New Sign Making Unit Standards Officially Published

Throughout this year the NZSDA together with a small working group of passionate Sign Makers from throughout the country from small to large sign shops spent many hours on zoom meetings revising and reshaping the Sign Making Unit Standards for Apprenticeships.  Thinking of now and the future ahead together with Hanga-Aro-Rau Manufacturing, Engineering and Logistics Workforce Development Group developed a new sign-making qualification that focuses on new processes and practices.  One major change is the Traditional Specialisation Strand of sign-making.  With no enrolments over the past 3-5 years for this strand of 400 hours (40 credits) highlighted to us all that maybe it was time to rethink how we incorporate the traditional sign writing into the qualifications without losing where we came from.  It become very clear that in many of today’s modern sign shops it is hard to teach as there is not a lot of opportunity to practice this work, especially for apprentices, and certainly not 400 hours’ worth.  Therefore, looking ahead at what other aspects of sign-making has since developed over the past few years, installation was one aspect of sign-making that has become a specialised part of this industry.  With this said a new strand for Installation of 400 hours (40 credits) was developed.  Traditional remains but has been reduced to 100 hours (10 credits), and also been absorbed into other standards throughout the sign qualification.  Many other changes were made throughout the unit standards, specifically, correcting the context around the questions asked in the unit standards, ensuring that they are fit for purpose for the scenario, the learner, and the outcomes.

We have been told that these changes to the qualification have been published on the NZQA website, or view here:

For those interested in the Specialisation Units, and in particular the Installation view the link here: Domain – Sign Making – Specialisation (

The changes have been approved, and now the programmes for the learners must be developed with Hanga-Aro-Rau Manufacturing, Engineering and Logistics Workforce Development Group and Competenz.  The timeframe for the new standards to be made available to new apprentices is yet to be confirmed but looking as early as 2023.  The current Unit Standards will remain until replaced and will not expire until 2025.