Otago Polytechnic

New Zealand Certificate in Construction Trade Skills (Level 3) (Carpentry)


Dunedin and Central Otago 

One year (see the workload section below for more information)

On campus with hands-on training in our workshop facilities 

February (Dunedin & Central Otago) and July (Dunedin only)
  • Location
    Study breaks
  • Dunedin
    15 July 2019
    30 September 2019 - 4 October 2019
    23 December 2019 - 10 January 2020
  • Central Otago
    17 February 2020
    29 June 2020 - 17 July 2020
    12 April 2020 - 25 April 2020
    28 September 2020 - 9 October 2020
  • Dunedin
    3 February 2020
    3 June 2020 - 7 June 2020
  • Dunedin
    24 February 2020
    13 May 2020 - 17 May 2020

Carpentry involves the construction and maintenance of buildings and as the population grows, so does the demand for qualified tradespeople. 

This programme, based at both our Dunedin and Central Otago campuses will give you the work-ready skills to enter the construction trades as an apprentice carpenter working under supervision.

With additional training and/or experience, you could go on to further roles including a carpenter, junior and senior foreperson and self-employment.

During your studies you will enjoy hands-on training in our workshops and the chance to be involved in real-world, community-based building projects  which will lead to you gaining knowledge about health and safety, trade calculations and hand tools. During this Certificate students based at our Dunedin campus will also have the opportunity to work on Otago Polytechnic's charity house project.  

Entry requirements 
  • Open entry. 

All students for whom English is not a first language:

  • must demonstrate English Language skills with an IELTS overall band score (academic) of 5.0, with no band score lower than 5.0 OR
  • must provide acceptable alternative evidence of English language proficiency depending on the visa decline rate of the country you are from. See here for acceptable evidence and visa decline rates by country.

Please note: All scores must be achieved in a single test completed in the preceding two years. You cannot combine scores from multiple tests. If you have achieved NCEA Level 3 University Entrance you are not required to provide evidence of English Language skills. 

Selection criteria

Preference will be given to applicants with a minimum of NCEA Level 1 and four years of secondary education OR the National Certificate in Building, Construction and Allied Trades Skills (BCATS) (Level 2) programme. 

Please note: The BCATS programme is offered through trades academy, secondary schools and some private training establishments.

You will study

Trade Skills 1 - 15 credits

Develop preliminary skills and knowledge for working in the construction industry

  • Perform basic building calculations
  • Use common tools and equipment safely in the construction environment
  • Develop core knowledge of timber, concrete and reinforcing steel
  • Apply safe work practices as they relate to the construction industry.

Trade Skills 2 - 30 credits

Enhance your trade skills knowledge and gain practical experience on a construction site or in a construction-related industry.

  • Determine appropriate construction sequences on the project build
  • Explain building legislation as it relates to the construction industry
  • Communicate effectively with others while in a work environment
  • Reflect on health and safety process, procedures and the work undertaken during work experience.

Foundations - 15 credits

Learn how to set out and prepare to construct foundation structures (up to and including floor level) using specified materials.

  • Read and use plans and specifications to set out a site for the construction of foundations
  • Construct a foundation safely and in accordance with the plans and specifications
  • Explain commonly used foundation types and materials used in the construction industry.

Structures - 30 credits

Gain an understanding of how to construct walls and roofs using specified materials.

  • Read and use plans and specifications for wall and roof framing
  • Build wall and roof structures safely and in accordance with the plans and specifications
  • Explain commonly used wall and roof framing materials and methods used in the construction industry. 

Exterior Claddings - 15 credits

Develop an understanding of how to install external cladding and roofing to a structure using specified materials.

  • Read and use plans and specifications for exterior cladding
  • Install exterior cladding, exterior joinery and roof coverings in the external envelope safely and in accordance with the plans and specifications
  • Explain commonly used exterior claddings and roof coverings used in the exterior envelope of a building.

Interior Lining - 15 credits

Learn how to install interior linings, trim, fixtures and fittings using specified materials while working with others in a safe working environment.

  • Read and use plans and specifications for interior linings, trim, fixtures and fittings
  • Install interior linings, trim, fixtures and fittings safely and in accordance with the plans and specifications
  • Explain commonly used interior linings, trim, fixtures and fittings.
Additional costs

Hand tools are included in the programme fee but the equipment will remain the property of Otago Polytechnic. Depending on what you own before starting the course, additional costs may be up to $600-$700 (approx). Assistance with personal equipment is available through WINZ under Course Related Costs. 

Course equipment list.

He Toki fees scholarship

If you’re an applicant who identifies as Māori and are between 16-40 years old, you can apply for the Māori and Pasifika Trades Training (MPTT) He Toki fees scholarship for support to study this programme.

For more information about this scholarship:

Visit http://hetoki.co.nz
Phone 0800 438 654 
Email hetoki@tetapuae.co.nz

Your workload

Usual timetable hours are Monday to Thursday, 8.30am-4.30pm with a half day on Friday.

You are required to complete at least six weeks of work experience and up to three hours of additional self-directed study a week.

Dunedin Campus classes are held in L Block, 100 Anzac Avenue. Click here for a map. 

Student loans/allowances

Student loans and allowances are for domestic students only. For information about student loans and allowances please visit the Studylink website. It is important to apply for your student loan/allowance at the same time as you apply for this programme, due to the length of time Studylink take to process. Loan/allowance applications can be cancelled at any time if you decide to withdraw your programme application or if it is unsuccessful. 


While every effort is made to ensure that this sheet is accurate, Otago Polytechnic reserves the right to amend, alter or withdraw any of the contained information. The fees shown in this document are indicative ONLY. Both domestic and international fees are subject to change and are dependent on the development and implementation of Government policies. Please note that additional fees may from time to time be required for external examination, NZQA fees and/or additional material fees.

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