As a Plumber, Gasfitter and Drain layer in the Army, you will work on a huge variety of tasks and equipment from providing amenities in camps and bases to assisting in repairing damaged buildings. You will earn trade certified qualifications and be called upon everywhere the Army goes.

The New Zealand Army has many installations and camps around the country, and often is deployed on humanitarian and peacekeeping missions around the world. All of these places require plumbers to ensure the amenities function properly. You will be provided with all the tools and the knowledge required to competently complete any task set for you. You will have all the skills expected of a civilian plumber, with the added training afforded to a soldier in a modern army.

The role of a Plumber, Gasfitter and Drain layer on camp is to conduct routine maintenance of existing camp facilities. Plumbers are called upon for a variety of tasks including inspection and replacement of pipes to installation and fit out of new facilities.

As well as your day to day plumbing responsibilities you will also continue your soldier training including weapons, medical and radio/communications training.

A vital role of Plumbers in the Army is assisting with the initial construction and maintenance of plumbing, gas fitting and drain laying facilities of deployed camp facilities such as the Provincial Re-construction Team (PRT) operating in Afghanistan.

RNZE personnel can be found in small contingents around the globe. Places they have previously been deployed include Antarctica, Mozambique, USA, East Timor, Australia, South Pacific Islands, Bosnia and Iraq.

As you progress though your career you will get the opportunity to gain foreman and senior project manager qualifications related to your trade.

In time you will be eligible to be posted to Burnham or even back to the School of Military Engineering as one of the plumbing instructors.

Careers in the Army are well-rewarded, as well as being diverse and exciting. As you become more experienced and move up through the ranks, gaining additional skills and qualifications, you will see your salary rise accordingly.

While undertaking initial Recruit Course you will be paid as a Recruit (see attached pay table). On completion of your Recruit Course you will be paid as a Private and your pay will continue to increase as your career progresses.

  • You must be at least 17 years of age.
  • Meet the citizenship & security requirements to gain CV security clearance for this trade.

You must have achieved NCEA level 1 with a minimum of 12 credits in level 1 Science.

Find out more about the NCEA levels and certificate requirements

  • You must be medically fit for service.
  • Colour perception restrictions may apply.

Once you have completed training you will be required to give a two year return of service to the NZ Army.

Upon successful enlistment into the Army you will be posted to Waiouru Army base. Here you will do 16 weeks of basic military training to find out if you have what it takes to be in the Army, and learn various subjects including:

  • Organisation and Administration
  • Army Customs and Protocol
  • Drill and Parades
  • Military Field Skills and Weapon Training
  • First Aid
  • Physical Fitness


This is an eight week course held at the School of Military Engineering, Linton Military Camp. This is the first course conducted for most trades within the Royal New Zealand Engineers. It introduces you to the combat side of being an engineer before you undertake your specific trade.

The course covers the basics of field engineering including bridging, water supply, explosives, field defences, obstacles, booby traps, boating and other subjects. After the course, you will have a good understanding of field engineering and also be qualified as an Army (explosives) Demolition Handler.


The plumbing, gas fitting and drain laying apprenticeship takes about three years to complete. During the period, you will attend five three-week courses at WelTech. You will be taught a combination of theory and practical skills, and assessed on what you have learned as required by the New Zealand Qualifications Authority.

At the completion of your apprenticeship, you will have gained a National Certificate in Plumbing, Gas fitting and Drain laying. The next step is to sit the advanced Trade Certificates exams (known as Craftsman exams). Within five years, you could be a Craftsman Qualified Plumber and Gasfitter. You may also be able to attend advanced courses on water sanitisation and reticulation.

As a Plumber in the Army, you’ll qualify to NZQA recognized standards and will achieve your Plumber, Gasfitter and Drain Layer qualification.

Your first posting will be to the School of Military Engineering, Linton Military Camp. You will join a motivated team under the Senior Plumbing Instructor and for the next two years you will be taught how to be a plumber, gasfitter and drain layer.

After two years, you will be posted to the plumbing section at 25 Engineer Support Squadron where you will be eligible for overseas trips.