An apprenticeship is a system of training that allows for a new generation of practitioners. On-the-job training is often accompanied by some study, which allows the practitioner to gain a licence to practise in their chosen profession. 

As an apprentice you can earn money as you learn, gain professional and practical skills and gain a national certificate, depending on the programme and industry. 

In New Zealand, there is high demand for people to take up apprenticeships across a range of different industries. 

The Industry Training Federation recently profiled over 150 occupations in New Zealand as part of the ‘Got a trade? Got it made!’ campaign. Chief executive Josh Williams says that apprenticeships are no longer limited to traditional labour-intensive jobs such as building and carpentry. 

“Apprenticeships are offered in a much wider range of areas than people think – it extends into areas like cheffing, social work, printing and graphic design, aged care and hair and beauty,” says Josh. 

Government initiatives are also making it easier for employers, on small and large scales, to employ apprentices. Josh agrees that the schemes will both provide a much-needed boost to the number of people taking up apprenticeships.

‘Dole for apprenticeships’ is a great idea because you are taking on someone who would otherwise be on a jobseeker’s benefit and you are taking that money to support the employer. ‘Fees-free’ is for school leavers, [they] will get two years free under the plan the Government has announced. It’s great that the Government is reducing the cost of education post-school,” he says.  

The main benefit of apprenticeships is that you can complete your study while also earning a living.

Apprentice tiler Robbie Ferrick, who is employed by Wynands Masonry in Hawke’s Bay, agrees that there are many benefits to taking up an apprenticeship and believes that they offer a wide range of possibilities, especially when comparing them to other tertiary study.

“I studied before going into the workforce and that wasn’t for me. I’m a hands-on learner, which an apprenticeship is absolutely perfect for. Getting paid to learn is also a huge bonus as I will come out with little or no student loan,” he says. 

Josh agrees that the benefits of apprenticeships make it a good career option for both school leavers and those wishing to retrain. 

“For young people, right now, there is low unemployment and the economy is going strongly. There are lots and lots of industries screaming out for keen, bright young people so apprenticeships are a really good option to go and get stuck in.” 

For more information about apprenticeships, visit www.careers.govt.nz/courses/workplace-training-and-apprenticeships/new-zealand-apprenticeships.

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