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Scaffolding, Access & Rigging New Zealand Inc. (SARNZ)

To truly achieve its objectives, SARNZ needs the support of people and companies whose business is scaffolding, access and rigging. Find out more




Scaffolding Apprenticeship

What does the scaffolding apprenticeship involve?

The scaffolding apprenticeship is a 2.5–3-year programme that teaches the apprentice all the skills required to enable them to apply for a Trade CoC (previously the Intermediate CoC). 

How do I sign up a potential new scaffolding apprentice?

Once you have someone who is keen to become a scaffolder, you’ll need to contact Skills on 0508 SKILLS. A Skills Account Manager will help you through the sign-up process including signing a training agreement, the induction and verification training.

Who will provide support?

Skills, the Industry Training Organisation for the scaffolding, works with the industry to ensure training standards align with industry needs.  Skills and SARNZ have teamed up to support apprentices through their journey with dedicated Account Managers and Industry Coordinators.

They will run through an induction with you and your apprentice which covers how to complete assessments and outlines all aspects of the apprenticeship.  They will take you through the paperwork and answer any questions.  Skills will ensure your apprentice is signed into their off-job training through an accredited training provider and will distribute the learning materials to them. 

They will provide a short training session to show how to verify the apprentice’s work for assessments. This can take place at the office or work site. This will be explained in the next section.

Finally, the Account Managers and Industry Coordinators are available as a touch point for both the employer and the apprentice throughout the apprenticeship – to help the apprentice stay engaged and assist with any training issues which arise.

What does a Verifier do and what do you have to do to become a Verifier? 

It is important that your apprentice becomes competent in all the aspects of scaffolding required by the industry. This helps keep everyone safe, it’s good for business and helps maintain the reputation of the scaffolding industry. To ensure all apprentices can work to a consistent standard we need to have a form of checking or verifying that jobs are done well before they move on to more challenging jobs.

Verifying is new to the scaffolding industry. In practice, a nominated onsite supervisor, the Verifier, sights and acknowledges that the apprentice can do a specific job to an acceptable level.  The Verifier should be someone working closely with the apprentice. They need to be able to verify that the apprentice is competent at doing the work described in the assessment.  

After a work task has been verified on the job, the completed and verified assessment booklet is sent to Skills, which has an assessor review the work as a safeguard and for quality control.  

When will block courses start?

During an apprenticeship, the apprentice will need to be released from onsite work to attend block courses at an industry training provider.

Apprenticeships start with Skills Week, a one-week block course to equip apprentices with the basics of working on an active site.  This includes literacy and numeracy, Site Safe Passport, health and safety, first aid and basic trades calculations.  

Trainees will attend the Skills Week block course within the first three months of their training. Specific start dates depend on the apprentice’s chosen training provider.

Who are the scaffolding training providers?


There are three accredited scaffolding training providers around the country. These are Tai Poutini Polytechnic, AMS, and Vertical Horizonz.

FAQ for Learners

Do I need to be qualified to be a scaffolder?

The simple answer is yes.

A qualification is required before you can apply for a Certificate of Competence, which is the legal requirement for a professional scaffolder. The New Zealand Scaffolding Apprenticeship is the preferred pathway as a career to become professional scaffolder and leads to the Scaffolding Certificates of Competence – both Intermediate and Elementary. Scaffolders are also encouraged to continue to achieve their Advanced status.

For more information on Certificates on Competence please refer to SARNZ’s website

I want to be a scaffolder – how do I get qualified?

Skills can help you identify the best options for you to train. If you’re just starting out and haven’t worked with scaffolding before, a pre-employment course is a good option. If you’re already working, we can work with you and your employer to offer an apprenticeship to help you achieve your Scaffolding Certificates of Competence.

Why are there changes to the qualifications?

Qualifications are regularly reviewed to ensure they are fit for purpose for both learners and industry. When the qualifications were recently reviewed, they were redesigned to ensure they fully cover the skills that industry requires.

When will I know what courses are available?

A list of the courses will be available on the Skills website from 1 December 2017.

When will the new Scaffolding apprenticeship be available?

The New Zealand Apprenticeship in Scaffolding will be available in the New Year.

What qualification will the new apprenticeship lead to?

The apprenticeship leads to award of the New Zealand Certificate in Scaffolding (Trade) Level 4, and includes the New Zealand Certificate in Scaffolding (General) Level 3.

If I have a current National Certificate, will it still be recognised or do I need to re-train and achieve a New Zealand Certificate?

The National Certificates are all still relevant and recognised by employers and SARNZ, so there is no need to re-train.

Can I still do an Apprenticeship if I already hold a National Certificate in Scaffolding (Elementary) (Level 3)?

If you have not already achieved a level 4 qualification, you can do this through the Scaffolding Apprenticeship. We will look at your prior qualifications and scaffolding experience, and set you on the best training pathway for you to get qualified.

Will there be an option for those who only want to do the Level 3 (General) qualification?

Yes, it is recognised that some companies may not have the need or the capability to train an Apprentice to Level 4.

If I have already completed the Level 3 National Certificate (Elementary), is there a pathway to complete the new Level 4 (Trade) qualification?

Yes, holders of the Level 3 National Certificate who wish to advance their careers are encouraged to continue training to achieve Trade and then Advanced status.

What is the pathway for those wanting to achieve the New Zealand Certificate in Scaffolding (Proprietary Suspended) (Level 3) qualification?

We are currently working on this and will keep you updated with progress

When will the New Zealand Certificate in Scaffolding (Level 5) qualification be available?

We are currently working on this and will keep you updated with progress

If I’m currently enrolled to complete a National Certificate in Scaffolding qualification, what will happen to me when the new apprenticeship is launched?

We are working to ensure every learner has a clear pathway to completion. If needed, a simple transition plan will be put in place.

I have a National Certificate in Scaffolding, is my qualification still valid?

Yes – National Certificates are still valid and recognised.

How will scaffolding training and assessment be arranged?

Skills will be working alongside providers to ensure high quality delivery.

Am I eligible under the Government’s new fees-free policy?

Learners who meet TECs criteria and who are enrolled in eligible programmes will have their training fees paid by the Government for the first two years of their industry-based training.

To help answer some of the questions around how this will work click he­­re to go to the Skills website.  To find out about a learners eligibility for fees-free click here



Training Providers

There are a number of nationally recognised New Zealand qualifications in the scaffolding, access & rigging industry.  SARNZ is privileged to have three members who are NZQA Accredited Training Providers to the industry. AMS Group, Tai Poutini Polytechnic and Vertical Horizonz offer a variety of training options which combine block courses and on-the-job training so students can earn as they learn.

Tai Poutini

Contact Tai Poutini for an application and study options in scaffolding, rigging and rope access. For an information pack phone 0800 800 411 or go to:

Vertical Horizonz NZ_RGB 2017

To find out about training in scaffolding and rope access please get in touch with Vertical Horizonz on 0800 72 33 848 or go to


For information on training in the scaffolding industry, please contact AMS Group on 0800 267 476 or go to

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