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New Zealand Certificate in Engineering Fabrication (Trade) (Level 4)

New Zealand Certificate in Engineering Fabrication (Trade) (Level 4)

Level 4

The UCOL | Te Pūkenga New Zealand Certificate in Engineering Fabrication (Trade) (Level 4) is designed for people working in the welding and fabrication industry.

A student in protective gear in an engineering workshop
Quick info

Level: 4

Locations:  UCOL | Te Pūkenga Manawatū in Palmerston North

Duration: 3 years part-time
(See Course Hours & Duration for details)

07 Feb 2023 - 24 Nov 2023
17 Jul 2023 - 03 May 2024

Domestic Fees: *
Yr 1: $1772.7 Yr 2: $1769.70 Yr3: $1903.70 Yr 4: $1904.70Scholarship info

International Fees:*
Please enquire for details

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.

This programme is designed for trainees/apprentices employed in the Heavy Fabrication and Light Fabrication discipline of Engineering. We welcome your enquiry.

Study while you earn, and complete an apprenticeship in fabrication with the UCOL | Te Pūkenga New Zealand Certificate in Engineering Fabrication (Trade).

 Course Hours & Duration

This programme runs for 36 weeks for year 1 and 2 and 18 weeks for year 3.

Per week, your learning will include approximately:

Class Time
6 hrs

In-person, online and in-work.
Work Time

Full-time or Part-time in a mechanical engineering role.
You will complete practical hours within your working hours.
Study Time
4 hrs

Study in your own time.

 Career & Study Outcomes

Education pathway

This qualification provides a pathway to further tertiary study at certificate or diploma level in the field of Mechanical Engineering, Electrical Engineering or Civil Engineering.

Career pathway

Graduates of this qualification will be able to:

  • Work safely and meet responsibilities in a commercial engineering fabrication environment
  • Interpret drawings and/or specifications, and select and use the appropriate fabrication materials, processes, tools, and equipment for the fabrication task being undertaken
  • Perform engineering  fabrication tasks to industry standards
  • Safely weld to an appropriate industry standard in a commercial engineering fabrication environment
  • Apply an understanding  of effective and efficient processes and principles, and quality systems to the fabrication of components, and/or provision of services in a commercial engineering fabrication environment
  • Communicate well
  • Recognise the limits of own ability and the importance of working with integrity and maintaining currency in the engineering fabrication field

Job opportunities include working independently as an engineering fabrication tradesperson within the fabrication or construction industries. Specific roles may include:

  • Heavy fabrication - Process plant fabricator, fabricator for pressure equipment, heavy transport equipment, or machinery, etc
  • Light fabrication - Sheet metal worker, process plant fabricator
  • Steel construction strand -  Structural steelworker for buildings, bridges and cranes, etc.

To find out more about possible job prospects and salaries Engineering Technicians and Engineering Professionals, see

 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.

From 2023, UCOL | Te Pūkenga and the programme you have enrolled in will become part of Te Pūkenga. So, if you join UCOL | Te Pūkenga in 2023, you will be awarded Te Pūkenga certification. And, if you are a current learner graduating in 2023, you will be awarded a co-branded certificate.

This programme consists of 270 credits. The course consists of;

Year One

Engineering Principles 1 (10 Credits)
Introductory level engineering principles.

Applied Engineering Principles 1 (10 Credits)
Learn to demonstrate introductory-level engineering principles in an applied setting. The course will cover:

  • Introduction to calculations
  • Health and safety principles
  • Lockout tag out and shifting loads
  • Introduction to operational knowledge of materials and fasteners
  • Introduction to Engineering Drawings with aspects of AS/NZ1100 standard

Welding and Fabrication 1 (10 Credits)
Gain operational knowledge to perform fitting and welding fabrication tasks.

Fabrication Processes 1A (10 Credits)
Learn to use a variety of introductory-level forming and shaping techniques, including measuring and marking out.

Fabrication Processes 1B (10 Credits) (50 practicum hours)
Learn to perform introductory-level fabrication processes using tools, equipment and maintenance tasks.

