Careers in windows & doors

There is a huge skills demand in architectural aluminium joinery fabrication and installation, with 3,000 people needed for new and replacement roles by 2024 for both residential and commercial manufacturers. Careers range from sales, pricing and scheduling to machining, fabrication and assembly through to the installation of the finished product.

There is also a wide variety of companies to work for – from the large manufacturing plants to small owner-operator installation businesses, right around the country. Technology and materials also offer variety, with windows and doors made of aluminium, timber, PVC or composites. While architectural aluminium joinery is the largest subsector, there is also a lot of opportunity in timber and PVC joinery.

A career in architectural aluminium joinery

These videos by BCITO give you an insight into the range of career opportunities in Glass & Glazing.

A career in architectural aluminium joinery

Architectural aluminium joinery careers (Just the Job)

A wide variety of jobs and roles

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

Office teams

Client manager

A good communicator and enjoys dealing with people.

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

Completed the BCITO estimator qualification or a 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 estimator roles will call for two or three years’ experience. A flair for maths is important, and some CAD (computer-aided design) skills can be useful.

Ideal qualification: BCITO NZ Certificate in Architectural Aluminium Joinery – Estimator Level 4, or a quantity surveying degree

Computer literacy: yes

Site measurer

Prides themselves on being careful and precise.

As the title suggests, you will be working onsite measuring up for installations – typically using specialist tools, such as lasers. This job calls for care and precision, and it suits someone with strong maths skills who can read plans and details including shop drawings. It will therefore help to have a full understanding of window and door construction.

Ideal qualification:

Computer literacy: in some cases


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

Production manager

A good leader with a background on the factory floor, who understands the technology.

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 Architectural Aluminium Joinery – Joiner Level 4

Computer literacy: yes

Business manager

A people-oriented team leader who is driven to set and achieve targets.

In this role you’ll oversee every element of the company’s business – procurement, logistics, technology, compliance, etc. – to ensure it is optimised for maximum efficiency, performance and profitability. You will analyse data and report to managers, and take the lead in implementing and managing business improvement initiatives. This will usually involve building good relationships with external parties, such as suppliers, as well as overseeing an internal business management team. Successful business managers tend to have worked for several years in a similar commercial business management role, and have a broad knowledge of finance and accounting principles, cloud-based ERP experience, and good communication and leadership skills.

Ideal qualification: Bachelor of commerce degree in management; Icehouse Owner Manager Programme

Computer literacy: yes


Computer-literate multi-tasker who can remain 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


Team-worker who enjoys reaching for sales targets and working with clients.

A sales role puts you directly in touch with clients via telephone, email and/or face-to-face consultations. You will work alone or as part of a sales team – fielding inbound communications, making calls to follow up on leads, and logging information in MS Excel or an ERP system. This role suits people who have excellent customer service skills and computer literacy, and can multi-task and self-manage. It helps if you have prior experience in a client-facing role (not necessarily sales); knowledge of the glass and window industry is not essential, as you will pick it up in the course of your work.

Ideal qualification:

Computer literacy: yes

Façade engineer

Specialised role for a material/structural engineer; great career prospects.

As a façade engineer on new builds, you’ll be designing and detailing joinery systems and analysing how they will perform when installed in the commercial building envelope. Or, if working on existing façades, you will be assisting in a hands-on ‘health check’, diagnosing and reporting on structural issues. You will also be providing or peer-reviewing shop drawings. This relatively new field of engineering calls for problem-solving skills, CAD skills, and an understanding of physics. Often called on to abseil down buildings, you’ll need to be fit, too. You’ll typically come from another branch of engineering (e.g., structural) and receive on-the-job training in this highly specialised field, which offers excellent career prospects.

Ideal qualification: bachelor’s degree in architectural engineering

Computer literacy: yes

Plant & fabrication teams

Factory supervisor

Self-directed team leader with an eye for detail and hands-on experience in windows manufacture.

Typically reporting to production management, you’ll be leading a shift 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 at the workplace. The role is often hands-on, using specific equipment and handling glass and/or framing, and it suits someone with previous experience leading teams in a factory environment. Factory supervisors are self-driven, safety-focused people who are good communicators and team-builders, as well as competent in operating specific equipment.

Ideal qualification: BCITO NZ Certificate in Construction Trades – Supervisor Level 4

Computer literacy: yes

Installation supervisor

Self-directed team leader with an eye for detail and hands-on experience in windows installation.

You will be leading a team of installers onsite, overseeing their work to ensure it is done well and on time. You’ll also oversee onsite health and safety compliance, and liaise with management on team members’ ongoing training needs. It’s often a hands-on role, too, and this, plus the need to work unsupervised, means you will have prior experience in installation. Supervisors possess good leadership, team-building, communication and problem-solving skills.

Ideal qualification: BCITO NZ Certificate in Construction Trades – Supervisor Level 4 or BCITO Architectural Alumiminium Joinery Installer Level 4

Computer literacy: yes

Process / quality lead

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

This role involves checking existing fabrication and/or installation quality and processes, and recommending and overseeing any necessary changes. It suits a systems-driven person with good written and communication skills, and attention to detail. It’s not a hands-on role: instead, you’ll be ensuring that processes follow best practice, and that those processes are accurately documented and updated. Some prior experience of the glass and window industry will nonetheless be useful.

