Apprenticeship programme

Apprenticeships are vital to a strong construction workforce in the future. However, it’s not always easy for businesses to find an apprentice or for aspiring builders, plumbers, or electricians to find a company to learn while they earn.

The Kāinga Ora apprenticeship programme works with build partners, training and pastoral care providers, and other government agencies to help keen New Zealanders into a mix of trade apprenticeships, supporting them and their employers to maximise their success.

We’ve already helped hundreds of Kiwis successfully enter into apprenticeships with our partners across our public housing construction programme.

Our apprenticeship programme partners include the Building & Construction Industry Training Organisation (BCITO), the Ministry of Social Development (MSD), and the New Zealand Institute of Skills and Technology. We also work with local service providers, many of whom support our Māori and Pasifika communities.

Working with secondary schools

We’re working with secondary schools to create awareness of the benefits of a trade career and pathways for school leavers to training and employment in the construction sector.

We’ve set up twelve trade academies nationwide where students build houses to our specifications under the supervision of registered builders and teachers, gaining experience in carpentry, plumbing and electrical work. We establish a commercial construction contract with the school and our project managers visit the site for inspections. When the homes are completed we buy them and they're transported to one of our public housing development sites.

Trade academies and institutes we are currently working with include:

  • Dargaville High School
  • Unitec Te Pukenga
  • Massey High School
  • Onehunga High School
  • Western Heights High School
  • Rotorua Boys High School
  • Opotiki College
  • Weltec Whitireia
  • Iconiq Gisborne
  • Hastings Boys High School and
  • Nelson MIT Te Pukenga.

Beyond the trade academies, we tailor our secondary school programme to suit our build partners and local schools. Our build partners often have schools they want to support so we help set up the partnership with the school they choose or have an attachment too. We can also adjust the level of involvement the students have. A school that neighbours one of our public housing developments in Christchurch has scheduled site visits for students, and the build partner goes into the classroom to explain the stages of construction. There are also work experience opportunities on offer which may lead to an apprenticeship or other opportunities for the students.

Read some of our trade academy stories

MATES in Construction

The construction sector has the highest proportion of suicides across all industries in New Zealand, and Kāinga Ora believes it can play a role in enabling tradespeople experiencing mental health issues to get help when they need it. That’s why we partnered with suicide prevention and mental health charity MATES in Construction in 2020.

The MATES in Construction programme, which is being rolled out at Kāinga Ora build sites, is an onsite suicide prevention programme led by industry that’s about encouraging construction workers to look after each other and seek, offer and accept help when its needed. It aims to build skills and awareness in mental health and build this into everyday work activities.

MATES in Construction has been profiled as an example of global best practice in suicide prevention by the World Health Organisation (WHO) in their publication Live Life: An Implementation Guide for Suicide Prevention in Countries(external link).

Construction Plus

Through Construction Plus, Kāinga Ora helps local communities impacted by urban development, by connecting people with training, employment and industry opportunities across Auckland and New Zealand.   The scheme puts secondary school students in touch with our civil works partner LEAD Alliance and gives them opportunities for work experience.

Corrections programme

Our partnership with the Department of Corrections is also helping us to build momentum towards increasing the supply of warm, dry houses.

Kāinga Ora works with Rolleston Prison and Spring Hill Corrections facilities in a scheme where prisoners gain skills in construction while refurbishing existing state homes at construction yards on site at the prisons.  These houses are then moved onto Kāinga Ora land to become homes for our customers. This programme has been expanded to also include new state homes being built through this collaboration.

Read more on the Rolleston Prison and Spring Hill refurbishment programme

Page updated: 23 February 2024