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New Zealand Certificate in Plumbing, Gasfitting and Drainlaying (Pre-Apprenticeship)

New Zealand Certificate in Plumbing, Gasfitting and Drainlaying (Pre-Apprenticeship)

Level 3

UCOL's New Zealand Certificate in Plumbing, Gasfitting and Drainlaying (Pre-Apprenticeship) (Level 3) provides you with the skills, knowledge and attitudes you will need to kick-start your career in the plumbing, gasfitting and drainlaying industry.

Open tap and a sink
Quick info

Level: 3

Locations: UCOL Manawatū in Palmerston North, UCOL Wairarapa in Masterton

Duration: 23 weeks full-time
Part-time option available.
(See Course Hours & Duration for details)

Palmerston North
16 May 2022 - 21 Oct 2022

25 Jul 2022 - 16 Dec 2022

Domestic Fees: *
$2855.46 [Eligible for fees-free (up to $6,500 per year) until 30 June 2023.]Scholarship info

International Fees:*
Please enquire for details

Additional Fees
Compulsory course costs may apply.

* Fees are indicative only, and are inclusive of the student services levy and GST (goods and services tax). The fee shown is for one year of study.

The programme covers water supply systems, building envelop, drainlaying, plumbing maintenance and foul water, and introduction to gasfitting. Graduates will be capable of assisting with work undertaken by a licensed Plumber, Gasfitter, or Drainlayer under supervision and will be ready to enter into an apprenticeship that will lead to a New Zealand Level 4 trade qualification in one or more of the plumbing, gasfitting or drainlaying trades.

The qualification is common to all three trades and is suitable for those who wish to enter the industry and do not yet have an apprenticeship agreement.


Don’t miss your chance to study fees-free under the Targeted Training and Apprenticeships Fund (TTAF).

Te Pūkenga – the New Zealand Institute of Skills and Technology, of which UCOL is a subsidiary, has extended the TTAF funding until 30 June 2023 if your studies begin in 2022!

This programme is eligible for fees-free study under TTAF.

You don’t need to apply to access the Fund - just enrol in an eligible 2022 programme, and the Fund will take care of the programme’s fees until 30 June 2023.

Get enrolled now! Please contact the info centre for more details.

COVID-19 Vaccination Mandate

The New Zealand Government COVID-19 Mandate Order requires the following workers to be vaccinated: 

  • health and disability sector workers
  • prison staff
  • border and MIQ workers.

As well as that, private companies and organisations have the right to require staff to be vaccinated.

Therefore, to go on placement or an internship that is a part of your programme, you must meet COVID-19 vaccination requirements. You can see more information on UCOL's Covid-19 page and on the Unite Against Covid-19 website.

 Course Hours & Duration

This programme runs for 23 weeks, including 2 holiday weeks.

Per week, your learning will include approximately:

Class Time
24 hrs

Lectures, tutorials and/or online recordings.
Timetable set by your lecturer.
Study Time
9.5 hrs

Study in your own time.

You can also choose to study part-time. Talk to us about your options with this programme

 Career & Study Outcomes

Graduates of this qualification will be able to:

  • Present themselves appropriately for work, follow instructions, and work within the limits of their own knowledge while recognising the consequence of actions on work relationships and performance.
  • Communicate using oral, written, and digital formats to clarify and report on work-related tasks; to interact respectfully with colleagues and clients; and to work effectively as part of a team.
  • Use recognised methods and processes to perform basic trade-related tasks to assist work undertaken by a licensed Plumber, Gasfitter or Drainlayer.
  • Accept responsibility for actions and ask relevant questions about workplace processes to ensure correct understanding of supervisor instructions and expected work outputs.
  • Apply safe working procedures and practices; identify and control hazards in a working environment; and understand basic electrical principles relevant to plumbing, gasfitting and drainlaying work contexts to keep oneself safe.
  • Work with an understanding of the roles and the regulatory environment for plumbing, gasfitting, and drainlaying.

Study Outcome:

On completion of this qualification, graduates may progress into one of the Level 4 Certificates: New Zealand Certificate in Plumbing (Level 4), New Zealand Certificate in Gasfitting (Level 4) or New Zealand Certificate in Drainlaying (Level 4).

Career Outcome:

The roles that this qualification may lead to are plumbing apprentice, gasfitting apprentice, or drainlaying apprentice.

Graduates may also be able to work in areas such as plumbing, gasfitting or drainlaying wholesaling or retailing as a counter salesperson.

 Course Information

Note: As a subsidiary of Te Pūkenga - New Zealand Institute of Skills and Technology,11 UCOL is committed to providing the best learning outcome for you. As part of this, all programmes are currently being reviewed to make them portable, consistent, and closely aligned with the needs of the industry. When published, this course information is correct, but the courses offered may change over time.

