Where do apprentices end up?
Key findings

This study provides insights into the workforce outcomes of ITO alumni. This may help ITOs and employers reflect on their training and support provided for ITO graduates. All industries explored had similar retention rates of apprentices in a related industry of roughly 50%. However, the proportion of those that moved into self-employed differed between industries, likely due to the nature of these industries. Across all industries, younger trainees demonstrated higher retention rates but showed slower progression into self-employment.


When reviewing training programmes and graduate support, ITOs may find it useful to investigate the outcomes of their graduates. An ITO or employer may be looking for insight into how to increase retention rates of their employees in their industry. They should consider looking into possible contributing factors to an individual staying, such as their age and gender in their industry or another.

This report provided insights into where apprentices have historically ended up after starting their training and highlights some key trends around retention rates.

Primary activities after starting training

Each year after starting training with an ITO, apprentices were tracked by whether they were still enrolled in training, employed in industries related to training, training at other tertiary organisations, employed in other industries or are overseas. The chart below shows this data over time.

There is a sharp decline in the proportion of trainees in the years after starting ITO training, mostly due to the individual finishing their qualification. Most apprentices became an employee in a related industry and a small proportion continued to become an employer in a related industry. The construction sector has the largest proportion of their graduates’ transition into self-employment in a related industry. This is likely due to the nature of this sector and the self-employment opportunities it provides.

After starting ITO training, the proportion of trainees that entered additional training at an alternative institution increases. It is unclear at this stage the proportion of those that were partaking in further training within a related industry or obtaining business knowledge to go on to become self-employed, or something else entirely.

Download data


Between the years of 2007 to 2016 we collect all new apprentices starting training at BCITO, Competenz, or Skills Org. From these apprentices we first determine which program they are enrolled in through NZSCED codes and determine whether they complete their program.

With this cohort we then determine their primary activities each year after starting their apprenticeship. We rank activities in order of:

  1. ITO training
  2. Tertiary study
  3. Polytechnic study
  4. Secondary schooling
  5. Employer
  6. Employee
  7. Beneficiary
  8. Overseas

Where an apprentice still enrolled in ITO training but also employed in a given year will be reported as still in training but not also an employee.

Results are then summarised in counts of apprentices in each activity each year after starting training.

Destinations by age

Older trainees spend less time training and are more likely to end up as an employee in another industry. The younger apprentices have higher retention rates in a related industry. The younger the trainee is, the more likely they are to become an employer in a related industry. However, the older the trainee the quicker the progression is into self-employment.


Destinations of men and women

Women tend to spend less time as an ITO trainee and are more likely to become an employee in another industry. 10 years after starting ITO training, only 0.47% of women become employers in a related industry, while for men the rate is 2.84%. Women are more likely to become a tertiary student than men in the years after starting ITO training.



Where do apprentices arrive from?

Only 12% of apprentices start training the year after finishing secondary school.


Apprentices progression into self-employment

Find out how quickly apprentices become self-employed