Careers in glass & glazing

A career in glass and glazing opens up a huge variety of possibilities – from running your own installation business to joining a large construction company or working on new glass-processing technologies.

The right kind of glass, correctly fitted, is essential for ensuring New Zealand’s homes and offices stay warm, dry, healthy, functional and presentable. With a history dating back several millennia, the glass and glazing industry now uses cutting-edge computer technology and innovative processes that are continually improving.

Starting from an apprenticeship, a career in glazing spans a wide range of options: from installing (in vehicles and boats, windows, balustrades and façades) to processing and preparing glass using a range of specialist equipment. Glaziers and glass processors are in high demand: some 2,700 are needed for new and replacement roles by 2024.

Whether you’re interested in joining the construction or automotive industries, doing commercial or residential installations, processing glass, or working towards a supervisory or instructing role, the glass and glazing industry offers a varied and rewarding career path, with the opportunity to develop specialised skills that will always be sought after.

A career in glass & glazing

These videos by BCITO and Just the Job give you an insight into the range of career opportunities in glass & glazing.

Trade up to a career in glass & glazing BCITO

Preparing for your glass & glazing off job training course

A wide variety of jobs and roles

From office to factory to site, the industry offers variety and career progression.

Office teams

Branch manager

Team leader with managerial skills, a glass industry background, and ideally a degree in business management.

You are responsible for the operations of a regional branch, ensuring that production is sustained effectively and consistently in all departments. You will have oversight on such areas as staff performance, hiring, onboarding and training; productivity targets and incentives; and standard operating procedures and implementation of company policy. It’s a role that rewards a natural team leader who can work closely with the management team to foster interdepartmental collaboration, grow the client list, maximise efficiency and output, and promote the company’s brand. Prior knowledge of glass and windows is less important than the ability to lead and communicate, so this post will typically go to someone from a management background.

Ideal qualification: bachelor’s degree in business management

Computer literacy: yes

Sales manager

Self-motivated communicator and team leader who enjoys contact with clients.

You will be leading a sales team dealing directly with clients via telephone, email or face-to-face consultations. As manager, you will ensure the team operates efficiently and meets its sales targets, onboarding new sales staff and organising ongoing training, and liaising with management and other departments. This role suits someone with leadership and team-building skills, ideally gained from prior experience in a similar role. Excellent customer service skills and computer literacy are called for, too, but knowledge of the glass and window industry is not essential, as you will pick it up in the course of your work.

Ideal qualification: Bachelor of commerce degree in management

Computer literacy: yes

Client manager

Client-facing role suiting an excellent communicator who minds the details.

You will be keeping close contact with clients through every phase of a project, from initial consultation through to post-installation care. You will be involved in office-based or onsite meetings, follow up on any issues that arise and report them to relevant departments. Ensuring client satisfaction is vital in securing good referrals and repeat business, so this role suits an excellent communicator who is thorough and solutions-oriented, and enjoys dealing with people.

Ideal qualification: Bachelor of commerce degree in management

Computer literacy: yes

Estimator / cost planner

A flair for maths is essential, as well as BCITO estimator qualification or quantity surveying degree.

You will be reading plans and estimating the costs of an installation project, including materials, equipment, site preparation and labour. Since you will need to understand construction and installation methods, most roles will call for two or three years’ experience. A flair for maths is a plus, and some CAD (computer-aided design) skills can be useful.

Ideal qualification: BCITO estimator certificate or quantity surveying degree

Computer literacy: yes


Likes order and structure, and loves to find efficiencies.

Working with management and the installation teams, your role will involve drawing up schedules for every stage of a project, from consultation, through estimating/planning and fabrication, to delivery and installation. You’ll maintain the schedule as the project unfolds, adjusting to unforeseen changes and liaising with all relevant departments to keep everyone on track. The job suits an analytical and detail-oriented person who can use MS Project and Excel, and who relishes order and structure in their work. At the same time, this is a creative role that rewards a flair for adaptability, multi-tasking, and finding efficiencies.

Ideal qualification:

Computer literacy: yes


Computer-literate multi-tasker who can stay calm in a busy, client-facing role.

Often a first point of contact for visitors, you’ll be playing a vital role in presenting a professional and courteous face to clients and suppliers, and in handling telephone enquiries efficiently so that they reach the right person promptly. As well as running the reception area, duties can involve overseeing incoming/outgoing mail and courier deliveries, making travel or hotel bookings/reservations for staff, and performing clerical duties ranging from photocopying to data entry. You’ll be a person who takes pride in their appearance and performance, and remains courteous and calm under pressure. Specific training is usually given on the job, but previous customer-facing experience (such as in hospitality) is an advantage.

