HomeProgrammesAutomotive & Collision RepairNew Zealand Certificate in Automotive Engineering

New Zealand Certificate in Automotive Engineering

Level 3

Get your career started in the automotive industry with the UCOL New Zealand Certificate in Automotive Engineering.

A UCOL lecturer explaining parts of a car to the students
Quick info

Level: 3

Locations: UCOL Manawatū in Palmerston North, UCOL Whanganui, UCOL Wairarapa in Masterton

Duration: 1 year (40 weeks)
(See Course Hours & Duration for details)

Palmerston North
12 Feb 2024 – 15 Nov 2024
05 Aug 24 – 09 May 2025

12 Feb 2024 – 15 Nov 2024

19 Feb 2024 - 22 Nov 2024

Domestic Fees: *

Scholarship info

International Fees:*
$25,000.00 + Student Services Levy $591.00

Additional Fees
Compulsory course costs may apply.

* Fees are indicative only, and are inclusive of the student services levy and GST (goods and services tax). The fee shown is for one year of study.

Learn how to service general automotive systems and gain the essential skills needed for an entry-level position in automotive engineering.

Take your passion for cars or bikes, develop technical skills, and hone your problem-solving of engineering issues to lay the foundation for an exciting career.

The UCOL New Zealand Certificate in Automotive Engineering is an ideal place to start in the industry, which is riding the wave of technical innovation.

 Course Hours & Duration

This programme runs for 40 weeks, including 6 holiday weeks.

Per week, your learning will include approximately:

Class Time
21 hrs

Lectures, tutorials and/or online recordings, workshop practicals, timetable set by your lecturer.
Study Time
14 hrs

Study in your own time.

You can also choose to study part-time, or possibly by paper. Talk to us about your options with this programme.

 Career & Study Outcomes

Successful graduates of the UCOL New Zealand Certificate in Automotive Engineering will have the following theoretical and practical skills:

  • Follow workplace policies, procedures and relevant regulations to work safely and effectively in an automotive workshop
  • Use tools and equipment to complete basic workshop engineering tasks
  • Apply fundamental automotive engineering knowledge to service engine and driveline systems
  • Check operation of and perform minor repairs on electrical systems
  • Apply fundamental automotive engineering knowledge to service steering, suspension and brake systems.

 Course Information

Note: As a subsidiary of Te Pūkenga - New Zealand Institute of Skills and Technology, UCOL Te Pūkenga is committed to providing the best learning outcome for you. As part of this, all programmes are currently being reviewed to make them portable, consistent, and closely aligned with the needs of the industry. When published, this course information is correct, but the courses offered may change over time. If you have any questions call an Enrolment Advisor on 0800 468 265.

Automotive Workshop Safety (10 Credits)
Learn to identify and consistently apply policies, procedures and regulations that ensure safe and effective working practices in an automotive workshop.

Basic Repair and Modification of Automotive Components (15 Credits)
Safely and correctly use hand and power tools and workshop engineering equipment to complete basic automotive engineering workshop tasks. The course covers:

  • Material types and properties
  • SI symbols (International System of Units)
  • Principles behind basic fabrication techniques
  • Principles behind the use of specialist tools
  • Hand tools - hacksaw, internal and external threading tools, stud extractor, files, measuring and marking out tools
  • Power tools - drilling machinery
  • Basic equipment - electric welding equipment, gas welding equipment
  • Workshop engineering equipment - material types/properties, basic fabrication (heating, cutting, welding, threading, fastening systems)

Engines (15 Credits)
Learn to identify the components of an engine; strip, measure, reassemble and start an engine; and carry out tuning for four-stroke spark ignition (SI) and/or compression ignition (CI) engines.

Engine Systems (10 Credits)
Learn the function, purpose and location of engine systems and undertake basic servicing of engine systems. The course covers:

  • Intake
  • Cooling
  • Engine management system
  • Exhaust systems 
  • Fuel - petrol and diesel
  • Lubrication, lubricants and sealants

Driveline Systems (10 Credits)
Learn the function, purpose and location of driveline systems and undertake basic servicing of driveline systems.

