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Thinking of becoming a rigger?

Awesome! We’ve got the info you need right here.

Why become a rigger?

Start your career with no student loan

Earn a wage from day one, and finish your apprenticeship without a massive loan hanging over your head!

Work that suits your lifestyle

Work outdoors instead of being stuck in the same office all day. As your career grows, you’ll have more freedom and flexibility in your schedule to fit in more time for the things that matter, such as family, hobbies, and interests.

A variety of experiences

No two days are the same! You’ll get the chance to work on a wide range of jobs throughout your career.

What do riggers do?

Riggers can be seen in large building sites across New Zealand, using complex rigging systems to transport large items into place. It’s a highly skilled job that plays a vital role in making sure buildings and structures are constructed safely and smoothly.

Riggers are responsible for safely setting up and controlling the movement of loads, which are usually suspended, over distance. You will operate a variety of hoisting devices and rigging equipment. It’s a great career choice if you enjoy working at heights.

On any given day you could be:

  • Preparing and operating an elevated work platform (EWP)
  • Assessing and preparing the worksite
  • Using and maintaining rigging hand tools
  • Setting up and taking down height safety systems
  • Developing plans to keep people safe when working at height

By the numbers

Length of training

Training to become a rigger takes approximately 3-5 years


Annual average earnings in the rigging sector were $61,400 in 2015

This was $5,400 higher than average annual earnings in New Zealand ($56,000)

Source: Careers.govt.nz

Job outlook

The nationwide construction boom means there is a high demand for skilled riggers.

Around 200 new people are needed in the rigging sector by 2020. This equates to 45 people needing to fill construction rigger jobs each year

Source: Skills/Infometrics

Industry training

As a rigging trainee, you’ll be working, learning, and earning money at the same time. You’ll work closely with experienced people at your company to learn everything you need to become a qualified rigger.

During your training, you’ll learn the skills you need to become a rigger in two ways:

On-job learning

This is the practical learning side of your training. Someone at your company will teach you the tasks you’ll carry out in your day-to-day work, and you will be assessed on how well you can do these tasks.

Off-job learning

This is the theory learning side of your training, where you’ll be studying different topics throughout your training to support the skills you learn on the job.

Where can I go?

To become a fully qualified rigger, you will first need to find employment with a rigging company that will train you up. You will gain nationally recognised training in rigging.

After you get your Level 3 certificate, you can do further study and get qualified to Level 5. This will allow you to do more advanced, specialised rigging jobs, opening up your career opportunities.

As you become more experienced, you’ll be able to progress to higher-level roles, such as foreperson or supervisor.

Is it for me?

There are some basic skills which will help you go far in your career as a rigger. You should be:

Responsible and well-organised

Comfortable with heights

Happy working outdoors in any weather

Reasonably fit, with good hand-eye coordination, hearing, and eyesight (with or without glasses)

Good at communicating with others

Flexible with working hours, as evening, weekend and on call is sometimes required

Patient and observant