Strong demand for plumbers, gasfitters and drainlayers
Opportunities for plumbers, gasfitters and drainlayers are good due to:
- a lack of apprentices training in these areas
- moderate growth in construction predicted to extend until at least the end of 2023, meaning more building work
- the Government’s KiwiBuild programme, involving the building of quality affordable homes over the next decade
- building work needed to upgrade leaky homes and earthquake-prone buildings.
The Christchurch post-earthquake rebuild is ongoing but most of the remaining work is in the non-residential (commercial) sector.
According to the Census, 12,444 plumbers, gasfitters and drainlayers worked in New Zealand in 2018.
Increase your chances of getting an apprenticeship
Many plumbing businesses are small and often busy so they can't always take on and train apprentices. You can increase your chances of getting a plumbing, gasfitting and drainlaying apprenticeship if you have:
- a good attitude to work, good time management skills, and are willing to learn
- completed a Gateway or pre-trade programme
- experience in plumbing, gasfitting and drainlaying
- a tertiary qualification but want to retrain in plumbing, gasfitting and drainlaying.
Plumbers and drainlayers in shortage
Although over 8,000 people work as plumbers, gasfitters and drainlayers in New Zealand, there are not enough to meet demand.
As a result, plumber, drainlayer and roof plumber appear on Immigration New Zealand's construction and infrastructure skill shortage list. Roof plumber also appears on Immigration New Zealand's regional skill shortage list. This means the Government is actively encouraging skilled plumbers and drainlayers from overseas to work in New Zealand.
Most plumbers and gasfitters run their own business
About 90% of plumbers and gasfitters are self-employed or work for small companies with up to five employees.
However, only about half of drainlayers are self-employed. Others work for small to medium-sized businesses that employ between one and 20 staff.