An apprenticeship is how you learn a new trade, on the job. You get paid for the work you do and earn a qualification at the end of it. It’s an awesome way to reskill or upskill, so you can go further with your career. 

If you’ve ever dreamed of owning your own business, an apprenticeship can be a smart first step towards becoming your own boss. And your qualification will also be globally recognised, meaning you have the potential to find work all over the world. 

Who can do an apprenticeship?

Anyone can do an apprenticeship if they’re aged 16 or older. You might be leaving school, or you might be already working. You might even be able to train as an apprentice with your current employer. If you’re already working and have built up some skills, you can have them formally recognised as part of your training.

If you want to do an apprenticeship, you need to: 

  • Be a New Zealand citizen or resident OR
  • Be legally entitled to live and work in New Zealand for the duration of your training agreement period

You also need to hold a current driver licence.

No student loans

You don’t need to pay study fees as an apprentice, so you won’t need a student loan. That means no repayments - you can start earning to your full potential as soon as you’re qualified.

How long does an apprenticeship take?

It depends on how quickly your employer can teach you, how fast you learn and how committed you are. The average time is 3 to 4 years.

Do you need to get a job first?

You need to be employed in your chosen industry to start apprenticeship training. If you're not already in a job, we can help you find one. Check out our Find a Job page.

Are you already working?

Your current employer might let you do an apprenticeship. All they need is the right information about how to make it work. Read up on the information for employers here. It will help you reassure your boss that it’s a good idea for both you and them.

If you and your current boss think an apprenticeship is right for you, here's how it works:

  1. Contact us (use the chat bubble at the bottom right of the screen)
  2. We assign you a training advisor
  3. Work with your training advisor to sign up and start planning
  4. Start your on-the-job training
  5. Pass your unit standards
  6. Earn your trade qualification.

Are you still at school?

Do you think an apprenticeship is what you want to do in the future? There are a few things you can do to give yourself the best chance of success.

  • If you start after secondary school
    There are some subjects that teach you useful skills for your apprenticeship training. These include maths, English, science, workshop and design technology, physics, graphics, chemistry, or NCEA Level 1 and Level 2 engineering unit standards.
  • If you start after tertiary study
    You can do a pre-apprenticeship course at a polytechnic or a training company. This will set you up well for your training. This kind of study will be recognised by an employer. If you’ve achieved a minimum of 50 credits, it’s a good indication that you will do well in an apprenticeship.