Ideal qualification: National Certificate in Business Administration and Computing

Computer literacy: yes

Plant & fabrication teams

Plant manager

A good leader with solid hands-on experience and tech knowledge.

You are responsible for the operations of the entire plant, ensuring that production is sustained effectively in all departments and at all times. You will have oversight on such areas as staff performance, onboarding and training; productivity targets and incentives; standard operating procedures and implementation of company policy; and plant equipment maintenance and efficiency. This role is ideal for a practised team leader with a deep understanding of regulatory requirements for plant operation, gained from experience in a similar role (ideally in the glass industry), along with educational qualifications (e.g, a bachelor’s or master’s degree) in engineering or business administration. A key role such as this can lead on to a directorial opportunity.

Ideal qualification:

Computer literacy: yes

Production manager

Leader and communicator, ideally with engineering degree and production experience.

In this key leadership role you will coordinate and oversee the fabrication team, ensuring that they complete tasks on time and on budget. You will monitor their performance targets and training needs, manage interventions for continuous improvement, and adapt to the unexpected, while also making sure everyone adheres to standard operating procedures and health & safety regulations. Production managers in glass and glazing typically have a deep, broad understanding of the technology gained from production experience on the factory floor, along with a bachelor’s or master’s degree in engineering. The job suits a natural leader and communicator who knows how to get the best out of their team.

Ideal qualification: BCITO NZ Certificate in Joinery, Level 4, and Joinery for Experienced Practitioners

Computer literacy: yes

Production supervisor

Highly organised team leader, ideally with production experience.

Typically reporting to the production manager, you’ll lead a team of fabricators in their day-to-day operations, while also monitoring and driving their performance, efficiency and training to hit production targets. You will also oversee their health and safety on site. The role is often hands-on, using specific equipment and handling glass and/or framing, so it suits someone with production experience, ideally from a glass and window background, as well as supervisory experience. You’ll be self-driven, safety-focused, and a good communicator and team-builder.

Ideal qualification:

Computer literacy: yes

Plant process worker

Tools skills useful; training will be given on special equipment.

This is a hands-on role processing glass – cutting and drilling, toughening, finishing edges, using an autoline cutting machine, and more. You will learn the different types and properties of glass, along with use of relevant tools and machinery and a thorough knowledge of safety procedures. You’ll normally be working shifts at a large plant. An apprenticeship (through BCITO or various glass companies around New Zealand) is not essential, but will help you move forward in your career.

Ideal qualification:

Computer literacy: in some cases


Role with good career prospects for a trained chemical/mechanical engineer.

Engineering in glazing is a highly technical and diverse career opportunity. You may, depending on the specific role, be testing or designing new glass or ceramic composites; testing the strength and mechanical properties of glass for specific applications (such as balustrades or façades); designing plant machinery and equipment for making or processing glass; or training staff in the use of glass-related products or equipment. A glass engineer also advises manufacturers on plant layout and procedures in order to maximise production. This role suits someone with good knowledge of glass mechanics, and of manufacturing and safety procedures, and who likes keeping up with new developments in glass science. Experience from a mechanical or chemical engineering background is useful.

Ideal qualification: Bachelor’s degree in materials engineering

Computer literacy: yes

Health and safety supervisor

People person with good knowledge of H&S legislation and procedures.

As H&S supervisor in a glazing environment, your role will be critical in ensuring the safety of staff and visitors. Working onsite, you will ensure all staff follow H&S requirements and WorkSafe procedures, provide staff training in H&S, and investigate and report on all incidents. This may involve making recommendations for new procedures or safety equipment. You will help injured staff return to work, and assist them with processing accident insurance claims. This role particularly suits someone who is detail-focused, calm under pressure, good at problem-solving and decision-making, and who enjoys fostering a safety-conscious culture in the workplace.

Ideal qualification: Certificate, diploma or degree in occupational health and safety

Computer literacy: yes

Process / quality lead

Accuracy and attention to detail are key, along with communication skills.

You will analyse and evaluate existing fabrication and/or installation quality and processes, and recommend and oversee the implementation of any necessary changes, along with associated documentation, in order to improve outcomes. You’ll be a systems-driven person with excellent written and communication skills, and attention to detail. Because your role is to ensure that processes follow best practice, and that those processes are accurately documented and updated, you won’t undertake hands-on work, but some prior experience of the glass and window industry will be useful.

Ideal qualification: NZ Certificate in Manufacturing, Level 5

Computer literacy: yes

Dispatch manager

Calm, detail-oriented team leader with excellent organisational skills. HGV or forklift licence can be useful.