This programme consists of 77 credits. The courses includes:

Water supply systems (15 Credit)
Students will develop the foundation knowledge and practical skills to assist with the installation of hot and cold water installations; manage and apply first aid, and prepares work capabilities as they undertake project based work., After this course, you will be able to:

  • Provide first aid and demonstrate site safe principles.
  • Work safely with electricity.
  • Describe and assist with installing hot and cold water reticulation systems.
  • Assist with installing and commissioning a low pressure, tank-fed hot water cylinder.

Building Envelope (15 Credit)
Students will gain the general practical and theoretical knowledge of the principles related to weather tightness in plumbing and gasfitting. After this course, you will be able to:

  • Work safely at height.
  • Describe the main principles of weather tightness in plumbing and gasfitting.
  • Describe methods of preserving the structural integrity and prevention of damage to the property.
  • Install watertight roof and wall cladding pipe penetration systems.
  • Install basic roof cladding and flashings.

Drainlaying (15 Credit)
students will learn basic knowledge and practical skills to assist with drainage system and installation and further develop work readiness capabilities. After this course, you will be able to:

  • Plan a confined space entry.
  • Identify hazards associated with confined spaces.
  • Excavate, shore and backfill a trench.
  • Identify and assist with installing drainage pipework and components.

Plumbing maintenance and foul water (15 Credit)
Students will develop foundation knowledge and practical skills to assist with the installation of foul water plumbing systems and perform basic plumbing maintenance, under supervision, and further develop work readiness capabilities. After this course, you will be able to:

  • Describe biohazards, in relation to plumbing and drainlaying work.
  • Identify and assist with installing basic foul water plumbing systems.
  • Assist with installing basic plumbing fixtures.
  • Maintain taps and assist with maintaining valves.

Introduction to Gasfitting (15 Credit)
Students will gain the foundation knowledge and skills to assist with flueing and ventilation; consumer gas pipework; gas appliances and their application and; adds capabilities in work readiness. After this course, you will be able to:

  • Demonstrate knowledge of hazards and precautions for working with gas in plumbing and gasfitting, including combustion principles.
  • Identify and assist with installing appropriate gas pipework and components.
  • Identify and assist with installing a flue system.
  • Describe basic gas appliance controls and their operation.

 Domestic Entry Requirements

NCEA Level 1 (including Literacy 10 credits and Numeracy 10 Credits)


Equivalent academic achievement


On a case-by-case basis at the discretion of the Executive Dean

English language proficiency
If English is not your first language, you must also demonstrate English language skills equivalent to an IELTS overall band score (academic) of 5 with no band score less than 5 (or equivalent including TOEFL). IELTS scores used must be taken from a single IELTS Test Report Form (i.e. combining scores from more than one test is not permissible). UCOL is a TOEFL testing centre.


For more information about NCEA Credits see UCOL's NCEA explained page.

 International Entry Requirements

In addition to the Domestic Entry Requirements, the following applies to international student applicants.

English language proficiency
International student applicants whose first language is not English must have an IELTS Academic score of 5 with no band score lower than 5 (or equivalent including TOEFL). IELTS scores used must be taken from a single IELTS Test Report Form (i.e. combining scores from more than one test is not permissible). UCOL is a TOEFL testing centre.

Under 20 years of age
In addition to this, international applicants under 20 years of age must have NCEA equivalency.

 Advice & Guidance

As UCOL becomes Te Pūkenga on 1 January 2023, learners enrolling in a programme that is likely to continue into semester 1 2023 or starting in semester 1 2023 will become Te Pūkenga learners. They will receive their qualification from Te Pūkenga on completion.

To successfully complete this programme, students need to be aware of the physical demands required for this career pathway.

Students must supply their own equipment as specified in the Student Handbook.

To optimise chances of student success, 100% attendance is strongly recommended.  

Recognition of prior learning
Applications for Recognition of Prior Learning, including Cross Credit, Credit Transfer and Assessment of Prior Learning may be made on the Recognition of Prior Learning Form where a student believes all learning outcomes for a course have already been met. Applications will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis in accordance with the UCOL Academic Statute and other relavant policies and procedures.

Application checklist
It will make the process easier if you prepare the following before you apply:

  • National Student Number (NSN) (If you don't have a NSN, you may request one from NZQA, or you can supply a verified copy of your birth certificate, passport or Whakapapa statement.)
  • Evidence of your highest level of academic achievement (and evidence of prior learning, if applicable)
  • Evidence that you meet the entry requirements of the programme
  • Check if you're eligible for additional support or a scholarship. If you're 19 years or younger, you may be eligible to enrol in one of our free Youth Transition programmes.

Note that you will need to provide any verified documents in person, via post or email (not via the online application form).


The programme is approved by the New Zealand Qualifications Authority under the provisions of the Education Act 1989, and Universal College of Learning (UCOL) is accredited to teach it.