Steps to starting your apprenticeship
First you have to decide what industry you would like to start an apprenticeship in. You may already have a passion or hobby that you can use as a base to do an apprenticeship. That’s a great start.
It is a really good idea to talk to family and family friends and get their advice too. You also need to do some basic research here and make sure that the industry you are looking at has a future (and will not be closed down by new technology).
Apprenticeship training is organised by Industry Training Organisations (ITOs) and there are 11 of these in New Zealand. Some ITOs are huge, organising vocational training for thousands of young people, while a couple are one-industry specific groups that are quite small. Most ITOs offer New Zealand Apprenticeships, and all will feature this information on their websites.
So after deciding on what industry you would like to train in, you should explore the relevant ITO website and make contact with them. The ITO will be able to advise you if you can actually undertake an apprenticeship in that field and can outline to you the entry requirements you need to meet.
The most important requirement is that you actually need to have a job and an employer who is willing to take you on as an apprentice. In some cases, the ITO may be able to help you there too.
Apprenticeships are an ideal way to gain qualifications and to learn not just about the specific role, but actually how to work and how to interact with others in your workplace. They can be the best first step on a long and rewarding career path.
Finding that first apprenticeship step
- Finding a job is not a simple thing. It takes determination and focus; it takes planning too, and you can always use a little bit of luck. If you would like to work in a specific field – for example, building – then concentrate your search for work in the relevant field, construction in this case.
- Use all the avenues you can. Check through your local newspaper, search for positions online, look at relevant company websites, speak to family and friends.
- Don’t be afraid to contact potential employers directly - generally by email, with your CV and good covering letter - and ask if they might be looking to take on a New Zealand Apprentice.
- Contact the relevant Industry Training Organisation and let them know you are looking for a start.
Your training and employment agreements
- When you have found an employer who is willing to take you on as a New Zealand Apprentice, you usually sign two agreements with them. One is an employment agreement (relating to your job) and the other is an industry training agreement (relating to your training), which you develop with your employer and the relevant ITO.
- The ITO and your employer work out the appropriate training plan for you, and this will detail both your on-the-job and off-the-job training. Both will help take you to your qualification.
- Off-the job training can involve completing a relevant course or even qualification at a polytech, or other education provider. Your training plan is reviewed regularly by your ITO to ensure you are on track.