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2. An Employers Guide to     Apprenticeships
3. Apprenticeship Costs
4. Apprenticeship Training      Requirements
5. Apprenticeship Application      Form (PDF 252 Kb)
6. Apprenticeship Transfer
     Application Form (PDF

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An Introduction to Signmaking Course for 2010
Programme Description

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!

Employment Opportunities
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 units.

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 include:

Computer Graphics
Hand Lettering
Electric Signmaking

Programme Structure
The programme is built up of Unit Standards in the following subject areas:

  • 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 software.
  • 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 attributes.
  • Work Experience
    A three-week work placement provides the opportunities to apply your skills and knowledge to the real world.

Entry Requirements
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

Programme Completion
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.
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 industry.
The National Certificate requires a pass in all Unit Standards.

If you would like to apply for this programme, please write to:

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 contact:

The Manager
Ian Smyth

Tel: 04 564 4411
E-mail: ian@nzss.ac.nz


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 Birthday)
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

Please contact:

The New Zealand Sign & Display Association (Inc)
P O Box 77
Tel: 09 473 9109
Fax: 09 473 3109
e-mail: nzsda@clear.net.nz

Further information is available at www.nzss.ac.nz.



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