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Thread: work as apprentice carpenter?

  1. #1
    coreyjschmidt is offline Junior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    South central Alaska

    Smile work as apprentice carpenter?

    Dear friends,
    I am 26 years old, with a bachelor's degree in linguistics, and I have 2 years experience in carpentry in the U.S.A., 8 months in Illinois in residential construction/remodeling and the rest in Alaska building mostly boardwalks (piers) and docks. For 2 months, I ran a boardwalk construction project with 1-3 helpers.
    The job involved standing large poles (we call them piling) up to 20 feet or more long (old creosote treated telephone poles) and building a deck on top. I have done a few other solo projects, such as an exterior staircase, and dock repair, and I have helped build several boardwalks and docks.(we build them in the tidal zone here at least 2 feet higher than the highest tide and connect them with hinged ramps to floating docks, since the tide varies by as much as 30 feet (about 10meters) in this part of Alaska! I have no official qualifications and only 2 years experience. All my construction work in U.S. has been casual- no official employment, just receiving pay direct from customer.
    I love the freedom and wilderness of Alaska, but I want a change of scenery and climate and in general a new experience:) I love rural areas and I am interested in coromandel, bay of islands, wanaka, or anywhere rural and forested.
    I am tentatively planning to apply for a WHV and come to NZ late january 2008.

    I wonder what are my chances of getting a basic work permit to work some construction job full time and stay a couple of years?, and also if (alternately) it would be possible to get involved in an apprenticeship program in NZ such as national certificate in carpentry level 4.? could i get a student visa to do this? looks like for admission to national certificate in carpentry level 4 programs at the various polytechnics, one must already have employment with a builder.
    Any knowledgeable advice is greatly appreciated. Thank you and peace to you!

  2. #2
    MotherBear's Avatar
    MotherBear is offline The missing link
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    currently Ras al Khaimah, UAE, ex Wales, UK
    Blog Entries


    Hi Corey,

    to MoveToNZ.

    Getting to stay long term in NZ is very difficult unless you can press the right buttons, which means having certain skills that NZ is desperately in need of and also the corresponding qualifications to go with them. Sometimes it's possible to get in with just a long and relevant work experience history or work experience undertaken in NZ.

    The description you give of your work experience, it sounds like it's quite specialised and relevant to the areas you've lived in. Certainly carpentry is on the required skills list, but I'm not sure it would cover your type of work. Also, the fact that your previous employment has been casual would work against you as INZ would be asking for evidence of such employment and official records of this.

    If you wish to study in NZ, you would need to be able to support yourself while you're there and you may find that the fees for international students are quite high. You can read up about Student Visas here . It mentions about a type of visa where you can study part time while working for an employer if the two things are related, but I don't know if this would come under the term 'apprenticeship'. Have a look through here to see if there's anything useful about apprenticeships in NZ. At least it may give you some contact details where you can get further information from. Sounds like you'd do well to contact one of the co-odinators to ask for advice.

    Certainly there should be no problem with you entering NZ on a WHV, which might give you the chance to explore your options 'on the ground'. Perhaps opportunities may arise that could assist you in your quest to remain in NZ.
    Mother Bear

    Try to bloom wherever you are planted.

  3. #3
    coreyjschmidt is offline Junior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    South central Alaska

    Default Thank you Mother Bear!

    Thanks for your rapid response! You have given much help to a lot of people.
    I (re)-read the link you left about student visas (in above post),
    and found this provision for studying part time and working:
    Part-time study

    Ordinarily, you need to be studying full time to be eligible for a student permit. However, we may allow you to study part time on a student permit if you are:

    * coming to New Zealand to study for at least three years and the course requires you to gain practical work experience as part of your study
    or ..."
    from All about visas and permits

    and the national certificate in carpentry level 4 courses fit this description.
    My next step is to contact a school a to verify this. I will post here again whatever I find.
    Thank you!

  4. #4
    coreyjschmidt is offline Junior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    South central Alaska

    Thumbs up National Certificate in carpentry level 4 polytechnic courses open to internationals

    Summary: you can study and work to get national certificate in carpentry level 4 with the help of a polytechnic in New Zealand, but its expensive. Other options may be available, i'm researching them and cost cutting options now.

    I have been emailing with tairawhiti polytechnic in Gisborne.
    International students can get a visa for the national certificate in carpentry level 4 course. It is 1 year campus based and then you are placed with a builder as an apprentice. cost is 11,820 NZ for first year, and then ' price varies depending on how many units you take.'

    Many people, however, acquire the national certificate in carpentry level 4 certificate without ever enrolling in a polytechnic.
    here is a link to BCITO training faq
    Frequently Asked Questions
    and here to BCITO employers faq
    in above link, read " do apprentices have to go to a polytechnic and be released from work"- it mentions the 'box of books' alternative and another question answered tells about 'what is a modern apprenticeship?'- it is a special support program for 16-21 year olds.

    I have initiated contact with BCITO to learn about visa options other than student visa for getting national certificate in carpentry level 4, and i intend to soon be in contact again with Tairawhiti to find out if i could skip the campus based year and still qualify for a student visa.
    I intend to post my findings here again.


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