Here at Fonterra, you can ‘earn while you learn’ and have the opportunity to become a qualified Mechanical Technician, Industrial Electrician, Fleet Services Technician or Dairy Processing Operator through one of our four apprenticeships.

As the world’s largest exporter of dairy products and New Zealand’s largest employer,  we offer apprenticeships that build long-term careers and provide our people with game changing experiences, learning, knowledge, growth and connections. Completing an apprenticeship is just a start point in your journey; with transferable skills and real-time experiences, a whole world of opportunity will open up for you. 

We partner with great training providers and set you up with experienced and knowledgeable mentors who are part of the supportive network you will have through your apprenticeship.  This allows you to gain the knowledge and technical skillset to complement all of your learning and development experiences.

 

What is an Apprenticeship?

As an apprentice you work for and learn from an employer who supports you through your apprenticeship in completing a nationally recognised qualification. You complete practical on-the-job assessments, theory work and depending on your apprenticeship you may attend classes away from the workplace. You develop not only knowledge, skills and experiences relevant to your qualification but at the same time gain real life work experience and life long skills. 

What also makes our apprenticeships different is the additional development you’ll get.  We provide learning opportunities in personal financial management, project management, career management, and other valuable areas that will help set you up for a career beyond your qualification.

 

Mechanical Apprenticeship

Do you enjoy figuring out how things work? Do you wonder how machines are put together? Are you passionate about Mechanical Engineering and want to train with the best? 

 

This is your chance to learn a trade from New Zealand’s largest company and gain a qualification that will give you a head start in your career! 

 

As a Mechanical Apprentice at Fonterra, you’ll be learning new skills and become qualified in a challenging and varied profession. Through a mix of block courses, online learning and fantastic hands-on training, you’ll learn alongside our highly experienced and qualified Maintenance teams while getting exposure to all areas of the manufacturing site.

With your passion and affinity for mechanics, you’ll work closely with our dedicated team, focusing on preventative maintenance and fault diagnostics. Throughout the apprenticeship, you’ll learn how to proactively maintain a huge variety of cutting-edge technology from pumps and valves through to multi-million dollar assets.

You’ll also gain exposure to site utilities including boilers and water treatment plants, and get to learn about planning work, shut down maintenance, and assist with troubleshooting and breakdowns – there’s plenty of variety here!

Initially, you’ll be working from Monday to Friday on-site before progressing into shift work experience. The theory-based work will be spread across the duration of your apprenticeship so that it aligns to the practical work you’ll be involved with - all contributing toward a New Zealand Certificate in Mechanical Engineering - Maintenance Level 4.

Fleet Services Apprenticeship

Do you like the idea of working on big trucks?  Have you always tinkered with engines? 

 

You have the opportunity to earn yourself a New Zealand Certificate in Heavy Automotive Engineering Level 4 as a Fleet Services Apprentice at Fonterra.

This apprenticeship is ideal for people who have a love for hands-on work and problem solving.

There is plenty of variety, no day is the same - from preventative maintenance to keeping our fleet of more than 400 tankers on the road through to computer diagnostics and fault finding with cutting edge technology. The learning opportunities are endless. 

The apprenticeship consists of a combination of online learning, on-the-job assessments and block courses across four years. 

 

Electrical Apprenticeship

Do you enjoy rewiring things? Are you keen on building bots? Interested in Electrical Engineering? 

We have opportunities every year for passionate future industrial electricians to come and train with our world class team. If you want to kick-start your career in the electrical trade while working for New Zealand’s largest company; and have always had an interest in electrical processes and gadgets then apply now!

As an Electrical Apprentice at Fonterra, you’ll be learning new skills and become qualified in a challenging and varied profession. Through a mix of block course lessons, theory and fantastic hands-on training, you’ll learn alongside our highly experienced and qualified Maintenance teams while getting exposure to all areas of the manufacturing site.

With your passion and affinity for electrical work, you’ll work closely with our dedicated team, focusing on everything from wiring equipment and helping with equipment breakdowns to preventative maintenance and fault diagnostics. Throughout the apprenticeship, you’ll learn how to proactively maintain a huge variety of the industry’s cutting-edge technology including PLC's packing and process equipment, and exposure to site utilities such as boilers. You’ll also learn about planning work, shut down maintenance, and assist with troubleshooting and breakdowns – there’s plenty of variety here!

Initially, you’ll be working from Monday to Friday on-site before progressing into shift work experience. The theory-based work will be spread across the duration of your apprenticeship so that it aligns to the practical work you’ll be involved with - all contributing toward a New Zealand Certificate in Electrical Engineering - Industrial Level 4.

Dairy Processing Apprenticeship

Are you a natural problem solver? Have you ever wondered how food makes its way from grass to your glass? 

 

Keen to know how we make thousands of tons of food that is safe to send all around the world every day? As a Dairy Processing Apprentice you will work toward a New Zealand Certificate in Dairy Processing Level 4.

The Dairy Processing Apprenticeship is ideal for you if you've got a strong passion for food and are keen to get a great head start in a career in dairy processing.

