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See what Etco Apprentices say about us

Becoming an Apprentice

Etco is New Zealand’s leading provider of electrical apprenticeships and training. We provide off-job training to over 50% of electrical apprentices nationwide and employ more than 975 apprentices and place them with electrical host companies,  through our group apprenticeship scheme.

There are two pathways to becoming an electrical apprentice.  You can either be employed by Etco or you can be employed directly with an electrical business.  Both options allow you to study and be supported by Etco. 

If you are employed by Etco, you will be placed with an Etco host who will provide on-job training and we will ensure you get the exposure of work required to complete your apprenticeship.  An apprentice mentor will be assigned to you to guide you through your apprenticeship and will liaise with your host. Etco provide apprentices with tools and all their off-job training.

If you are employed with an electrical business, 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 and ensuring you are supported with your study throughout your apprenticeship.

To become a qualified electrician, you need to study for, and pass, the NZ Certificate of Electrical Engineering Level 4.

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



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. 


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. 


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

Because we ensure you get wider work experience across the Domestic, Commercial, and Industrial sectors, you will have a wider set of choices when you graduate. This also means a typical Etco electrical apprenticeship takes around three years, nine months to complete. The apprenticeship 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 
  • Hold a restricted manual licence or a full licence. Have your own car and the ability to drive a manual vehicle
  • New Zealand residency or citizenship

If you do not meet the above criteria then please click here to view our Foundation Programme, 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.




Elite Work Ready Programme

Every Etco apprentice starts with our ELITE (Entry Level Industry Training for Electricians) Programme, which is a 12-day residential electrical training and work ready programme held at either our training facility in Ramarama, in the Bombay Hills south of Auckland, or at one of our training centres throughout the country.

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 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.