Ideal qualification: NZ Certificate in Manufacturing, Level 5

Computer literacy: yes


Metalwork or woodwork experience useful; training will be given on specialised equipment.

The fabricator’s role is fully hands-on. Depending on where you operate in the pipeline – from cutting and preparation to assembly and finishing – you may be cutting, machining and assembling aluminium (or polymer or timber) joinery, fitting hardware, and using sealants. Aluminium window joinery involves the use of CNC and twinsaw equipment, for which training can be given. You’ll also be accurately interpreting manufacturing drawings, job sheets and specifications, quality-checking your materials, and adapting to new skills and processes. You will likely be working within a team of fabricators. This role suits someone who is handy with tools and machinery, and has an eye for accuracy.

Ideal qualification: BCITO NZ Certificate in Architectural Aluminium Joinery – Machining & Fabrication Level 3, and NZ Certificate in Architectural Aluminium Joinery – Joiner with Computer Numerical Control Machinery Level 4

Computer literacy: in some cases

CNC / electronic saw operator

Good maths and computer literacy are an asset; training will be given on specialised equipment.

You'll be using an electronic twin-saw and CNC (computerised numeric control) equipment to cut, drill and notch aluminium (or composite) extrusions with pin-sharp accuracy. The cuts are programmed by a designer and sent directly to the CNC via the company’s computer network. This is highly skilled work that you will learn on the job, with ongoing training modules, but it helps if you already have an aptitude for maths, computing and tool use.

Ideal qualification: NZ Certificate in Mechanical Engineering (Level 4); BCITO NZ Certificate in Architectural Aluminium Joinery – Joiner with Computer Numerical Controlled Machinery Level 4

Computer literacy: yes

Storeperson – inwards goods

Fit and reliable team worker capable of multi-tasking in a busy, hands-on environment.

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; NZ Certificate in Architectural Aluminium Joinery or BCITO Carpentry Level 4

Computer literacy: yes


Hands-on role demanding fitness and accuracy. BCITO/company apprenticeship in glazing useful.

Working under an installation supervisor, either alone or with a team of other installers, you will fit fabricated windows and doors onsite, following plans in order to achieve the desired fit and a professional finish – whether installing aluminium or timber in commercial or residential properties. (Retro-fitting is also an option.) The role may or may not require training, but will invariably suit a team player who is physically fit, with mechanical aptitude and an eye for detail. As you may be working on big buildings, Site Safe and working at heights certifications are usually required, and site security issues often call for irregular hours.

Ideal qualification: BCITO NZ Certificate in Architecture Aluminium Joinery – Installer with Repairs and Maintenance Level 4

Computer literacy: no


Highly specialised, hands-on role. BCITO/company apprenticeship in glazing preferred.

As a glazier, you’ll install glass and related products (mirrors, screens, etc.) in diverse 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 and liaising 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

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 may be required to work night shifts. You will likely 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 this role rewards a reliable time-keeper with a clean licence (class 2 or higher) and the ability to optimise routes.

Ideal qualification: Class 2 to 5 heavy vehicle licence

Computer literacy: no

Training in windows & doors

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.


Apprenticeships in aluminium joinery

An apprenticeship will set you up for a career offering a range of opportunities, including aluminium joinery fabricator and machinist, assembler, installer, estimator, supervisor, project manager, contract manager, contract supervisor, designer, aluminium architect and business owner, among others.

The apprenticeship course by BCITO is for aspiring aluminium joiners engaged in on-the-job learning. And the course is free, as the government is covering fees for new and existing apprentices until 2023. After that, the first year will still be free under government policy, and usually your employer pays for year two and three fees.

There are four certificates in the New Zealand Certificate in Architectural Aluminium Joinery:

  • Machining and Fabrication Level 3
  • Installer with Repairs and Maintenance Level 4
  • Joiner with Computer Numerical Controlled Machinery Level 4
  • Estimator Level 4

For more information, visit the BCITO website.

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

Qualifications and courses available

Qualifications for supervisors

A supervisory role is an excellent next career step for an experienced window and door processor/installer who is interested in a leadership role, such as production manager, business manager, factory supervisor, project manager, and installer supervisor. There are specific training options, too, as listed below.

  • NZ Certificate in Construction Trades – Supervisor Level 4
  • NZ Certificate in Construction Trades – Main Contract Supervision Level 5

Read the BCITO website for full details.

Window & Glass Association Introduction to Windows course

This course provides an overview of windows 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

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 general certificates in manufacturing, from Level 2 to Level 5, which will be helpful in any role in the window and door industry. Learn more on the Competenz website.

Competenz Competitive Systems and Practices (CSP) qualifications

This qualification teaches efficient and streamlined process gained though lean manufacturing techniques. The qualification extends across a broad range of competitive systems and practices, including strategic thinking, process development and technology implications. It would, for instance, help an owner, production manager, supervisor or process lead broaden their skill base. Learn more on the Competenz website.

Degree in Quantity Surveying

Several universities and technical institutes around New Zealand offer this qualification. Quantity surveyors are specialists in measuring and estimating building costs. The qualification teaches you how to estimate, price and tender for building work, as well as the skills to keep project budgets on track. It would be more generic in approach than the BCITO apprenticeship in aluminium joinery and would be of use to an estimator or cost planner. Visit the NZIQS website for more information.

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 window and door industry, whether you work in the factory or on client premises. Find out more on the Site Safe website.

Find opportunities on our Jobs Board