Pathways into trades

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.

Straight from school into an apprenticeship

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

You can pathway straight into a mechanical engineering apprenticeship (level 4) straight from school. If you find a job in an engineering, manufacturing, refrigeration and air-conditioning or plastics production workplace, you and your employer will then agree to start an engineering apprenticeship with us.

Most apprenticeships take around four years to complete and our Competenz training advisors or ATNZ account managers 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. To apply for vacancies available now visit:

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. At the same time you will gain some broad trade related skills you can take into the workplace.

We believe the following providers offer level 3/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 provide learners with a clear RoA that could pathway directly into the second year of an apprenticeship in mechanical engineering. When you come to enrol in an apprenticeship we can clearly see unit standards you have achieved in your level 3 qualification and it makes it easier for Competenz and ATNZ or your employer to see the skills you have and what you can already do.

And it 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 at another polytech that's ok too. Competenz has made it easy for learners transferring 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.