Beyond apprenticeships

Advancing your career as an MPTT Alumni
Getting qualified in the trades is a path to a secure and satisfying career, and it can also be a stepping stone to even further advancement. Whatever your trade, there are plenty of opportunities once you’ve completed your apprenticeship. Whether it’s getting recognition as a master of your field or learning to supervise and manage, the opportunities are as far-reaching as your imagination.

Once you’re qualified, out working and ready to advance in your industry, you can level up with a Certificate in Business Skills First Line Management. It’s suitable for current or aspiring managers or supervisors in a range of industries, including Automotive, Transport & Logistics, Drilling, Mining & Quarrying and Gas, Hospitality, Engineering, Fabrication and more.

Below, we’ve listed more of the exciting advancement opportunities for taking your career to the next level, becoming a manager or even your own boss.

Big steps to becoming the boss in your trade


Jodi Franklin from MITO says completing your apprenticeship is just the beginning. Graduates can go on to specialise in advanced fields of work with qualifications such as Electric Vehicle Level 5 or the new suite of Level 5 automotive programmes in Light, Heavy Vehicle, and automotive Electrical (being released in 2023).  If you’re interested in leadership, the New Zealand Certificate in Business can be a pathway to a management position or increase your skills and knowledge.

“We actually have scholarships advertised now that include Māori and Pasifika categories, so it’s a great time for people to consider what they would like to do next.” 

You can see the list of scholarships here:

Building and Construction

In the construction industry, there are also training opportunities to give you the skills to become a supervisor. 

David Parsons of BCITO says the Level 5 Certificate in Construction Trades — Supervisor recognises your ability to manage people and job sites, tender for new work, decision-making and much more. There are many opportunities to own your own business in construction when you equip yourself with the right knowledge, practical abilities and people skills. 

Licenced Building Practitioner

The Licensed Building Practitioner (LBP) scheme requires building practitioners to be licensed to carry out or supervise work that is critical to the integrity of the building. This kind of ‘restricted building work’ concerns homes and small to medium-sized buildings. Gaining your LBP Licence means you can carry out more complex work, including:

  • active fire safety systems
  • brick & block laying
  • cladding
  • foundations
  • framing
  • roofing.

Being qualified is an important component of getting licensed to practise. To find out more about licensing, refer to Licensed Building Practitioners.


Once you have completed your electrical apprenticeship, you can look ahead to the National Certificate in Electrical Engineering (Advanced Trade) L5. This programme is ideal if you’re a registered electrician looking for an advanced qualification to develop your electrical, business and overall leadership skills.

ETCO offers the Master Electricians Competency Course for registration or renewal of a practising licence for electricians, electrical apprentices and electrical workers. It covers updates and changes to electrical legislation, supervising trainees, first aid and much more. Find out more at ETCO.


Once you’ve completed your hairdressing apprenticeship, advanced cutting and colouring training allows you to take the next step. With the advanced colouring course, you are able to work as an advanced professional hair colourist within a commercial hairdressing salon or as a self-employed stylist in a variety of settings.

Advanced cutting training equips qualified hairdressers to provide specialist cutting services and advanced techniques. These qualifications will set you up for operating with complete self-management when cutting hair. To find out more, visit HITO.


In hospitality, great managers aren’t born; they’re trained on the job. Some of the courses that can help you do this are the Team Lead Savvy Award – Level 3, New Zealand Certificate in Business (Introduction to Team Leadership) and the New Zealand Diploma in Hospitality Management – Level 5. 

Each of these qualifications will help you upskill with the knowledge and capability to be able to manage the premises’ day-to-day operations, staff and planning and pull everything together to provide first-class customer service. Find out more at:

Painting and Decorating

All qualified paint apprentices can apply to attend a sponsored Master’s Course. This will teach you about running a painting business, including costing, measuring, staff management, employment relations and health and safety.

You’ll learn about:

  • present and future trends in the paint industry
  • the role of the architect within the industry
  • industrial relations, employment obligations
  • management of a painting contracting unit
  • colour and its use within the industry.

Gaining experience running small to progressively larger projects within an established company and this learning will help you if you wish to start your own painting business.

Find out more at Master Painters.

Plumbing and Gas fitting

Qualified plumbing apprentices have opportunities to advance their careers with both the First Line Management qualifications and with specific industry training through Master Plumbers. Examples of topics included are Contract Law and Dealing with Consumers.

To become a Master Plumber, you need the highest qualification available and are responsible for making sure the company’s work is done competently. All Master Plumbers members have a certifying tradesperson on the team and undertake quality assurance reviews of their business practices.

Find out more at Master Plumbers.

MPTT Navigators help students reach their destination

Makahn with some of her MPTT students
All MPTT students have the support of an MPTT navigator, which not only sets our programme apart but also sets MPTT students apart when they start work. Our Navigators mentor students every step of the way through their studies so they graduate work-ready and poised to thrive.

