Free fees for apprenticeships


Most of the talk in the media about the Government’s new Fees Free initiative has been about school leavers intending to go to university, who will get one year’s free tuition fees.

However, not many employers in the construction sector realise this initiative extends to apprenticeships for not one, but two years.


Best reason to train an apprentice in 2018

Fees Free is a new Government scheme to encourage more New Zealanders into formal study, learning or training.

From January 1, 2018, industry training is fees-free for the first two years of an apprenticeship for eligible first-time learners and apprentices enrolling in eligible programmes, who begin their training in 2018.

Learners can begin their training at any time in 2018 and be eligible for the following 24 months free of fees. At the BCITO, this covers all fees associated with the first two years of an apprenticeship, including off-job training (if required), night classes, assessment fees and resources.


No financial input required to start

Two years of industry training may be possible with no financial input required from employers or apprentices if the apprentice is an eligible candidate enrolled in an approved programme.

This increased investment in industry training will help ensure current and future members of the workforce have the skills required to underpin sustainable growth and development in the construction industry, while also alleviating the skills shortages New Zealand is currently facing.

It goes without saying that this can only happen if employers are willing to take on more staff or train existing team members. The Fees Free scheme is the Government’s helping hand to employers in this regard.


Existing employees may be eligible

Employers who have staff working for them currently, who have never undertaken any formal post-secondary school training, may also qualify for fees free.

Although primarily aimed at school leavers, any New Zealander might be eligible. Some people on work visas may also be eligible.

A company’s reputation for quality work is underpinned by the skills of the people it employs. Now is the best opportunity employers will ever have to provide training and support, and upskill staff with the Government’s support.

Employers will be building a strong, capable and reliable team by providing staff with the opportunity to be proud to call themselves qualified professionals — a brilliant marketing tool for any business.


Growing people power

The Government’s Fees Free initiative might be an opportunity for employers to expand their company by taking on a new team member and train them to a professional standard, courtesy of the Government for the first two years.


Find out about eligibility

Prospective apprentices (or any third party) can use the learner’s NSN number to check eligibility online at

Find out more information about Fees Free for BCITO employers and trainees, including which BCITO programmes are approved, at


Do it now

Why wait any longer to start training? New Zealand is in the middle of the biggest boom there has ever been, so there will never be a better time than 2018.

For more information regarding Fees Free, or for help finding an apprentice, get in touch with the BCITO on 0800 422 486, or email

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