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Becoming an Apprentice

To become a qualified electrician, you need to study for, and pass, the NZ Certificate of Electrical Engineering Level 4. Etco employs more than 700 apprentices, working with host companies who provide their on-tools training.

If you choose to be employed directly by an electrician you can still choose Etco to be your off-job trainer – giving you access to some of the best tutors and training facilities in the country.

Etco also offers a Foundation Course to bridge the gap for applicants who do not have the NCEA credits required to go directly into an apprenticeship.

Profile: Brooke Thompson

Sectors

Domestic

Your on-the-job training will change day by day as your gain experience indoors and outdoors. You could be wiring a new sound system, retrofitting new data cabling or wiring a new home. Your work will touch every part of people’s daily lives, including lighting, television, refrigeration, music and the internet. 

Commercial

From fitting out new hi-rise apartment towers to shopping centres and restaurants, you’ll be challenged with projects ranging from straightforward to technically challenging. You could be working on electrical vehicle installations, solar panels, marine and in the rural sector. 

Industrial

This sector is highly diverse, covering industries from manufacturing and agriculture to mining and production lines. The type of work opportunities are endless; maintaining large industrial operations, designing electrical installations, working in power stations, testing equipment for safety and more. 

Essential Information

A typical Etco electrical apprenticeship takes around three years, six months to complete, and involves two different learning environments: 

On-job training

We will pair you with host companies where you will be working with fully qualified electricians. Throughout your Etco apprenticeship we will assign you to work with host companies from different sectors in the electrical industry – domestic, commercial and industrial.  By watching, learning and progressively doing more of the job yourself, you’ll reach a level of competence where you can do the job unaided. Expect plenty of challenges that will extend and challenge you, from learning how to problem solve to responding to increasing on-the-job independence. 

Off-job training

More than just knowing how to do the practical aspects of the job competently and safely, you need to learn the engineering and science behind electrical systems and installations so you can design, install and diagnose them yourself. This involves study at home and attending Etco evening classes and block courses.  You’ll complete on-going assignments, assessments and final examinations.  Etco has state-of-the-art training facilities throughout New Zealand, and our training modules and lesson plans are now all online, meaning you can study or catch-up wherever and whenever works best for you.  And, at every step, you’ll have access to the best co-ordinators/mentors and trainers around.

What do you need to become an Etco apprentice?

We require our applicants to have:

  • The drive to succeed in an in-demand and growing industry
  • Eight credits in NCEA Level 2 in Maths, Science and English, or their equivalent 
  • Be working towards a manual restricted license or hold a full  licence, and your own car
  • New Zealand residency or citizenship

If you do not meet the above criteria then please click here to view our Foundation Course, which can be a great option for those wanting to enter the electrical industry but who require a bit more focus on strengthening their off-the-tools knowledge and skills.

FAQs

Induction Training

Every Etco apprenticeship starts with our ELITE (Entry Level Industry Training for Electricians) Programme, which is a 14-day residential electrical training induction held at our training facility in Ramarama, in the Bombay Hills south of Auckland

This training introduces you to a workplace environment and the expectations of both Etco and our host companies. There is a one-off fee for the ELITE programme, to be paid before the programme starts. This is the only fee we ask of you during your entire apprenticeship! 

What to expect 

This is a busy period and the 14 days are packed with practical hands-on experience and electrical theory. A high level of discipline is required, which helps set you up for immediate performance in the workplace. Theory and practical exercises are undertaken, aligned with required unit standards of your apprenticeship. You’ll learn about Health & Safety, drug and alcohol education, personal wellbeing and management, and financial literacy – with a focus on budgeting. 

The meals provided throughout the programme are legendary – no-one ever complains of feeling hungry! 

The first year’s block course is also held during your time at Ramarama. All of this will prepare you for your workplace apprenticeship, ensuring you can work safely and efficiently. 

What comes next? 

Once you complete the ELITE programme and enter the workforce, your on- and off-job training continues, and the great thing is the ongoing costs associated with your training are paid for you by Etco. There are no further training costs ahead of you! Earning while you’re learning – how good is that? 

Our apprentices have opportunities to excel and benchmark themselves against other apprentices in national competitions, such as the Etco Apprentice of the Year, and the Master Electricians Challenge – where apprentices participate in a practical skills competition.

FAQs