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Fees Free Apprenticeships

With the introduction of the Government's Fees Free policy on 1 January 2018,  you may be eligible for Free Fees for 2 years of your apprenticeship. Find out more

A BCITO apprenticeship is the beginning of something great – your career as a qualified professional. All you need to begin is a job, a driver licence and a great attitude.

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Why choose building and construction?

A career in building and construction is a safe bet – earn good money creating things to be proud of.

Watch BCITO apprentices talk about why they chose building and construction.

Business is really booming

For the first time since its inception, the 2018 National Construction Pipeline Report did not forecast a boom followed by a bust. Instead, residential building value is expected to hold steady over the next six years, before increasing to a high of $26.6 billion in 2023. The report shows building consents for new dwellings will increase year-on-year to a high of 43,100 in 2023. 

Growth from 2021 to 2023 is expected to be over $41b - an NZ record. Qualified tradespeople are in high demand. 

Career prospects are rock solid

According to the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE), career prospects in building and construction look fantastic. There’s increased demand for qualified professionals, and a shortage of people to meet that demand. Compared to other careers, the cost to get a trade qualification is low while the job prospects are high. Once you’re qualified there are opportunities to gain more responsibility (and higher pay) as a manager, contractor or business owner.

Make things you can be proud of

Working in building and construction is rewarding – at the end of the day you can look back over what you’ve done and know “I made that”. You can challenge yourself to be a true craftsman while working on some incredible sites around New Zealand.

“What you achieve on a building site ... it’s so visual. It’s the enjoyment of transforming a house. Very rewarding." Vince Troake, director, Troake wall and ceiling specialists

An extra $100K extra in your pocket

Four years after gaining a qualification, a graduated apprentice could be over $100K better off than a university graduate. Apprentices earn a wage as they go, so they don't end up with massive student debt. That equals half a house in many parts of the country – or a bathroom in Auckland.

Free fees for 2 years of your apprenticeship

The Government’s fees-free policy came into effect on 1 January 2018. So, if you’re thinking of enrolling in a building and construction apprenticeship, you may be eligible to have the first 2 years of your training fees paid for by the Government.

Find out about Fees Free

A diverse range of trade choices

The building and construction industry requires a diverse range of skilled professionals to make it tick. There’s plenty of room for you to specialise in your trade of choice.

Why do an apprenticeship?

An apprenticeship sets you up for a career as a qualified trade professional. All you need to get started is a job – you don't have to go to polytech.

Hear about the career aspirations of BCITO apprentices once they're qualified.

Turn your job into a professional career

Being qualified is a big tick in the right box. It confirms that your skills are at the level that industry expects. Vince Troake, director, Troake wall and ceiling specialists

If you’re already working as labourer, make more of it by doing an apprenticeship. Gain a professional qualification to recognise skills you’re learning on the job anyway – and open up opportunities for greater responsibility and pay in the future.

Build your career directly from school

Vocational pathway programmes (like Gateway) can help you gain credits towards a qualification by doing some theory work while you're still at school. You may also be able to put any relevant NCEA credits you have towards a qualification. You can start your apprenticeship as soon as you have a job.

Earn while you learn

An apprenticeship is a cost effective way to earn a qualification because you’ll earn while you train – you won’t be left with a hefty student loan at the end. Your wage will increase as you progress through your qualification.

Expert training advisors will keep you on track

In an apprenticeship you get mentored by your employer. An experienced BCITO training advisor will check in regularly to make sure you’re mastering your trade.

Gain a professional qualification without sitting in a classroom

If you learn better by doing, then an apprenticeship will suit you. While some theory is involved, most assessment is based on what you do on the job each day. Depending on the trade, you’ll spend a good deal of time outdoors and working with your hands.

Free fees for 2 years of your apprenticeship

The Government’s fees-free policy came into effect on 1 January 2018. So, if you’re thinking of enrolling in a building and construction apprenticeship in 2018, you may be eligible to have your first 2 years of training fees paid by the Government.

Find out about Fees Free

Start Here

We can help you get work ready and into an apprenticeship.

Join myBCITO

How do I get into an apprenticeship?

You can start an apprenticeship in your current trade job or directly from school. You need a current job in your trade of choice and a driver licence. There are no other entry requirements but it helps to have some background knowledge, work experience and your own transport. A pre-trade qualification can be helpful but it's not necessary.

Find out what you need to do to become an apprentice with BCITO.

Find a job

You need a job to start an apprenticeship. Start by checking out our employment tips, or complete our work profile form so we can help match you with a suitable employer.

Get your driver licence

Your boss may need you to go buy nails, or fetch milk for smoko. A restricted is fine to begin with. It's crucial that you keep your driver licence clean. Learn more about how to get a driver licence.

Vocational pathways

The Vocational Pathways are a framework to guide young people through education to employment. They help students and prospective employers tailor their NCEA level 2 studies to the skills required in a particular industry, such as construction and infrastructure.

Starting in secondary school

Subjects like design technology, English and maths are important for a career in the building and construction industry.

If you’re in Year 11 or 12, you can do a National Certificate in Building, Construction and Allied Trades Skills (levels 1 and 2) through the BConstructive programme. The Gateway programme is also a good starting point, if your school offers it.


Gateway is a free programme that allows Year 11-13 students to get practical workplace training while they’re still in school so they can make informed decisions about their future career paths. Students can gain NCEA assessment standards to recognise the skills they learn on the job.

