Learning and working in the construction and infrastructure industries

Find out about standards, opportunities and careers

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What's the work like?

What kind of careers are found along this pathway?

Construction and Infrastructure is an incredibly important industry, with a lot of varied and exciting options. You can take pride in being a part of building, maintaining and repairing New Zealand from below the ground up.

No matter what your job is you’ll have a variety of different tasks to do, using many different types of tools and machinery. The work can often be physical and active so you won’t need to worry about joining a gym.

If you’re a people person this may be the industry for you. Often you’ll be working as part of a team, collaborating with tradespeople, contractors and clients. The hours can vary, work can be both indoors and outdoors and you’ll move from site to site, which is great if you like to change things up.

Examples of jobs in this pathway include:

  • labouring, building, demolition, electrical, excavation, concreting
  • landscape architect, interior designer, carpentry, plastering, painting, decorating, joinery, flooring, scaffolding, roofing, tiling, glazing, glass processing, brick-laying, plumbing, gas fitting, drain laying
  • drafting plans, quantity surveying, engineering
  • installing heating, ventilation, and air conditioning
  • providing products or services to the industry
  • laying pipes, laying drains, road building and repair
  • building dams, wharves, airport runways
  • building and maintaining telecommunication and electricity networks

One man pointing at computer, whilst other man looks at what is pointed at screen, smiling

Where might you end up?

In this industry, there are a tonne of opportunities to work your way up the career ladder. You could start as a labourer before becoming a foreperson, supervisor or manager. Develop your entrepreneurial skills and you could even start your own business. Becoming an architect, engineer, and project manager are all possibilities in this industry.

What's great about this sector?

And why is it important to New Zealand?

It can be exciting and varied – from driving a 30-tonne digger to making something out of nothing. Sometimes what you do changes people’s lives or makes their dreams come true. 

You learn by doing and you have lots of opportunities to hone your skills. There’s always some paperwork to be done, but there’s also an honest day’s pay for an honest day’s work.

Young male construction worker onsite wearing safety googles and hearing protection


You can earn well and aim high if you want to. You can work for yourself or you can work for someone else. Bottom line: if you like to work hard, respect people, do a quality job, and deliver on people’s expectations, you can earn good money.

Why is this sector important?

Without roads, drainage, water supply, functioning electricity or a telecommunications network at your gate or on your doorstep, you can’t live or run a business properly in today’s world. There is a massive amount of construction and infrastructure needed in New Zealand and this is ongoing – from rebuilding Christchurch to constructing new homes – without the right skills the future growth and efficient operating of our country will be reduced. Be part of an industry that is building, maintaining, and repairing New Zealand – from below the ground up.

Yep, this is me. How do I follow this pathway?

Plan a course and track standards for careers in this sector.

You’ll need NCEA level 2 as a minimum for entry level jobs or apprenticeships. This will give you a good foundation in the skills and knowledge needed to progress in a career in the construction and infrastructure industries. For other roles you will need to further your education after school by undertaking tertiary study, or on-the-job training.

Assessment Standards tool

If you think this might be the industry for you then use our handy tool to identify the standards needed to create a pathway into the construction and infrastructure industries. Filter by NCEA level, the industry pathway, and standards type.

assessment standards tool

Each standard describes what a learner knows, and can do. Achievement standards carry a number of credits, when achieved these are recorded on the centrally managed Record of Achievement.

All standards included in particular Vocational Pathways are recommended. A sub-set of these recommended standards are also identified as sector-related, you can use the filter to see these. You don’t need to do all of the standards listed in the results. However, if you gain enough credits from the standards we recommend, then you are gaining the skills, knowledge, and competencies that are most important to employers in this industry.

If these are the subjects you enjoy, and these are the sorts of standards that you tend to do well in, then you should definitely consider roles in the construction and infrastructure industries as a possible career option. There are lots of opportunities and a wide range of jobs at many different levels.

If your NCEA level 2 includes 60 credits from recommended standards, including at least 20 credits from sector-related standards, you can have construction and infrastructure industries recognised as your Vocational Pathway.

Vocational Pathways Award

Learners can work towards the Vocational Pathways Award too, which is recorded on their Record of Achievement (NZQA).

Vocational Pathways Award

Record of Achievement