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.

Programme highlights

Want to join the diverse and growing engineering industry but not sure which path to take? This comprehensive one-year course will give you a solid head start and teach you a variety of industry-valued skills making you a valuable candidate when looking for an engineering apprenticeship.

This practical course includes core engineering, mechanical and fabrication skills.

You'll work hands-on with supportive, experienced tutors to develop skills that form the first-year requirements of an engineering apprenticeship.

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

Academic entry
  • NCEA Level 1 with 10 credits in Numeracy (algebra, trigonometry, measurement recommended), and 10 credits in Literacy


  • Be able to demonstrate equivalent knowledge and skills.
English language requirement

For domestic applicants for whom English is not their first language evidence of language competency may be required.

International applicants for whom English is not their first language will be required to show evidence of language competency, issued within the last two years, before being eligible to enrol in any non-English programme. The level of competency required is outlined in Rule 18 and Appendix 2 of the NZQF Programme and Accreditation Rules 2013 and below under the title English Competency.

IELTS General or Academic score of 5 with no band score lower than 5 or completed NZ Certificate in English Language L3 with an endorsement of either General, Workplace or Academic, or meets a relevant English Proficiency Outcome as outlined in Rule 18 and Appendix 2 of the NZQF Programme and Accreditation Rules 2013.

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):

MECH3028 Engineering health and safety (10 credits)

This course aims to develop ākonga knowledge and skills in relevant health and safety legislation so they can apply appropriate work safety practices and procedures when carrying out tasks in an engineering environment.

MECH3029 Engineering drawing and calculations (15 credits)

The aim of this course is to develop basic trade related numeracy, literacy and graphic visualisation skills to produce engineering tasks.

MECH3030 Mechanical engineering workshop skills (15 credits)

The aim of this course is to develop basic engineering workshop skills in using simple measurement, lifting and moving loads and materials as well as develop knowledge of common engineering materials.

MECH3031 Engineering machinery (20 credits)

The aim of this course is to develop skills in basic machining and workshop practices including applying appropriate engineering work practices when using measuring equipment to perform mechanical machining operations.

MECH3032 Engineering fabrication (20 credits)

The aim of this course is to develop basic fabrication skills and techniques as well as develop good working practices when using engineering power tools.

MECH3033 Welding (20 credits)

The aim of this course is to develop and apply basic welding principles and skills as well as health and safety processes when welding materials.

MECH3034 Mechanical engineering processes and quality (10 credits)

The aim of this course is to develop ākonga knowledge of effective and efficient processes as they take responsibility for their own work in the carrying out basic engineering tasks.

MECH346 Mechanical engineering communication (10 credits)

The aim of this course is to consistently apply effective communication techniques by participating in a team environment within an engineering workshop.

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 of the New Zealand Certificate in Mechanical Engineering (Level 3) programme will be eligible to progress and pathway into industry work-based learning studying the New Zealand qualifications and employment pathways as shown below.

  • New Zealand Certificate in Mechanical Engineering (Trade) (Level 4)
  • New Zealand Certificate in Engineering Fabrication (Trade) (Level 4)
  • New Zealand Certificate in Mechanical Building Services (Trade) (Level 4)

Career opportunities

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: CNC Machine Operator, Mould and Core Maker, Furnace Operator, Machine Operator, Specialist Production Welder, Metal Worker/Fabricator, Ducting Fabricator, Pipe Fitter/Welder, Metal Polisher and Pattern Maker Trade Assistant.

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 15 April 2024. 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.