Irrigation New Zealand

The story so far

Through the industry forums it became apparent the industry wanted and needed an apprenticeship. We are competing with other trades who have clear career pathways and so we need one to attract people to the industry.

An industry forum was held to ask what are the skills needed to be a useful irrigation service technician? We developed a needs analysis and submitted an application to develop to NZQA. It was approved. So we have been busily mapping the unit standards that will make up the graduate outcomes.

What does it look like?

The NZQA Irrigation Engineering Apprenticeship will be delivered over 4 years, with 70 credits each year, in a mix of;

•block courses,

•eLearning courses and

•on-job training.

This ‘mix’ will be dependent on the unit standards used. Due to the size of the apprenticeship it is made up of two qualifications.

Years 1 & 2 - NZ Certificate in Irrigation Installation (Level 3)

Graduates of this qualification will be able to:

•Work safely as a member of a team and communicate effectively with customers

•Apply knowledge of materials and material attributes to fabricate, fasten, weld, install, and maintain water irrigation components, using basic engineering calculations and a variety of tools and measuring devices

•Apply electrical safety and installation knowledge to work safely on irrigation systems

•Apply knowledge of irrigation water supply, piping, pumping, and backflow prevention to install water reticulation systems

Years 3 & 4 - NZ Certificate in Irrigation Installation (Level 4)

Graduates of this qualification will be able to:

•Apply health and safety procedures for irrigation installation worksites

•Apply knowledge of the Electrical Workers Registration Boards (EWRB) Electrical Service Technician (EST) requirements to service, connect and disconnect electrical components of irrigation systems

•Apply knowledge of water reticulation design and hydraulics to install irrigation systems.

•Apply communication skills to customer service and organisational reporting for irrigation projects

•Use mechanical system knowledge to install and commission irrigation systems

•Use mechanical system knowledge to maintain and service irrigation systems

Next steps

1.Submit to NZQA for listing of the apprenticeship on their framework.

2.Developing the industry training programme, which is mapping the unit standards and how they are delivered. The ‘mix’ of off-job and on-job training.

3.Developing block course content.

We have established a technical working group who has been helping us determine the content of the block courses, if you would like to be involved please get in touch with us.

When is it available?

The expected start date we are working towards is Mid-2018. This is dependent on the qualification getting listed on the framework in the next month or two. This start date will be confirmed once we have an outcome from NZQA.

What will it cost?

The current estimated annual cost per apprentice is approximately $3,000 - $4,000 (the actual cost is dependent on the mix of training each year). The cost will be updated and made more accurate as we have more detail.

Who is eligible?

To enrol in the apprenticeship you will need to find employment within an irrigation service company. INZ will be working with service companies to market the apprenticeship and help find young people and match them with interested companies.

Who do I enrol with?

Competenz will hold the qualification, and administer it. This means apprentices will enrol and form training agreements with them. INZ is driving the development and will deliver some of the block courses.

For further information contact our Event Co-ordinator 03 341 2225, DDI: 03 974 1425 or email:

Register for Event


Wednesday 18 July

09:00 am - 16:00 pm

Water Meter Verification Workbook training day.

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Thursday 6 September

10:00 am - 16:30 pm

Irrigation Operator and Manager Training Day, Ashburton on Thursday 8th March.

Venue: Ashburton Trust Event Centre

Tiime: 10am-4pm

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Thursday 27 September

10:00 am - 16:30 pm

One day Irrigation Operator and Manager Training to be held in Lincoln at the Lincoln University Research Dairy Farm

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