There are a number of valid pathways into a general engineering or mechanical engineering career in New Zealand.

Competenz is the Government appointed, standard setting body for a variety of engineering trades in New Zealand. We also write the qualifications for these industries in close partnership with industry and employers. Because of this, employers are confident that Competenz qualifications are current and fit for purpose.


Go straight from school into an apprenticeship

At Competenz we’re all about industry training – you earn money while you are learning.

You can start a mechanical engineering apprenticeship (level 4) straight from school. The first step is to find a job in an engineering, manufacturing, refrigeration and air-conditioning or plastics production workplace. The next step is for your employer to agree you can start an engineering apprenticeship with us.

Most apprenticeships take around four years to complete and our Competenz training advisors are with you every step of the way. We support you with your learning, assessments and arranging block courses. Plus, we visit you and your employer regularly to check-in and make sure you’re on track for success.

And, we can help place you into work too. Have a look at the job vacancies available at Competenz.

Study for level 3 at a polytech or private training provider

For some people, a pre-trade or level 3 qualification gained through a polytech or private training provider is a good way to help decide what trade you feel most passionate about.  You will gain some broad trade-related skills you can take into the workplace at the same time.

The following providers offer level 3 and other pre-trade engineering programmes showing a clear Record of Achievement (RoA) – the formal way you can track and show achievement of unit standards:

  • Manukau Institute of Technology (MIT)
  • Unitec Institute of Technology
  • Northtec
  • Western Institute of Technology at Taranaki (WITT).

These programmes can get you ready for a mechanical engineering apprenticeship. When you enrol in an apprenticeship through this pathway, we know the unit standards you have achieved in your level 3 qualification. 

This makes it easier for Competenz or your employer to see the skills you have and what you can already do. It also means we might be able to fast-track you into year two of your apprenticeship. Your total time in the apprenticeship reduces to just three years, and that’s a win for you as well as your employer.

My polytech isn't listed – what does that mean?

If you complete a level 3 qualification at another polytech, that's okay too. We’ve made it easy for learners transferring across to the Competenz level 4 apprenticeship. We apply an exemption for a range of unit standards.  

Talk to our friendly team if you have any questions.