Sign up with BCITO

Once you’ve got a job and you have your employer’s permission, Contact BCITO to sign up for an apprenticeship. We’ll get the paperwork sorted so you can take the first step towards becoming a qualified professional.

What it costs and how long it takes

Doing an apprenticeship is a lot cheaper than other forms of study, because you earn a wage while learning on site. The cost of your apprenticeship depends on your choice of trade. Check out our trade options for a specific cost breakdown for your preferred trade qualification.

Free fees for 2 years of your apprenticeship

The Government’s fees-free policy came into effect on 1 January 2018. So, if you’re thinking of enrolling in a building and construction apprenticeship in 2018, you may be eligible to have your first 2 years of training fees paid by the Government.

Find out about Fees Free

How much are the fees?

Most BCITO trade qualifications cost $2000-$4000 in total. These fees are made up of an annual fee for each year you’re in training.

If you are required to attend off-job training, these fees are invoiced separately and are not included in the annual fees stated above.

What the fees cover

The fees cover:

  • Your workbooks and BCITO learning resources

  • Your BCITO training advisor's time, which includes:

    • mentoring

    • assessments

    • site visits (four per year)

    • progress reporting

When do I need to pay?

Fees are charged annually on the day you sign up. You can pay the full amount due upfront or pay by regular instalment via direct debit. This is put in place when you sign your training agreement. Unpaid fees may result in your training agreement being cancelled, or you could be referred to a credit agency for collection.

Who pays what?

It's important to discuss payment of your BCITO fees with your employer before you begin your apprenticeship. Some employers will pay a portion of the fees upfront and have their apprentices pay them back. Others will expect you to pay the fees yourself.

How long will an apprenticeship take?

The length of your apprenticeship depends on the range of skills you can learn with your employer, and how quickly you master them. The average length of time is 3-4 years. It is common to change employers to gain the necessary skills to complete your apprenticeship.

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What it's really like on the job

All building and construction jobs require you to work hard and take on a range of responsibilities. Show that you're professional and hardworking from day one to take your career far.

What's expected of you

As as an apprentice you'll be expected to:

  • start early or finish late (depending on the job)

  • work on large long-term projects or small repair jobs

  • travel to various job sites

  • work outside and inside

  • stick to deadlines

  • work in noisy or dirty conditions

  • work at heights or in confined spaces

  • follow health and safety guidelines

  • concentrate for extended periods of time

  • be accurate – other tradespeople rely on your measurements or quantities

  • work both on your own and as part of a team

  • listen and communicate well

  • be comfortable with tools and machinery

  • maintain your tools

Your employer is your teacher

You need your employer's permission to do an apprenticeship. Your employer will train you as you earn a wage working. They'll ensure your work is up to standard and make sure you master the skills you need to gain your professional qualification. Some employers may require you to do a trial period before they will take you on as an apprentice.

A good apprentice is:

  • motivated to learn

  • professional and reliable

  • determined

  • consistent

  • proud of their good work

Practical training with some bookwork on the side

When you begin your apprenticeship, you’ll receive a set of self-paced workbooks with modules related to your practical work onsite. Depending on the trade, you might also go to block courses during your apprenticeship.

Training advisors keep you on track

You’ll have a BCITO training advisor (TA) during your apprenticeship. Your TA will regularly meet with you onsite to:

  • ensure you're getting quality training

  • keep track of what you're learning (and inform you of any potential gaps)

  • assess your competency

  • record your assessment results with NZQA

How assessment works

Assessments are based on evidence of practical skills and discussions with your BCITO training advisor. Assessments may require more than one attempt to complete. You will:

  • receive a resource pack from BCITO, which includes workbooks and reference material

  • gather evidence (like photos) of your skills and record progress in your workbook

  • meet with your BCITO TA quarterly to check progress and assess what your skills

Start Here

We can help you get work ready and into an apprenticeship.

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Tips for getting a job

You need a job before you can start an apprenticeship – be well prepared to improve your chances. Join myBCITO to help get job ready, or possibly even be matched with an employer looking for an apprentice.

Be proactive

Speak to anyone who might help you get a foot in the door – family, friends, teachers or career advisors. Look at the job listings on Trade Me and Seek, or in your local newspaper.

Get whatever work experience you can

Do some summer work or labouring to gain experience and show future employers you’re motivated to work. Always ask for a reference when you finish a job.

Maintain a clean driver licence

Most employers need you to have a licence. It helps if you have your own vehicle and you’re comfortable backing a trailer.

Make a good CV

Include your NCEA Record of Achievement, any work experience you’ve had, and some references. Visit Careers New Zealand for some great tips on CV writing. If you’re still at school, ask your careers advisor for help.

Make the best of your job interview

A good apprentice should:

  • dress smartly
  • arrive on time
  • give clear answers
  • give a firm, confident handshake
  • make sure you say you want a career in the industry and that you want to do an apprenticeship.

Consider relocation

Keep your options open for relocation – at the moment there’s huge demand for apprentices in Auckland.

Contractor vs employee

Employees and contractors have different rights and responsibilities.  Health and Safety laws apply to employees and contractors. It is important to know and understand the obligations of each party.

Find out more about the definitions of being an Employee or a Contractor (Labour Only).

Start Here

We can help you get work ready and into an apprenticeship.

Join myBCITO


BCITO manages apprenticeships for people who want a career in building and construction. Check out detailed career, qualification, time and cost information for your trade of choice.

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