Become a qualified carpenter and builder with the NZ Army and enjoy unrivaled training, adventure and travel.

  • Service
  • Specialisation
    Apprenticeship Trades
  • Location
  • Starting Trade Training
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About the role

As a Carpenter, your primary role is vertical construction - such as  constructing a field hospital to humanitarian relief construction tasks in disaster struck areas. You will work with all sorts of material and in all sorts of situations, both in New Zealand and overseas. You will receive training under the BCITO apprenticeship scheme to qualify in Level 4 New Zealand Certificate in Carpentry. Once qualified  your skills will be called upon everywhere the Army goes.

You will be trained to do everything that a civilian equivalent carpenter can do, but with all the Army skills (weapons training, fitness etc) as well! Your civilian qualification will be recognised throughout New Zealand and will prove that you have the knowledge and ability to build almost anything you are tasked with. You will also have all of your tools supplied for you, free of charge.

Job on base

A Carpenters main role while on camp is construction, building and maintaining assets on camp. You will primarily work within the School of Military Engineering (NZ) or the Engineer Regiment,  providing both construction and combat engineering capabilities. Once qualified work locations include Linton and Burnham.

Job on deployment

While on deployment Carpenters will be used to put their vertical construction skills into use in building new camp facilities overseas or maintaining and repairing existing facilities. Royal New Zealand Engineers (RNZE) personnel can be found in small contingents around the globe. Places they have previously been deployed include  Antarctica, Afghanistan, Bougainville, Vanuatu, Fiji, Bosnia, Timor Leste and Iraq.

Career progression and training

Career Progression

Basic Training

Job Training

As your career progresses, you can move into the Army Works career path and later into a project manager's role. This is an important job, as you assist in the management of the Defence Force building assets, and it also offers the widest range of job locations.

Upon successful enlistment into the Army you will be posted to Waiouru Army base. Here you will do 16 weeks of basic military training to find out if you have what it takes to be in the Army, and learn various subjects including:

  • Organisation and Administration
  • Army Customs and Protocol
  • Drill and Parades
  • Military Field Skills and Weapon Training
  • First Aid
  • Physical Fitness


This is an eight week course held at the School of Military Engineering, Linton Military Camp. This is the first course conducted for most trades within the Royal New Zealand Engineers (RNZE). It introduces you to the combat side of being an engineer before you undertake your specific trade. The course covers the basics of field engineering including bridging, water supply, explosives, field defences, obstacles, booby traps, boating and other subjects. After the course, you will have a good understanding of field engineering and also be qualified as an Army (explosives) Demolition Handler.


Your building apprenticeship is conducted over 4-5 years, completing Industry Training Organisation aligned Unit Standard competencies. You will learn a mixture of theory and practical construction work and complete an NZQA Certificate in Carpentry.


Qualified personnel will be given the opportunity to undertake additional study in the Level 4 New Zealand Certificate in Construction Related Trades (Supervisor) to enable you to qualify as a site foreman and project manager.

Once you have completed your apprenticeship training you will be required to give a two year return of service to the NZ Army.

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Salary and benefits

Careers in the Army are well-rewarded, diverse and exciting. As you become more experienced and move up through the ranks, gaining additional skills and qualifications, your salary will rise accordingly.


Under Initial Training


Starting Trade Training


Future Potential Earnings

Figures updated on July 1st 2023

Benefits and allowances

Earn a competitive salary while training or learning your trade, along with additional allowances for time spent in the field, at sea, overseas, or deployed on operations.

In addition to salary and allowances, other benefits of joining the New Zealand Defence Force include:

Access to your Service marae or tūrangawaewae

Sponsored tertiary study programmes at all levels

Free access to gyms and swimming pools on camp and bases

Opportunities to travel

Free and subsidised medical and dental care

Subsidised food and accommodation on camps and bases

Free and subsidised insurance cover

Help to buy a home and save for retirement

Entry requirements



Fitness and Medical


Period of Service

  • You must be at least 17 years of age
  • Meet the citizenship and security requirements to gain CV security clearance for this trade
  • A Class 1 restricted driver’s licence is recommended, but is not compulsory
  • Any practical or construction experience will make you a more competitive applicant

3 years secondary school.

Note, that qualifications may be used to assess trade suitability.

  • You must be medically fit for service.
  • Colour perception restrictions may apply.

There are strict citizenship and security requirements to gain the required CV security clearance for this trade.

Find out if you’re eligible here.

Once you have completed training you will be required to give a two year return of service to the NZ Army.

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