July 2020 and 31 December 2022. If your learner is still training in the programme after 31 December 2022, you’ll need to pay fees for that part of the training. We’ll send you an invoice for the period after 1 January 2023.  

Is the eligibility criteria for TTAF the same as Fees Free?

The eligibility for TTAF is broader than the Fees Free scheme. TTAF is finishing 31 December 2022. It is available even if you have already trained in tertiary levels 3-7 previously. TTAF is to encourage tertiary qualified people to change careers and retrain in targeted programmes, as well as covering the fees of all eligible programmes for trainees in levels 2-7.  


Fees Free funding is attached to an individual learner, whilst TTAF is attached to targeted programmes.   


Click here for more info on how TTAF interacts with Fees Free.

Where can I find the latest updates?

We will endeavour to keep the FAQs on this webpage as current as possible. The Fees Free website is a good resource for learners. The TEC website is continuously updated and is a good resource for employers. 

What if I am already enrolled in training or have employees that are enrolled?

There is no paperwork to complete if you are enrolled in any apprenticeship or an eligible traineeship in the sectors listed above. Your fees will be automatically covered from 01 July 2020 to 31 December 2022.

Am I eligible for a refund for provider/trainer training fees for TTAF eligible programmes?

Find out if you are eligible to claim reimbursement for fees you have paid to a trainer or provider for TTAF eligible programmes.

What if my fees are already covered by the Government’s pre-existing fees-free scheme?

No problem, for all eligible programmes your fees will now be automatically covered from 01 July 2020 to 31 December 2022 by TTAF.

What are the targeted sectors eligible for free traineeships?

TTAF covers level 3 to 7 New Zealand Certificate targeted traineeships and micro credentials in these sectors:

Manufacturing, Engineering and Technology
  • Manufacturing Engineering

  • Food and Beverage Processing

  • Fire Protection

  • Printing

  • Signmaking

  • Packaging

  • Textile Making

  • Plastics Processing Technology

  • Footwear Making

  • Wood Machining and Turning

  • Cabinet Making

  • Furniture Upholstery and Renovation

  • Furniture Polishing

  • Manufacturing Engineering and Technology not elsewhere classified.

Process and Resources Engineering
  • Wood Based Manufacturing

  • Pulp and Paper

  • Materials Engineering

  • Ceramics, Industrial Glass and Rubber Manufacturing

  • Food (excluding Seafood) Processing Technology

  • Cellar ops

  • Painting and Coatings

  • Process and Resources Engineering not elsewhere classified.

Mechanical and Industrial Engineering and Technology
  • Mechanical Engineering

  • Industrial Engineering

  • Toolmaking

  • Metal Fitting, Turning and Machining

  • Sheetmetal Working

  • Boiler-making and Welding

  • Metal Casting and Pattern Making

  • Precision Metalworking

  • Plant and Machine Operations

  • Mechanical and Industrial Engineering & Technology not elsewhere classified

  • Refrigeration, Heating and Air Conditioning.

  • Forestry

  • Silviculture and Harvesting

  • Solid Wood Processing

  • Wood based Manufacturing.

The fund also covers level 2 New Zealand Certificate targeted traineeships in these sectors:

Food and Beverage Processing






Wood Manufacturing

General FAQs
How do I sign up for free training?

If you are not already in an apprenticeship or industry training, check out our website to find out about industries that interest you. You will need to be in paid employment before starting on an apprenticeship. We have exciting opportunities available now on our job board.

If you are currently employed as an apprentice or doing a traineeship in one of our targeted sectors, then your fees will be automatically covered.

How do I sign up my employees for free training?

To sign up new learners, please contact our customer service team on 0800 526 1800 or use the form below.

Need help with recruitment?

We have great candidates looking for roles now. Let us help you find a fees-free apprentice or trainee today. Use the form below to get started.

What if I've already paid training costs?

Use the form below to confirm your eligibility for reimbursements and instructions on submitting your claims.

Download the brochure
(PDF, 432 KB)
What happens once TTAF ends?
Check here for up-to-date FAQs
(PDF, 39 KB)