Level 3

Pre-trade apprenticeship training in welding, fabrication and steel construction

Do you want to start out in mechanical engineering trades? This qualification will prepare you for an apprenticeship in your chosen field of fabrication and welding, maintenance or fitting and machining.
This programme is undergoing unification. We will be delivering a new version of this programme from Semester Two 2024.
The updated programme will include new entry requirements, revised courses and fees may also be subject to change. You can apply now for the July intake, but please note that your enrolment will not be completed until the new programme details are confirmed.

Programme highlights

­­Do you want to start out in mechanical engineering trades?

This qualification will prepare you for an apprenticeship in your chosen field.

You will learn specialist skills in:

  • Fabrication and welding
  • Maintenance engineering
  • Fitting and machining.

This programme includes a minimum of 40 hours of industry experience.

You will graduate with a solid foundation in engineering and fabrication skills.

Aspects of this programme are physically demanding, please talk with an Ask Me! agent if you face fitness or mobility challenges.

This programme is not for those wanting a career in automotive or the vehicle servicing industry. Visit our New Zealand Certificate in Automotive Engineering (Level 3) programme for details on automotive studies.

Please note: A small component of this programme is delivered by a sub-contractor.

You may be required to complete literacy and numeracy assessments as part of this programme.

Entry requirements

Entry requirements


Open entry for domestic students

There are no academic requirements that need to be met to enter this programme.

English language entry requirements

You will need English language competence to undertake this programme which is taught and assessed in English (an assessment may be required if your first language is not English).

Give yourself credit with Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL)

Did you know you can use the knowledge and experience you already have to your advantage?

Your previous work experience and on-the-job skills, volunteering, professional development, and other providers’ qualifications can be recognised as prior learning, matched against credits in our courses, and put towards your qualification – potentially saving you money and possibly helping you to complete your qualification faster Learn more.

Programme structure

Programme structure

You will need to complete the below eight courses (120 credits):

243.327 Mechanical engineering health and safety (10 credits)

Work safely, applying an understanding of relevant Health and Safety requirements and safety culture, when carrying out engineering task.

243.328 Mechanical engineering drawing and calculations (15 credits)

Apply basic trade-related numeracy, literacy and visualisation skills to perform engineering tasks

243.329 Mechanical engineering workshop basics (20 credits)

Perform a defined range of engineering tasks according to instructions using relevant materials, tools and equipment

243.330 Mechanical engineering materials (20 credits)

Perform a defined range of engineering tasks according to instructions using relevant materials, tools and equipment

243.331 Mechanical engineering basic processes (20 credits)

Set up and carry out a single process engineering job according to instruction

243.332 Welding for mechanical engineers (15 credits)

Set up and carry out a single process engineering job according to instruction

243.333 Mechanical engineering processes and quality (10 credits)

Apply an understanding of the effective and efficient processes and principles to the engineering jobs while taking responsibility for the quality of own engineering work

243.334 Mechanical engineering communication (10 credits)

Participate and communicate effectively within an engineering team

Do you want to study a single course, without enrolling into the full programme?

Courses within some of our programmes may be offered as an individual Certificate of Proficiency (COP). Programme entry requirements and course fees apply. For more information, please speak to our friendly Ask Me! team.

Careers and pathways

Further training or study

Graduates will be capable of performing a defined range of engineering tasks under limited supervision.

During this programme, students will gain exposure to a range of options available to them in the discipline of mechanical engineering. These include machining, engineering fabrication both light and heavy, mechanical building services and welding.

On completion, students will be able to make an informed decision as to the strand of mechanical engineering they wish to pursue in their apprenticeship. Students will enter into the second year of their apprenticeship with the ITO Competenz, having already completed the year one pre-requisites of an apprenticeship.

Competenz offers apprenticeship programmes including National Certificates in: Engineering, Fabrication (heavy, light or steel construction strand), and National Certificate in Mechanical Engineering, with strands in Fitting & Machining, General Engineering, Machining, Maintenance Engineering, or Toolmaking.

Career opportunities

This qualification is to provide the mechanical engineering, construction, manufacturing, and fabrication industries with people who have sufficient underpinning knowledge, understanding, and practical skill to work under limited supervision as operators or trade assistants within their chosen discipline.

It is designed for people already working in the industry or people intending to complete a pre-trade qualification before entering the industry.

Graduates of this qualification will be able to work (under limited supervision) in an operator or trade assistant role in their area of specialisation, in the mechanical engineering, construction, mechanical building services, manufacturing, or fabrication industries.

Roles may include:

Light or heavy fabrication engineering, steel construction, engineering machinist, metal machine setter, metal turner, fitter and turner, CNC operator, construction, sheet metal, maintenance or general engineer, toolmaker, machinist, metal former or fabricator/welder.

For potential salaries visit careers.govt.nz.

Free study for the first year of your Level 3 or above qualification may be available under the government’s fees-free study scheme. Visit feesfree.govt.nz for eligibility criteria and more information. Students must be eligible to study as a domestic student. Free study for Level 3 may be available for 16 to 24 year olds (Youth Guarantee). Free study for up to one year for Levels 3 and 4 may be available under Māori and Pasifika Trades Training (MPTT), a government-led training initiative to encourage young Māori and Pasifika people to gain trade qualifications. All free study is subject to funding confirmation. Proof of residency status required. Entry criteria, and some costs, may also apply. Eligibility for student allowances or student loans may vary. Contact StudyLink for more information.

Information is correct as at 6 December 2023. Programme fees are based on a full-time student and may vary depending on your final selection of courses that make up your programme. To provide you with an indication of costs, the approximate fees quoted in this publication are based on the indicative 2024 fee structure. The indicative programme fees for 2024 do not include the Compulsory Student Services Fee (CSSF). The CSSF is an additional levy to your 2024 programme or course fees. Further information about the CSSF can be found here www.manukau.ac.nz/cssf. Programmes stated as eligible for free study in 2024 are based on the 2023 fee structure and subject to funding confirmation for 2024. All fees are in New Zealand Dollars. You will be advised of the current fees at the time of enrolment. All courses and programmes will proceed subject to numbers and academic approval. Manukau Institute of Technology is part of Te Pūkenga – New Zealand Institute of Skills and Technology. Te Pūkenga is accredited under the provisions of the Education and Training Act 2020. International students must study in class and will not be able to enrol for online study options.