Plumbing, Gasfitting and Drainlaying

Plumbers love working with their hands, solving problems, and putting things together. If this sounds like a great way to spend your working day, you could have a bright future in the trades.

Why become a plumber and drainlayer?

Start your career with no student loan

Earn a wage from day one, and finish your apprenticeship without a massive loan hanging over your head!

Work that suits your lifestyle

Work outdoors instead of being stuck in the same office all day. As your career grows, you’ll have more freedom and flexibility in your schedule to fit in more time for the things that matter, such as family, hobbies, and interests.

A variety of experiences

No two days are the same! You’ll get the chance to work on a wide range of jobs throughout your career.

What do plumbers and drainlayers do?

Plumbers do a wide variety of jobs, you could be working on a farm one day or a high rise building the next.

On any given day you could be:

  • Installing hot water cylinders in a multi-million dollar house
  • Doing bathroom renovations, putting in sinks, toilets, showers, and baths
  • Installing pipework in hospitals or aged care facilities
  • Working in an industrial plant installing pipes
  • Installing metal roofing and spouting systems
  • Using a digger to dig trenches
  • Working in an industrial plant installing pipes
  • Installing environmental waste water systems.

Where can I go?

Once you complete your apprenticeship, you’ll be able to apply for the licences you need to get started.

Many plumbers, gasfitters, and drainlayers get some experience under their belt, then start looking at taking on project management or supervising teams.

After a few years, many people get their certifying licence and go on to start their own business, increasing both their freedom and income. They also pay it forward by taking on apprentices of their own.

Others move into roles in the wider industry, such as consulting or teaching. Your plumbing, gasfitting, or drainlaying qualification is also recognised in other countries, so you can take your trade around the world.
Find out more about how your apprenticeship is structured, how long it will take, and how much it will cost.


All plumbers and drainlayers start at the beginning – with an apprenticeship. During your apprenticeship you’ll learn the skills you need to become a fully qualified plumber and drainlayer. Find out more about how your apprenticeship is structured, how long it will take, and how much it will cost
You might want to be a drainlayer or a gasfitter, or maybe you want to do a combination of plumbing, gasfitting, and drainlaying. The different options take a varying amount of time. They take approximately:
  • 5 Years Plumbing + Gasfitting + Drainlaying
  • 4 Years Plumbing + Drainlaying
  • 3 Years Gasfitting
  • 2 Years Drainlaying
Regularly working through your study and attending the theory courses will help you finish on time.

There are four main components to your training as an apprentice:

  1. The learning and experience you gain on-job
  2. The Online learning modules you work through
  3. The Online assessments  you complete
  4. The practical block course you attend with a provider


During a normal working day you will gain practical and workplace skills under the direction of your boss or supervisor. Industry knowledge and theory will be gained when you work through your online learning modules and subsequently attend a provider for your off job practical assessments. These forms of learning are designed to be done side-by-side.

There are two main components to your training as an apprentice:

  1. The learning and experience you gain on-job
  2. The practical block course you attend with a provider


During a normal working day you will gain practical and workplace skills under the direction of your boss or supervisor. Industry knowledge and theory will be gained when you attend block course modules and subsequently complete your on job assessments.

When you sign up, you’ll need to choose a training provider.

Below is a list of the training providers you can choose from.

One of the best things about being an apprentice is that you’re earning while you’re learning. That means you don’t need to fork out for large student loans or work multiple jobs.

Even more good news: Since the New Zealand government is right behind getting people into trades, they help subsidise your training.

This apprenticeship doesn’t have a fixed cost because it’s based around competency. This means you finish when you can prove to your assessor that you can do the job. Because of this the cost is worked out “per week” and covers all your training. After the government subsidy, it will cost you $59.00 per week.

Please note: Te Pūkenga makes every effort to ensure that the information provided on this website is accurate and up-to-date. However the information given, including fees information and the availability and structure of courses, are regularly reviewed and no warranty or representation is given about the ongoing accuracy of such information. All fees may change without notice. Te Pūkenga does not accept liability for any losses or damage that happen directly or indirectly from you relying on the information on this website.

Block Course 1 is being increased from 3 to 5 days from February 2024.

This provides the following benefits:

  • Learners will be better equipped for their learning journey early on — Allowing 5-days for Block Course 1 will provide learners with a great start to their apprenticeship. They will receive a thorough introduction to the online portal which means they will be well placed when it comes to submitting assessments throughout their apprenticeship.
  • Dates of Block Course 1 will be known sooner — Timetabling of Block Course 1 will be accurate and known much earlier than in the past. This is because there will no longer be prerequisites for learners to attend, so they won’t need to wait for enough of their peers to become eligible for a block course to be scheduled. This is great news for employers and learners because they will be able to plan ahead for Block Course 1 with more confidence.
  • Learners likely to have completed block course within first four months—Employers can also take comfort knowing that learners are now likely to be able to complete Block Course 1 within the first 4 months of their apprenticeship.
  • Pre-requisites removed — there will be no eligibility criteria or prerequisites required prior to a trainee being allocated to Block Course 1. The five theory units that learners used to do prior to attending Block Course 1 will now be thoroughly covered at the block course itself.

These theory units are covered in the table below.

The decision to extend the duration of the block course was made following feedback from Industry. This included positive industry feedback around pilot testing of the extended block course and online induction.

Practical Unit Standards to be delivered (taught, assessed and reported)

Unit standard



Draw and from simple patterns for Plumbing and Gasfitting sheet metal components.

Theory Unit Standards to be delivered (taught and facilitated)


Demonstrate knowledge of working in gas contaminated environment in Plumbing, Gasfitting, or Drainlaying


Demonstrate knowledge of asbestos and safety measures for asbestos-related work.


Describe ethical and legal considerations for Plumbing, Gasfitting, or Drainlaying services.


Demonstrate knowledge of the regulatory framework for Plumbing, Gasfitting, and Drainlaying


Demonstrate knowledge of excavating and trenching for Plumbing, Gasfitting or Drainlaying

Frequently asked questions 

How to get started

Find an employer

The first step is to find a plumber who will take you on as an apprentice, be your employer, and offer you a job. You’ll need to find an employer before you start your apprenticeship.

Image of person next to white board, how training works

Choose a training provider

In the meantime, choose a training provider that suits you. This is where you’ll do your off-job learning. You’ll need to let your Te Pūkenga Account Manager know which provider you want to go with when you sign up.

Sign up

Once you and your employer are ready to get started, you should give us a call on 0800 327 648 (0800 EARN IT). There’s a couple of forms you’ll need to fill out together, so we’ll send these to you. Once we’ve received and processed your documents, an Account Manager will get in touch with you or your employer. They’ll run through an induction so you can kick off your training on the right foot.

PGD Block Course Schedules: Quarter 1, 2024

Below please find a link to the Quarter 1 updated block course schedule for Plumbing, Gasfitting, and Drainlaying.

PDG Quarter 1 block course schedules

Please note:

  • This information is correct as at 20 February 2024
  • All block courses and course dates are subject to change.
  • Trainees are allocated to the block courses based on their progress through their programme.
  • For up-to-date information on block course allocation please check My Portal.

Any queries can be sent to or contact your Account Manager.

PGD Block Course 1, 2024 now 5 days

Please note that PGD Block Course 1 has now been extended from 3-days to 5-days in duration.

Check our frequently asked questions for more information.

Please email if you have any questions.