Working closely with project managers and customer services, you will oversee the daily distribution of good outwards, including materials bound for installation sites. This is a busy, multi-tasking role that involves monitoring the performance and safety of your team of dispatch coordinators, ensuring correct procedures are followed and making recommendations for ongoing improvements. Dispatch sometimes requires reprioritising, rerouting, and reconsolidation, so this role suits an unflappable, flexible problem-solver and decision-maker who can sometimes take a hands-on approach. Excellent communication and leadership skills are helpful, along with a focus on detail.

Ideal qualification: Specialist vehicle (HGV/forklift) licence

Computer literacy: yes

Dispatch coordinator

Organised and computer-literate multi-tasker; often a hands-on role also.

Reporting usually to a dispatch manager, you will be part of a team coordinating the loading and dispatch of outwards goods. The job also involves ensuring those in the supply chain are in compliance, signing off daily timesheets and orders, and working with the drivers to ensure all jobs are completed correctly and on time. This is a multi-tasking role calling for good communication skills, high attention to detail, and the ability to work calmly and efficiently under pressure. Computer skills (e.g., in Microsoft Office) are useful, though you’ll likely learn bespoke computer systems on the job. Sometimes the role is hands-on, helping to move and lift goods.

Ideal qualification: Forklift licence

Computer literacy: yes

Storeperson – inwards goods

Hands-on role for a fit and detailed multi-tasker; forklift licence useful.

In this hands-on role you will manage inbound componentry, such as timber jambs, aluminium extrusions and glass, and maintain stock. The daily work will include picking stores from the racks in order to supply cutters and the factory generally. This job suits a meticulously detailed person who can multi-task and operate efficiently under pressure.

Ideal qualification: Forklift licence

Computer literacy: yes

Site & installation teams

Project manager

Highly organised and self-driven; enjoys liaising with clients and team members.

You will be overseeing an installation project in its entirety, from initial client consultations through to completion. Your role is vital in being both client-facing and team-facing: not only are you (usually) the key point of client contact, you also are responsible for ensuring all relevant people – designers, engineers, planners, estimators, fabricators, installers – fulfil their role effectively, so that the project runs on time and on budget. You will be responsible for problem-solving, and keeping clients informed of progress. This key role suits a natural team leader and communicator with an eye for detail and, ideally, a good working knowledge of glazing and installation processes.

Ideal qualification: Apprenticeship in the glazing/installation industry: BCITO NZ Certificate in Construction Trades – Main Contract Supervision, Level 5

Computer literacy: yes

Admin (order entry)

Team player who relishes accuracy; computer literacy and an eye for detail are a must.

Your role mainly involves data entry, but may include and other clerical/administration duties. Prior experience in the glazing industry is not essential, but you’ll want computer literacy and an eye for detail. You’ll be a team player who enjoys the stimulus of completing their work efficiently and accurately. In large glazing/installation companies, this role may lead on to other roles that call on a similar skill set, particularly as you get to know the company’s systems.

Ideal qualification:

Computer literacy: yes

Glazing supervisor

Great ‘next step’ for an experienced glazier with leadership skills.

You will oversee the work of your team of glazers (including senior glazers, trainees and apprentices). Working both from the office and onsite, you will ensure a high quality of workmanship and finish, and will often meet with clients. You’ll ensure glazers follow health and safety procedures and SOPs, and take responsibility for onboarding of new hires and ongoing training. This role suits a fully qualified glazer with several years’ experience in both residential and commercial glazing, good communication skills, and a full understanding of H&S procedure. It offers strong potential for career development.

Ideal qualification: New Zealand Certificate in Glazing (Level 4)

Computer literacy: in some cases


Hands-on role with excellent prospects; BCITO or company glazing apprenticeship is required.

As a glazier, you’ll install glass and related products (mirrors, screens, etc.) in a wide range of situations, from residential or commercial properties to automobiles. This can be a highly varied role where you get to know the properties of different types of glass (e.g., toughened, solar controlled, coated), and master a range of specialist cutting techniques for bespoke installations, often working onsite from plans (which will often involve communication with clients). An apprenticeship is your route into this specialised craft; many of the larger NZ glass companies will run such a scheme under the guidance of a senior glazier and/or a BCITO training advisor. Employment and career prospects for a career in glass are excellent.

Ideal qualification: NZ Certificate in Glazing (Level 4) or NZ Certificate in Automotive Reglazing (Level 3)

Computer literacy: in some cases

Apprentice glazier

The route into glazing, via an apprenticeship with BCITO or a company.

