UPDATED NOVEMBER 2009
An Introduction to Signmaking Course for 2010
This 12 week full-time certificate course, occuring between
1 February and 23 April, will provide a way to enter the signmaking
trade and become a signmaker. With the programme’s close
links with employers, successful graduates will have a significant
advantage when seeking employment. A brochure for this course
may be downloaded here.
The programme will start you on the path to a National Certificate
in Signmaking, a Level 3/4 qualification that you will complete
while working in the signmaking industry. It also builds a
high level of practical signmaking ranging from screen-printing
and hand lettering to computer design and vinyl cutting and
practical sign construction. Our objective is for graduates
to be immediately useful in their future employment.
To ensure this, a period of work placement in the industry
gives time to put the skills and knowledge that you gain on
the programme into practice. It also helps to develop your
customer skills – essential if you plan to earn a living!
Graduates will normally seek employment as apprentice signmakers
or employment within the industry with companies and contractors
around New Zealand.
The next step while working is to arrange to attend two three-week
block courses over the course of the next two-three years.
These will build on the skills that you will be acquiring
on the job and will complete the assessment for the remaining
Units of the National Certificate in addition to the core
To qualify as a signmaker, you will have selected one of
three different strands of signmaking to follow, depending
upon your employer and your own interests. These three strands
The programme is built up of Unit Standards in the following
- Introduction to Signmaking Skills
These Units develop knowledge and understanding of the principles,
materials and equipment applicable to signmaking.
- Basic Signmaking Skills
Develop further knowledge and understanding of basic signmaking
concepts and skills and apply these to specified projects.
- Introduction to Screen Printing Skills
Simple screen-printing skills as used in the signmaking
industry will be developed.
- Signmaking and Vinyl Skills
A key material of modern signmaking, you will learn to design
and cut vinyl signs using computers and commercial design
- Computer Skills
A familiarity with computers and common software tools is
an essential in whichever job you have today. Students cover
basic computing and learn to use signmaking software.
- Safety and Safe Practices
More so than most occupations, safe practices are essential
when a missed step can see you 20 metres below on the pavement,
or careless handling of solvents can damage your health.
Learn to take sensible safety precautions to protect yourself,
your workmates and your customers.
- Customer Awareness
Effective communications and customer service skills and
the ability to work as part of a team are key attributes
that most employers look for, often taking for granted that
you have the technology skills and knowledge that your certificate
indicates. Your employment prospects may depend on these
- Work Experience
A three-week work placement provides the opportunities to
apply your skills and knowledge to the real world.
We expect that some applicants to this programme will be mature
students, either graduates of bridging programmes or looking
for a retraining opportunity. The entry requirements are set
accordingly. The primary objective of the entry requirement
is to make sure that if you a re accepted on to the programme,
you have a reasonable chance of success, whatever your actual
background and qualifications.
The entry requirements are:
a minimum of three years secondary education with preferably
School Certificate passes or better in mathematics and English,
or be a mature student with relevant experience and/or qualifications
Curriculum Vitae and artwork to support your interest
to be committed to a full year of study and work
to be keen to learn
to be willing to work as a part of a team
to be willing to develop a customer focus, to both listen
to and support people who do not know as much as you soon
will about signmaking
Successful completion of the 12 week programme will give you
an NZ Sign School Certificate in Signmaking. To pass, you
will need to complete a minimum of 80 of the 100 credits in
The programme has been carefully designed to credit towards
the NZQA National Certificate in Signmaking (Level 3/4). It
is not possible to complete this National Certificate in a
full-time programme such as this one. This is because some
of the Units require considerable work experience before you
can reach the required level of competence in them. The usual
method of completing these is to come back to a short block
course after approximately a year of employment in the signmaking
The National Certificate requires a pass in all Unit Standards.
If you would like to apply for this programme, please write
The New Zealand Sign School
P O Box 14-410
providing your Full Name, Address, Home telephone number
and Work telephone number along with an indication of the
best time to call, and your e-mail address.
For information about student allowances and loans, please
Tel: 04 564 4411
2nd Year Monday 3 May to Friday 21 May
3rd Year - #1 Monday 31 May to Friday 18 June
1st Year Monday 28 June to Friday 16 July (includes Queens
3rd Year - #2 Monday 26 July to Friday 13 August
There is provision for additional course for another first
year intake, if required. The provisional date is;
Monday 23 August to Friday 10 September
The New Zealand Sign & Display Association
P O Box 77
NORTH SHORE CITY 0755
Tel: 09 473 9109
Fax: 09 473 3109
Further information is available at www.nzss.ac.nz.