A career in

Do you want to play a part in making sure New Zealand continues building great homes and offices?

Plumbers play a very important role in making sure all Kiwis have clean drinking water on tap, and that waste is taken away safely and efficiently from homes. They ensure the right water, gas, and waste systems are in place in buildings across the country.

You’ll begin your plumbing career as an apprentice, and from there, you have a world of opportunities open to you. You could be a project manager supervising a team, passing on your skills as a trainer, or even starting your own business.

Becoming a plumber is a great way to start a long-term career, where you learn life-long skills while supporting New Zealand’s economy. The job is constantly in demand, well paid, and rewarding.

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Length of apprenticeship

4 years of training is required. You’ll learn the skills you need to become a plumber in two ways: practical learning and classroom learning

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From 1st January 2018, the cost per week to study plumbing or a combination of trades is:

Plumbing & Drainlaying - $54.20 per week (incl GST)

Plumbing, Drainlaying & Gasfitting - $54.20 per week (incl GST)

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Block Courses

Block courses are designed to complement your practical learning. They give you a theory-based understanding of your chosen trade.

Block courses are one week in duration. Here's a breakdown of the number of block courses per programme:

Plumbing and Drainlaying: 12-14 block courses

Plumbing, Gasfitting and Drainlaying: 15-18

How you'll be helping your employer
As an apprentice, you’ll be learning heaps while earning a wage at the same time. But did you know that you’re not the only one who benefits?

Apprentices play an important role in New Zealand’s economy and in businesses both large and small. By becoming an apprentice, you’ll be bringing value to your employer by:
  • Providing extra hands on deck.
    Providing extra hands on deck.

    Tradies are busy people! Your employer will appreciate having another tradie on board to help out with their list of jobs.

  • Introducing fresh ideas and energy.
    Introducing fresh ideas and energy.

    A fresh pair of eyes can really help any business. Your unique attitudes and skills will help expand your employer’s ways of thinking and working.

  • Keeping them up to date with the latest industry standards.
    Keeping them up to date with the latest industry standards.

     As your employer trains you up, they’ll stay on top of the latest standards, keeping their business up-to-date with a changing industry.

  • Helping them train tomorrow's tradies.
    Helping them train tomorrow's tradies.

    You’re part of the “next generation” of tradies, making sure New Zealand continues to have a highly skilled trades workforce, well into the future.

Tips to get a job
Keen to become a plumber? Great choice!
The first step is to find an employer who will take you on as an apprentice and offer you a job. Here are some key tips to think about as you look for an employer.
  • Have you got the basic skills covered?

    Like any job, there are some basic skills that are very handy to have before you start as a plumber. These include:

    • Having a manual drivers licence
    • Reading designs, plans, and instructions
    • Using hand tools
    • Soldering and welding skills

    Showing you already have these skills can make a good first impression on potential employers and help you get the job.

    But don’t worry if you haven’t mastered all of these yet – most employers will be happy to train you up on any gaps you have.

  • Writing a winning CV

    Your CV is probably the most important document in your search for an employer and a job. Make sure you write a CV that showcases your best skills and grabs the employer’s attention. Here are some tips for a winning CV:

    • Keep it short. Try to stick to one page, up to a maximum of two.
    • Put the employer first. Step into their shoes and think: what does the perfect apprentice look like? How will they help my business? Make sure you match your CV’s content with the skills the employer is looking for – job ads will give you a big clue here.
    • Personalise it. Don’t take the same CV to every employer. Take the time to tailor your CV to each different employer, reflecting the specific skills and attributes they’re looking for.
    • Triple-check it for errors! Even the smallest typo or grammar mistake can put off an employer. Read through your CV several times before printing it off, and have friends or family check it too.
  • Searching for employers

    Right, you’ve got your CV sorted – now it’s time to find an employer who will offer you a job.

    If you think about it, there are heaps of places you can look. Here are some suggestions:

    • Go on job websites such as Seek and TradeMe jobs
    • If you’re still at school, visit your careers advisor to see if they know of any openings
    • Use your network! Ask friends, family, community groups you’re part of, your sports club, and other connections. You might be able to find a tradie who is looking to take on an apprentice
    • Go the old-fashioned way and door-knock. Whip out the Yellow Pages, look for plumbing companies in your area, and go visit them – they’ll appreciate your proactive attitude
  • Meeting employers: Putting your best foot forward

    If an employer has said they’re interested in talking to you – well done! Now’s your real chance to impress.

    Remember that even the most casual, laid-back trades company is still a business. That means you have to act professional and make a strong first impression if you want the job.

    If you have limited experience talking to business owners and managers, here are some quick tips to impress them:

    • Show up on time. If you’ve made an appointment to meet with a company, arrive a few minutes early, or at least on time.
    • Body language matters. Employers don’t just listen to the words you say – they also look for “cues” in your body language. Sit and stand up straight and look confident. Make good eye contact when addressing them. Offer a firm handshake when you first meet them. The little things do count!
    • Dress for success. We don’t expect you to rock up wearing a suit and tie, but you should still make an effort to look tidy. A smart shirt, pants, and pair of shoes with well-groomed hair is enough for employers to take you seriously.
    • Be polite and professional. Remember, you could potentially be talking to someone who could be your boss for the next four years (or more). No matter what you talk about, stay polite and act professional at all times.
Need more information?
Plumbing qualifications: (Plumbing will no longer be offered as a stand-alone qualification, but will be studied alongside drainlaying, or both drainlaying and gasfitting.)
Licences renewal