Explore your options

Study building or train as a carpenter at Unitec and you won’t just learn the theory. We like to create things with our hands. Which means that you’ll spend many hours in our well-equipped workshops. 

Choose one of our carpentry courses and you could build new houses on campus, which are sold to the public once completed. It’s a great way to get a sound knowledge of exterior wall and roof cladding, foundations, interior lining and finishing, and wall and sub-floor framing.

Train as a builder and you’ll learn the plumbing, plastering, painting and joinery skills to kick-start your career. Or study construction methods and learn how to manage a building project. The diploma and bachelor programmes give you the chance to practice what you learn on a major industry project.

Programmes and study path

Start with a programme that suits your qualifications and/or experience, then progress to a level that achieves your goals.
New Zealand Certificate in Construction Trade Skills - Allied Trades3Full-time for 6 monthsAssistant tradespersonFebruary or July
New Zealand Certificate in Construction Trade Skills - Carpentry3Full-time for 1 yearAssistant tradesperson, Apprentice carpenter, JourneymanFebruary or July
New Zealand Certificate in Construction Trade Skills - Joinery324 weeks full-timeAssistant tradesperson, Assistant Joiner, Apprentice carpenter, Assistant builderFebruary/April, or July
New Zealand Certificate in Carpentry4Part time over 4 years. You must be in full time employment.Qualified carpenterFebruary or July
New Zealand Certificate in Construction Related Trades (Supervisor)4Full-time for 6 months, or part-time options availableBusiness Owners/Operators, Construction Assistant, Construction Co-ordinator, Contract administrator, Assistant Project ManagerFebruary or July
New Zealand Certificate in Construction Related Trades (Main Contract Supervision)5Part-timeMain Contract Supervisor, Business Owners/OperatorsFebruary or July
Bachelor of Applied Technology - Building7Full-time for three years or part-time (day) options availableBuilding manager, Project manager, Property developerFebruary or July

Industry connections

Unitec is on first name terms with the big players in the building industry. That includes the Certified Builders Association of New Zealand, Registered Master Builders Federation, Building Officials Institute of New Zealand, Joinery Industry Training Organisation (JITO) and Master Joiners. For you it means that what you learn in our carpentry and building courses reflects best industry practice, and the latest technology, methods and materials.


An apprenticeship is a commitment between an apprentice (the student), Unitec (the trainer) and an employer (the mentor) to combine study with work experience. It’s the best way to complete the set number of hours of theory and practice you need to become qualified and registered in your trade.

Whether you want to start an apprenticeship or you’re already doing one, Unitec’s carpentry courses and building courses are closely linked with the industry to give you the theoretical skills that employers need. Study the New Zealand Certificate in Carpentry and the Unitec Apprenticeship Training Trust could help you find an apprenticeship.

Watch Unitec student Tuiti about how he combines study at Unitec with his on-site practical experience.

Māori and Pacific scholarships

If you are Māori or Pacific, aged 18 to 34, and you want to train as a carpenter, Unitec has a scholarship for you. We have 70 Māori and Pacific Trades Training Scholarships up for grabs which cover your tuition fees for selected certificate programmes. You will need to cover any additional course costs.

Find out more about the Māori and Pacific Trades Training Fees-free Scholarships.