We spoke with Navigator Makahn Warren-Chapman to hear more about what MPTT Navigators do. Makahn, who is Samoan, Māori (Ngāti Tūwharetoa, Te Whakatōhea, Te Whānau a Apanui, Ngāi Te Rangi) and Irish, loves what she does. She sees her work as a way to give back to her community in South Auckland, helping people build new futures for themselves.

“In a nutshell, I hold a mentor role for students who are studying to become tradespeople. I’m here to ensure that they’re ready to leave their studies work-ready and they can start their careers,” says Makahn.

“The scope of support that MPTT offers through Navigators like me is quite wide. We’re there for students when they first start their pre-trades training, through to when they graduate, as they seek employment and find a placement in their chosen trade. We give face-to-face support, one on one meetings, and group workshops.”

A major goal of MPTT is to nurture more Māori and Pasifika into leadership positions, and this means setting them up well from the beginning. It includes helping people build confidence and know how to perform at their best.

Navigators walk alongside students

Makahn says she and her team consider the whole journey so they can give the right support at the right time.

“We offer specific support at different times during people’s study. For example, in the first part of the year, we start by getting to know the MPTT ākonga, what their goals are, and how we can make that happen by building individual pathways.”

Navigators support ākonga to identify anything that might stand in the way of their progress so they can help them make a plan to get past any obstacles. This includes things such as getting a driver’s licence and arranging childcare.

“One of the things we have identified is that people might not know how to write an effective CV, so we’ve developed a workshop that can assist with this. We also offer workshops about how to manage job interviews.”

Navigators help find and fix

Navigators are ready to advocate for ākonga in whatever way matters most.

“Sometimes people struggle just to put food on the table. So, we can connect them to food banks or food parcels.” Makahn says she’s also helped students understand what support options they might have for things such as devices.

“There are a few schemes that can help students with devices. We support ākonga to get their application for those and fill them out. We also help push their applications forward. We know that a lot of the time, our Māori and Pasifika students are kind of left on the outskirts and don’t know how to advocate for themselves. So, we do a lot of that.”

There’s one piece of advice she gives to every Māori and Pasifika student.

“Don’t be scared to ask for the support that you need. Some of us can be humble, and we tend to shy away from asking for help. But that help is available. And not only that, but providing support to MPTT students is our whole purpose as Navigators.

Makahn with other members of the MPTT Navigation team at a workshop held on Unitec’s campus

Plenty of pathways to explore

Makahn says an important part of her work is raising awareness of what potential pathways are available. Trades training can unlock a huge range of options.

“There are so many opportunities within the industry for Māori and Pasifika – more than people might realise.

“Some people have the idea that studying trades leads to only specific roles such as becoming a sparky or mechanic, but there are so many different pathways that open up. We work hard to help students gain awareness about all the career options training makes them eligible for.”

When students are ready to start work, the Navigators can help guide them through the process of gaining employment. Navigators act as a link between training institutes, students, and industry so they understand where job opportunities are and can help with placements.

Makahn says it’s important to consider the fit between the trainee and the employer. Navigators look at the culture of the workplace, what kind of support is offered, apprenticeship pathways and much more.

Once there’s a job offer, Navigators can help explain what it means. They can talk through how it might compare and expectations. This can give both ākonga and their whānau reassurance about their direction.

But the support doesn’t stop there. Navigators stay in touch as people settle into their positions, and graduates remain part of the Māori and Pasifika Trades Training community. There’s always useful information, opportunities, development and help on hand.  

Adventure awaits the ambitious

“One of the things I’d like for Māori and Pasifika people to know is that there is just so much out there. If they’re willing to do a little digging to create networks with others and maybe even step out of their comfort zone, they’ll find the opportunities they want.

“As a profession, the trades are evolving so quickly, and there are so many different roles and responsibilities within each area. It’s not an industry that’s stagnant – it’s always growing.”

And that’s why Makahn wants to see more trainees join the MPTT programme, to help them gain a qualification and build a career that will give them a stable and rewarding future.

Success in the salon

As a shy kid growing up in South Auckland, Roxanne Scanlan was hampered by a fear of making mistakes and a “terrible” inability to converse. So how did she end up becoming a hairdresser who’s not only skilled in her craft, but also a star when it comes to interacting with clients? 

When Roxanne Scanlan started hairdressing, it was love at first cut. 

“Honestly, I just fell in love. I didn’t realise how natural it came to me,” she says. “It comes down to being hands-on. I’m a creative, visual person and my medium is face and it’s hair. I love to create and I love to sculpt.”

Roxanne channelled her creative talent into makeup artistry for more than 10 years before deciding to upskill as a hairdresser.

Roxanne, who’s a married mother of five, works two days a week at Bay Hair Design & Beauty in Onehunga to help support her family while she’s studying a Certificate in Hairdressing (Level 4) at Manukau Institute of Technology (MIT).