This isn’t just about putting milk powder in bags - it’s about understanding how we take the amazing milk provided by our farmers and turning it into the huge variety of finished products we all enjoy. From Cheese to Whey Powder or Butter you will get exposure to a number of different products and learn first hand how seriously we take food safety and quality. The learning opportunities are endless.

This apprenticeship consists of a combination of computer based distance learning materials, on-job learning and on-job assessments across 2½ years.

Frequently Asked Questions 

 

What is an apprenticeship? 

As an apprentice you work for and learn from an employer who supports you through your apprenticeship in completing a nationally recognised qualification. You complete practical on-the-job assessments, theory work and depending on your apprenticeship you may attend classes away from the workplace. You develop not only knowledge, skills and experiences relevant to your qualification but at the same time gaining real life working experience and life long skills.

I can't decide between going to Uni, doing an apprenticeship or something else...

If you're interested in tertiary education, but don't fancy spending 3 years living away from home at uni and accumulating a large student debt, then an apprenticeship is a great career choice.  You might also prefer hands-on learning rather than books and want to get out into the world of work, whilst still continuing to learn, grow and gain career qualifications. 

How long does it take?

Our apprenticeships take between 2.5 - 4  years, depending on your chosen field:

· Apprenticeship in Mechanical Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Heavy Automotive Engineering all take around 4 years

· Apprenticeship in Dairy Processing takes 2½ years

I've heard apprenticeships take 8,000 hours - what's that about?

Most trade apprenticeships are 4 years or 8,000 hours. This relates to the amount of practical work experience and formal learning required to be a competent tradesperson.  It is based on the typical 40-hour working week.... so 50 weeks a year at 40 hours a week equates to about 2,000 hours per year. Most of our apprenticeships are 4 years because 4 years x 2,000 hours is 8,000 hours.

Are there any Exams?

Each apprenticeship has different assessments relevant to the qualification, but for the electrical apprenticeship, you need to pass exams and on the job assessments.

What are the fees?

As well as paying you a wage, Fonterra also covers the cost of training fees for your qualification.

 

 

What age do I need to be? 

Our apprenticeships are open to anyone over 16 years of age and there is no upper age limit.

What are the entry requirements?

We look for lots of things in our successful candidates including:

· NCEA Level 2 English and Maths (plus science or physics for our Electrical Apprentices)

· Experience working well with others (e.g. work, sports teams, volunteering, clubs and groups)

· Being able to quickly learn and pick up new information

· A great communicator who isn’t scared of numbers

· A great attitude, motivated and a true passion in your chosen field

· A current drivers licence would be a bonus

What about a pre-trade? Does it help?

A level 3 course (often called a pre-trade) is beneficial in that it gives you insights into what your chosen industry will be like during and after you have completed your apprenticeship. Work experience is another great way to get exposure to jobs and the industry. However, because we give you all the learning and experience you need it's not essential.

Are the tools required to be an apprentice provided?

For our Mechanical, Electrical and Fleet Service apprenticeships, you will be issued with tools you need to do the job.

What if I haven't got my NCEA exam results? 

If you are currently sitting your NCEA Level 2 exams then still apply!  We would need to be confident you were going to pass but don't let it stop you applying if you meet the other entry requirements.

Where can I go with this?

Anywhere - once you finish your apprenticeship you are now on your career journey. There are many pathways including a technical expert, leadership roles or a master of your craft.

What do I get from this Apprenticeship?

Lots! We pay you an apprentice wage while you complete your New Zealand certificate level 4 in your selected field.  On top of this, you gain highly transferable and valuable broader life skills that help you become a well-rounded person, real-life working experience, introduction to a strong network of people on-site as well as being part of a 20,000 global team delivering dairy goodness to the world

 

Where do I sign up?

Create a profile here and our Fonterra Early Career page on Facebook for when jobs will open up.

What happens after I apply?

If you choose to apply (which you really should!) we will ask you some online questions upfront to learn more about you in relation to the apprenticeship you have applied for. For more information about applying for a position click here.

Where are the apprenticeships available?

We have apprentices located from Northland to Southland.

How many apprentices/trainees do you hire per year?

It varies depending on how many apprentices we need every year. We recruit for apprentices twice a year - one to line up with the end of the school year and a mid-year intake too.

When are the roles available?

We advertise in October for a January start, and then again in May for a July start.

 

 

 

Where are the apprenticeships available?

We have apprentices located in Northland, Waikato, Bay of Plenty, Taranaki, Manawatu, Canterbury and Southland.

How many apprentices/trainees do you hire per year?

It varies depending on how many apprentices we need every year. This year we are employing over 20 apprentices. We recruit for apprentices twice a year - one to line up with the end of the school year and a mid-year intake too.

When are the roles available?

We advertise in October for a January start, and then again in May for a July start.

Who is Fonterra?

We are a New Zealand Co-operative made up of everyday good people who work together to do good things with dairy. Good things with the land we work on and good things for the people that our products end up with.