An apprenticeship in glazing (e.g., NZ Certificate in Glazing, Level 4) usually takes two to three years. Enrolment is currently free, but where costs do apply, these are usually met by your prospective employer. You’ll learn glazing skills, such as glass knowledge/terminology, cutting techniques, how to move glass, and how to calculate and order it. You will also learn fundaments of health and safety around glass, teamwork, legislation, and making or working from plans. Your career options as a glazier include the residential, commercial or automotive fields. This is a great opportiunty to earn while you learn. or you could move into glass processing or a similar role within a glass company.

Ideal qualification:

Computer literacy:


Fit team player with a focus on health and safety in a busy workplace.

As a labourer in the glass and window industry, you’ll be working in a specialised environment with a strong emphasis on health and safety. This may be a highly varied role in which you are tasked with multiple glass lifts per day, as well as other hands-on duties such as moving stock, keeping the factory tidy, or assisting other colleagues. You’ll need to be fit, reliable and a team player. As you learn about the workings of the industry, there will likely be further career opportunities open to you.

Ideal qualification:

Computer literacy: no

Truck driver

Reliable, fit and careful driver with heavy vehicle licence 2, 3, 4 or 5; forklift licence also useful.

As a driver for a window and glass company, you may be bringing stock to the warehouse and/or taking prefabricated windows and doors to the installation site. You will need a class 2 or higher licence, and may be required to work night shifts. You will likely need to perform multiple glass lifts per day, so some prior experience handling fragile goods is helpful. Efficient logistics are vital to a window and glass company, so you will be a reliable time-keeper with a clean licence and the ability to optimise routes.

Ideal qualification: Class 2 to 5 heavy vehicle licence

Computer literacy: no

Training in glass & glazing

Your study pathway depends on which roles you’re most interested in. Here’s an overview of training options, but be sure to check out the job descriptions above for experience and pathways for specific roles.



An apprenticeship will set you up for a career offering a range of opportunities, including glazier, glass processor, auto glazier, supervisor, planner, production manager, sales consultant, H&S supervisor, estimator, process/quality lead and business owner, among others.

The glazier and glass processing apprenticeships are currently free to enrol, while the auto glazier apprenticeship costs $1660 in the first year with a subsequent annual fee of $810.

BCITO currently manages three apprenticeships for glass specialists, covering the following qualifications:

  • NZ Certificate in Glazing Level 4 (2–3 years)
  • NZ Certificate in Glass Processing Level 4 (30 months)
  • NZ Certificate in Automotive Reglazing Level 3 (17 months)

For more information, see the BCITO website.

Looking for an Apprenticeship? – register with BCITO and they will try and connect you with an employer.

Qualifications and courses available

Window & Glass Association courses and exams

Introduction to Windows course
This course provides an overview of windows and glass and is of use to anyone new to the industry. The 2–3 hour course costs $50 + GST and is available to members of Window & Glass Association.

There are five modules:

  • Window types and terminology
  • Window framing materials
  • Glass
  • The New Zealand Building Code (NZBC) and standards
  • Acoustics and energy

Contact us for more information.

Glass advisor

The Window & Glass Association conducts examinations in the practical understanding of the New Zealand Standard for Glazing in Buildings and the practical interpretation of NZS4223: Part 3:2016. This free exam is available solely to members of the Association and would be of use in roles such as estimator, plant manager, production supervisor, processor, engineer, process/quality lead, planner, branch manager and project manager.

Contact us for more information.

Glass & Glazing Institute of New Zealand

The Glass and Glazing Institute of New Zealand (GGINZ) is the national centre of excellence for glass industry training. It specialises in equipping glass and glazing workers with industry skills and knowledge to be successful. Annually the GGINZ delivers high quality training and formative assessments to over 250 apprentices. Also delivered is a short Window & Glass Association 3-day course in balustrade training for those in the industry that are keen to upskill through professional development.

For more information, contact GGINZ.

Competenz general manufacturing courses

General manufacturing operators work in processing, production, assembly or distribution, usually in large businesses or factories. They can become highly skilled in their specific areas and there is room for advancement into team leader, supervisory and management roles. Competenz offers a series of certificates in manufacturing, from Level 2 to Level 5, which will be helpful in any role in the glass and glazing industry. Learn more on the Competenz website.

Site Safe training

Site Safe offers a wide variety education and resources on best practice systems and behaviours known to improve onsite health & safety. Site Safe training is useful (and in many cases mandatory) across the glass and glazing industry, whether you work in the factory or on client premises. Find out more on the Site Safe website.

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