New “fees-free” signmaking apprenticeship launched

signmaking apprenticeship

11 December 2018

A new apprenticeship programme for the signmaking industry will give workers the skills they need to succeed – and apprentices could qualify for two years of funding under the government’s “fees-free” scheme.

Industry training organisation Competenz has launched a new apprenticeship programme with optional strands in traditional signwriting, three-dimensional sign fabrication and digital signage.

It has been developed in partnership with leading Kiwi signmakers to ensure it is modern and practical.

Competenz Chief Executive Fiona Kingsford says: “The signmaking sector is a niche sector that is continuing to change and improve with the introduction of new technology and processes.

“The businesses we work with need talented people and our industry partners agree these new programmes are designed to foster that talent, now and in the future.”

Apprentices learn on-the-job and complete assessments over 3.5 to four years, gaining a New Zealand Certificate in Signmaking Level 4 and a formal New Zealand Apprenticeship.

Skilled workforce critical for success

A qualified workforce leads to greater efficiency, safety, productivity and profitability, Kingsford says. And it’s vital to meet predicted industry growth targets.

“There’s a lot of focus right now on New Zealand’s skills shortage. At Competenz our job is to support your workers to make sure they have the knowledge to work safely and that they’re gaining the qualifications they need for a successful career.”

Infometrics data shows that 1,900 people were employed in the signmaking sector in 2017 and more than 670 will be needed by 2022 to replace workers who retire or leave.

“More than 40% of people working in the sector have no post-school qualification, and we would like to see that number reduce,” Kingsford says.

“We also know that five years after enrolling in a qualification with Competenz, 75% of signmaking apprentices are likely to still be employed in the sector.”

On-the-job training without the fees

The government has made it more affordable for employers to train people on-the-job with two years fees-free industry training through Competenz.

This means the costs usually paid by employers, apprentices and trainees in the first two years is free for some people. Apprentices can check their eligibility at before signing a training agreement. 

The policy came into effect on 1 January 2018 and this year Competenz signed up 450 apprentices and trainees across a wide range of sectors who qualified for funding.

“There’s no better time to take on an apprentice,” Kingsford says. “For people already working in the industry who haven't completed tertiary training before, it's an opportunity to start getting qualified at no cost.

“Your workers will grow their skills and knowledge and gain NZQA-recognised qualifications while learning on-the-job.”


To find out more about the new signmaking apprenticeships, call the Competenz Customer Services team on 0800 526 1800.

Competenz is a business division of Te Pūkenga Work Based Learning Limited. Learn More

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