Being in a real salon has shown Roxanne that hairdressing requires much more than the creativity that first sparked her interest. 

“You need creative flair, definitely. But being willing to learn is the best attribute. The minute you stop learning, the minute you think you’ve learnt everything and you’re the best, it’s over.”

Her boss, Kerrie Chalmers, says Roxanne’s teachability and listening skills are pure gold in the eyes of an employer. 

“When she’s in the salon, she’s so proactive and focussed on her learning, always wanting to know and understand things. I’ve had a lot of trainees over the years; she’s without a doubt the best one.” 

Cutting through self doubt

But Roxanne, who’s of European and Niuean descent, didn’t always think she had what it takes to be a good hairdresser.

“It’s funny because I was a completely shy kid but if you put on some music, I’d perform. My happy place was being on stage. Outside of that, I was shy.”

Being reserved and afraid of making mistakes held Roxanne back from pursuing her real passions for years. She trained in beauty therapy but decided to “go the safe route” by working in retail. 

“But I was terrible at retail — I could not create a conversation or build rapport,” she jokes.

Even so, Roxanne’s confidence grew as she worked her way up to a management position at The Body Shop, where she enjoyed the creative side of makeup and cosmetics.

“Over the years, I’ve learned that I am worth something and that I have something to say, and I have something to give back. So, whatever your skill is, use it. Don’t waste time — use it.”

While still working full-time, Roxanne became a qualified makeup artist in 2007. She then took the leap to start her own business, Roxanne Hair and Makeup, as a makeup artist and hair stylist. 

“I often did hair styling for clients – that was part of the job. But I had no knowledge of cutting, colouring, correction work, or anything.”  

Roxanne says hairdressing and makeup work are all about finding ways to enhance a person’s natural beauty, without changing who they are.  
On the right course

That all changed in 2018, when Roxanne heard about two things: the hairdressing course at MIT, and the MPTT scholarship. 

“By that stage, I wanted to explore something new that still had the creative side to it, and that complemented my existing hair and makeup skills.

“I could see there was a tonne of work and clients out there needing their hair done, so the option to study was the obvious choice.”

But, at 37, and with a husband and five kids aged between two and 10, she couldn’t afford to take on debt to retrain.

“I was not in a position to do that. I’d already studied so I wasn’t eligible for fees-free from the Government.”

But her cousin was doing a hairdressing course, and mentioned the MPTT scholarship.

Roxanne took the leap and did her Hairdressing Level 3 programme at MIT in July 2018, and is soon to complete the Level 4 programme.

“MPTT’s allowed me to do something I enjoy and I don’t have that worry at the back of my mind, going, ‘Man, I’ve got to work full-time to pay this debt off’. It’s really taken away that stress.”

True colours

Despite her former shyness, Roxanne’s discovered that not being overconfident actually makes her better at the job. 

Working with each client to find out what they want is a priority for Roxanne, rather than simply rushing ahead with what she thinks is the best cut, colour or style. 

“If it’s your way or nothing, you’d lose clients,” she says. 

She also loves hairdressing because it allows her to express her natural empathy to clients. 

“When clients come to the salon, it’s often a healing time for them. My clientele is women, who often have stories to share and offload. So it’s about giving them space to talk and feel heard.”

Being a busy mum of five kids, Roxanne makes the most of any rare opportunities to practise different looks on herself.

Kerrie says Roxanne’s calm approach is a huge asset. 

“Roxanne just handles pressure so well. She knows how to handle people in-store and she’s not flustered by anything. Also, as a mother, she knows how to juggle her time.”

And although hairdressing is often seen as a glamourous industry, Kerrie says it involves a lot of hard graft, which Roxanne’s not afraid of.  

“Some people think hairdressing is some kind of glorious job, that everybody looks good. And yes, the clients look really good, but it’s actually quite hard work to achieve that.”

Weaving her future together

Once Roxanne completes Level 4 in June, she’ll work towards gaining more experience in the salon, building a clientele, and then registering through HITO (NZ Hair and Beauty Industry Training Organisation) to complete her final assessments to become a fully registered hairdresser. 

She also wants to continue doing makeup and hair jobs on the side, through her existing freelance business.

“Bringing my skills of makeup and hairdressing together is kind of a harmonious alignment of two passions.”  

Roxanne says she’s excited about the range of career opportunities available as a hairdresser.

“I’ve opened up way more  than when I was just doing makeup. As a hairdresser, you could be touring with a production company as the main wig stylist, or you could end up doing film, television or commercials.

“Hairdressing is also a skill that’s easy to travel with. You just need your comb and your scissors — ok, maybe also an extra suitcase for your colours. Everyone’s going to need their hair done. You’ve always got clients.”

Learn more about hairdressing and the MPTT scholarship at