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Find answers here to frequently asked questions about careers in the trades and services.
  • What is an ITO?

    An Industry Training Organisation (ITO) makes it easy to learn on-the-job. They work with industries to develop national skill standards and tertiary qualifications, including national certificates, apprenticeships and diplomas.

    An ITO develops and administers on-the-job training, providing a structured framework and support for both the employer and learner throughout the entire process.

    The training itself is delivered by the employer (on-the-job) and an education provider (off-the-job). An independent assessor is also required to evaluate the learner.

  • How do I get started?

    On-the-job training requires you to find a job in an industry covered by an ITO, as well as an employer who is willing to invest in your training.


    Talk to your careers advisor about the trades and services that you're interested in. They should be able to identify the skills you need to develop and map out the steps you need to take. You should also set-up work experience with relevant local businesses.


    You'll find a broad range of ads for apprentices and trainees on major job search engines like and 
    To improve your chances of success, try following our tips on how to choose a career and how to get a job.

    If you're already employed

    Check whether your industry is covered by an ITO. And, ask your employer whether he or she would consider investing in on-the-job training. An ITO should be able to provide all the relevant information and discuss the benefits with your employer.

  • How much does it cost?

    On-the-job training is government subsidised and the remainder is often paid for by your employer. You may have to pay for course-related costs, such as training materials. However, this can vary between the different ITO's and the individual training agreements.

  • How long does it take?

    The length of on-the-job training varies, depending on the industry, the qualification and your own progress. It could be anything from a few weeks, to a few years.

  • What qualifications can I get?

    On-the-job training covers all levels of the New Zealand Qualifications Framework, but maintains a strong focus on level 1-4, which includes national certificates and apprenticeships. Diplomas are also offered across some trades and services.

  • What are the benefits?
    Earn and learn

    On-the-job training provides an opportunity for you to enter into paid employment, while working towards a tertiary qualification.

    Be debt free and independent

    While other people are saddled with course fees and student loans, you'll be earning a wage and getting a head-start towards financial independence. 
    In 2014, the average student debt was NZ$24,405, according to the New Zealand Union of Student Associations.

    Be qualified

    On-the-job training is tertiary education. It's simply an alternative route to the same destination. Instead of sitting in a classroom, you'll be studying for a tertiary qualification at work.

    Be highly employable

    Universities used to be seen as a passport to success. Now, the perception is that you need a degree just to get a job. What you really need are marketable skills. 
    Employers are looking for relevant education and experience. On-the-job training is developed for industry and delivered by industry. So, the skills you gain are current, relevant and in demand.

    Be highly mobile

    On-the-job qualifications can take you anywhere in the world. The 2014 Talent Shortage Survey, conducted by Manpower Group, shows that engineers, technicians and skilled trades are among the top-five jobs employers have difficulty filling. Globally, skilled trades are the highest in demand.

    Build a career

    There are genuine long-term career prospects for bright, young, motivated people in New Zealand's trades and services. Once you're qualified, you can move through the ranks to supervisor or manager. You can also start your own business.

  • What is on-the-job training?

    On-the-job training (also known as trade or industry training) is tertiary education delivered in the workplace. Instead of sitting in a classroom, you're studying towards a tertiary qualification at work.

    You'll need to complete on-the-job assessments to show that you're competent performing practical tasks. There's also a theory component. So, you may be required to attend short courses provided by a polytechnic or other education provider.

  • What are manual skills?

    Manual skills are related to work where you use your hands.

  • What are trades and services?

    Trades and services typically refer to jobs that require manual skills and on-the-job training.