Apprenticeship Scholarship Trust

The AST is a trust formed to support Apprentices in times of hardship. This trust is kindly supported by regions of the New Zealand Certified Builders Association and various building partners.

How it all started…

“In 2002 at the Northland Polytechnic in Whangarei there was an Apprentice who was attending his second two week block course as part of his second year of training. His employer was not paying him to attend his block courses and he was not in a good financial situation.  He was however, very keen to complete his Apprenticeship and become a qualified tradesman and too proud to confess that he was short of money.

He was so keen that he drove his van down from Kaitaia to Whangarei about 170kms and had used up most of his money on petrol to get to his block course. When he arrived at Tech he parked his van in the car park at the end of the Carpentry building and this is where he lived and slept for two weeks while attending his course.  He lived on bread and spread and a hot drink that he made himself in the little kitchen at the end of the workshop.

It was not until Thursday of the second week that I found out what he was doing.  As one of his tutors, I was shocked to think what he was doing as I could have given him a bed at home and dinner.

I then recited this tale to one of the New Zealand Certified Builders board members over a couple of beers in the north and he, like myself was shocked to think that an Apprentice would go to these lengths to get his qualifications. His comment to me was “If they are this keen to complete their apprenticeship then surely the NZCBA can help and support them in some way”.

The concept of forming a trust to support Apprentices was taken to the next NZCB board meeting where each area/region was asked to do something to raise money for the trust. The Far North ran their annual trade show and Auckland raised a large amount of money by holding a Builders Golf Tournament at Waitangi. All the profit from these events went in to the fund and that was enough to set the ball rolling.”

With thanks to the trust, Apprentices throughout New Zealand are now able to become qualified trades people with some of the hardship and hurdles made easier.  (The trust is a registered charity, which gratefully receives donations.)

AST Background:

New Zealand Certified Builders Association wishes to:

  • promote and provide pathways in industry training
  • provide scholarships for training
  • provide a general fund for those in need to undertake training
  • provide for general advancement of education of apprentices and other persons within the industry


Brian Dillon – Chairperson, ITAB
Dave Whitehead – Vice Chairperson, ITAB
Mike Craig – Board Member, NZCB & ITAB
Marc Palmer – Board Member, ITAB
Nick Matthews – General Manager, ITAB

Apply Now (Conditions Apply)

  1. All grant applications are considered at the absolute discretion of the AST Trustees.
  2. Grants for power tools and other mechanical tools are not covered as a rule, and by exception at the discretion of the Trustees.
  3. All applications should include complete supporting information as required.
  4. Apprentices who are applying for a grant should have been active in their ITAB apprenticeship training for a minimum of 12 months prior to the date of their applications. The Trustees will consider applications where training has been undertaken in a shorter timeframe in exceptional circumstances only.
  5. Employers are requested to state how they support the apprentice in their training e.g. providing a tool allowance, paid time when attending block training courses, applying for employer training subsidies etc. This information can be supplied in an email or letter from the employer and uploaded to the “supporting documents” section of the application form.
  6. Where further information is requested from the AST Trust to support an application and this is not provided to the AST Trust within 30 days of the request then the application will be lapsed and a new application will be required if a further grant is to be applied for.