Additional BCATS outcomes
Key findings

BCATS, or the National Certificate in Building, Construction and Allied Trades Skills, aims to guide students towards a career in a related industry. This study expands on Evaluating BCATS by tracking additional outcomes. It was found that on average, students that completed the BCATS standards have a smaller time gap between finishing secondary school and starting their apprenticeship with BCITO. BCATS alumni are also more likely than non-BCATS alumni to complete their training. Individuals with BCATS experience are expected to start working in construction sooner and remain in the sector for longer than those with no experience.


BCATS refers to ‘Building, Construction, and Allied Trades Skills’, which is a suite of Level 1, 2, and 3 unit standards and qualifications. They are primarily designed to provide secondary school students with a good grounding in a broad range of relevant skills and knowledge. These help prepare students for post-school success in BCATS industries. In a previous study on the BCATS standards (see here), it was found that about 10% of school leavers complete a BCATS standards each year, and those who did were 2.6 times as likely to enrol in an apprenticeship with BCITO. This report extends this evaluation by tracking additional outcomes of school leavers that went on to start an apprenticeship with BCITO, including the time between leaving school and starting training, training completion rates, time to complete training, and retention rates within the construction sector. This is conducted by comparing those who did a BCATS standard with those that did not.

Gap between school and BCITO enrollment

The chart below illustrates the time it takes for school leavers to enrol with BCITO. It is broken down by whether the student took the BCATS standards, and if so, the highest level they completed. It can be observed that on average BCATS alumni take one and a half years between finishing school and starting training with BCITO, while those with no qualification took over a year longer. This suggests that the BCATS standards decrease the expected time individuals spend between school and starting an apprenticeship with BCITO.

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From apprentices starting each year with BCITO we track the gap between leaving school (2009 and after) and starting training.

Completion rates

The chart below demonstrates the completion rate of an apprenticeship with BCITO broken down by previous engagement with the BCATS. It can be observed that individuals that completed BCATS at secondary school are more likely to complete their training. Of those that completed the level 2 BCATS standard and started an apprenticeship in 2013, 69% of them completed their training with BCITO within 5 years, compared to a 56% completion rate for those with no completed BCATS standards.

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We track completion of apprentices each year after starting training. Apprentices are limited to school leavers in 2009 and after and broken down by BCATS standards while at high school.

Time to complete training

The chart below shows that there is no significant difference in the time taken to complete an apprenticeship for those that completed a BCATS standard and those that did not.

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Of apprentices starting each year we track the number of months between starting training and completing training by 2020.

Apprentices are limited to school leavers 2009 and broken down by BCATS standards completed whilst at high school.

Employment in construction

This chart demonstrates the likelihood of an individual holding a job in construction based on their experience with the BCATS standards. Those that completed a BCATS standard were almost twice as likely to have held a job in the construction sector than those with no BCATS experience.

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Gap between school and first construction job

This chart demonstrates the time gap between finishing school and starting a job in construction. Those that completed a BCATS standard took just over two years on average to start a job in construction, while those that did not complete a BCATS standard took almost four years.

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Retention in construction

The chart below summarises the total time spent working in the construction sector until the end of 2020. The average BCATS alumni worked within the industry for four years, whereas those that did not complete a BCATS standard spent on average 2 years working in construction.

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Access to the data used in this study was provided by Stats NZ under conditions designed to give effect to the security and confidentiality provisions of the Data and Statistics Act 2022. The results presented in this study are the work of the author, not Stats NZ or individual data suppliers.

These results are not official statistics. They have been created for research purposes from the Integrated Data Infrastructure (IDI) which is carefully managed by Stats NZ. For more information about the IDI please visit

The results are based in part on tax data supplied by Inland Revenue to Stats NZ under the Tax Administration Act 1994 for statistical purposes. Any discussion of data limitations or weaknesses is in the context of using the IDI for statistical purposes, and is not related to the data's ability to support Inland Revenue's core operational requirements.


Evaluating BCATS

Analyse the effectiveness of BCATS in guiding students towards trades training

workforce supply Secondary to workforce bcats Talent attraction Secondary to tertiary