Electrical and Electronics (15 Credits)
Learn automotive electrical and electronic principles and how to conduct basic checks and repairs on wiring and lighting systems.

Starting and Charging Systems (10 Credits)
Learn about starting, charging and ignition systems with appropriate tools, equipment and processes.

Electronic Controls, High Voltage Systems and HVAC (10 Credits)
Learn about the function and purpose of control systems, the tools and processes to check the operation of electronic control systems and the operation and safety processes of high voltage systems.

Brake Systems (10 Credits)
Learn about the function, purpose and location of brake systems and use appropriate tools and processes to service brake systems.

Steering and Suspension Systems (15 Credits)
Learn about the function, purpose and location of steering and suspension systems and use appropriate tools and processes to service steering and suspension systems.

Previous Related Programmes

The New Zealand Certificate in Automotive Engineering supersedes and takes the best from the following programme of study, which is no longer offered:

  • Certificate in Automotive Engineering (Level 3)

 Student & Staff Profiles

 Learning Facilities

A fully equipped automotive workshop and access to digital learning.

 Domestic Entry Requirements

NCEA Level 1 (including 10 Literacy Credits and 10 Numeracy Credits at Level 1) 
Equivalent academic achievement
On a case-by-case basis at the discretion of the Executive Dean

English language proficiency
If English is not your first language, you must also demonstrate English language skills equivalent to an IELTS overall band score (academic) of 5 with no band score less than 5 (or equivalent including TOEFL). IELTS scores used must be taken from a single IELTS Test Report Form (ie combining scores from more than one test is not permissible).


For more information about NCEA Credits see the UCOL Te Pūkenga NCEA explained page.

 International Entry Requirements

In addition to the Domestic Entry Requirements, the following applies to international learner applicants:

English language proficiency
International learner applicants whose first language is not English must have an IELTS General or Academic score of 5 with no band score lower than 5 (or equivalent including TOEFL). IELTS scores used must be taken from a single IELTS Test Report Form (ie combining scores from more than one test is not permissible).

Under 20 years of age
In addition to this, international applicants under 20 years of age must have NCEA equivalency.

 Advice & Guidance

A Class 1 full driver’s licence (or working towards) is recommended on entry to this programme.

Previous study in related technology areas would be an advantage.

To successfully complete this programme, students need to be aware of the physical demands required for this career pathway.

Work experience
Learners engaging in UCOL directed work experience will need to complete a programme course in Automotive Workshop Safety beforehand.

Recognition of prior learning
Applications for Recognition of Prior Learning, including Cross Credit, Credit Transfer and Assessment of Prior Learning may be made on the appropriate form where a learner believes all learning outcomes for a course have already been met. Applications will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis in accordance with the UCOL Te Pūkenga Academic Statute and other relevant policies and procedures.

Application checklist
It will make the process easier if you prepare the following before you apply:

  • National Student Number (NSN) (If you don't have a NSN, you may request one from NZQA, or you can supply a verified copy of your birth certificate, passport or Whakapapa statement.)
  • Evidence of your highest level of academic achievement (and evidence of prior learning, if applicable)
  • Evidence that you meet the entry requirements of the programme
  • Check if you're eligible for additional support or a scholarship. If you're 19 years or younger, you may be eligible to enrol in one of our free Youth Transition programmes.

Note that you will need to provide any verified documents in person, via post or email (not via the online application form).

 Additional Costs

Please note that there are additional costs associated with the New Zealand Certificate in Automotive Engineering (Level 3). The following are approximate costs:

  • Steel cap boots $100 - $150
  • Cotton, long-sleeved overalls $60
  • Rigger leather gloves $20 
  • A basic tool kit consisting of spanners, pliers, screwdrivers, hammer and socket set $300
  • External hard drive $100.00


The programme is approved by the New Zealand Qualifications Authority under the provisions of the Education and Training Act 2020, and Universal College of Learning Limited, a subsidiary of Te Pūkenga is accredited to teach it.