Strand Based Project and/or Task 1 (15 Credits) (100 practicum hours)
Learn to carry out introductory welding and fabrication operations in the workplace under limited supervision. The course covers:

  • Applied math, terminology, spatial skills and communication
  • Health and safety, materials handling, and care and maintenance of tools and equipment
  • Introductory material utilisation, measuring and marking out, cutting and forming, shaping introductory Jigs, welding and assembly
  • Introductory quality assurance and control considerations

Year Two

Welding and Fabrication Health and Safety (10 Credits) (50 practicum hours)
Gain knowledge of critical risk situations in the workplace and be able to undertake them in a safe manner.

Fabrication Principles 2A (15 Credits)
Learn to solve familiar calculation problems and produce fabrication drawings and patterns.

Fabrication Processes 2 (15 Credits)
Learn to perform a range of fabrication principles and processes. The course covers:

  • Measuring and marking
  • Forming and shaping
  • Working safely in a workshop
  • Quality assurance principles
  • Applied ergonomics
  • Materials and fasteners
  • Alignment of parts and distortion control
  • Job planning and material utilisation

Welding and Thermal Cutting 2 (10 Credits)
Learn to perform welding and thermal cutting skills with an emphasis on distortion control and quality assurance principles and their application in the industry. The course covers:

  • Welding TIG, MIG, ARC at a minimum in the down-hand welding position
  • Process theory and troubleshooting
  • Thermal cutting and gouging oxy/act, plasma, laser, arc, air
  • Quality assurance in welding and cutting including an introduction to weld testing
  • Distortion control and alignment of joints
  • Read and interpret engineering drawings, and special notes in relation to welding requirements 
  • Use welding procedure specifications to achieve standards set

Strand Based Project and/or Task 2 (15 Credits) (100 practicum hours)
Learn to perform intermediate welding and fabrication tasks in the workplace under minimal supervision.

Year Three

Fabrication Principles 3 (20 Credits)
Learn to interpret and identify problems and construct complex fabrication drawings and patterns for the fabrication industry. The course covers:

  • Drawing construction
  • Pattern development and transitions (complex radial line, triangulation and cutting plans) 
  • Computer-Aided Design 
  • Calculations 
  • Introduction to Physics

Fabrication Processes 3 (20 Credits)
Learn to demonstrate knowledge and skills of fabrication principles and processes including complex forming and shaping tasks.

Strand Based Project and/or Task 3 (15 Credits) (100 practicum hours)
Learn to select and apply proficient operational processes and principles to complete strand-based tasks.

Plus one of the following compulsory courses:

Strand Based Positional Welding (15 Credits) (100 practicum hours)
Learn to demonstrate a broad operational knowledge of positional welding with an emphasis on distortion control and quality assurance engineering standards associated with welding and fabrication relevant to the chosen certificate strand. The course covers:

  • Strand-based advance positional welding: for eg: Heavy Fabrication - MIG, and/or ARC Quality assurance in welding including weld testing
  • Distortion control
  • The introductory level of understanding of standards and how they work in the industry 
  • Advanced process theory and troubleshooting
  • Advanced distortion and heat input control methods
  • Read and interpret engineering drawings, and special notes in relation to welding requirements 
  • Use welding procedure specifications to achieve standards set

Heavy Fabrication Project (15 Credits) (100 practicum hours)
Learn to work independently to complete heavy fabrication tasks to the required industry standard.

Light Fabrication Project (15 Credits) (100 practicum hours)
Learn to work independently to complete light fabrication tasks to the required industry standard.

Year Four

Fabrication Principles 4A (25 Credits) 
Learn to apply a broad range of different methods to solve familiar and unfamiliar engineering problems, including pattern identification and proofing.

Welding Fabrication Principles 4B (15 Credits)
Learn to demonstrate an understanding of effective and efficient manufacturing principles and processes in the industry with an emphasis on sustainability.

Plus one of the following compulsory courses:

Strand-Based Positional Welding (see above)

Heavy Fabrication Project (see above)

Light Fabrication Project (see above)

Plus one of the following elective courses:

Strand-Based Project and/or Task 4 (15 Credits) (100 practicum hours)
Learn to plan and manage independent chosen strand-based task to an acceptable industry standard complying with all health and safety requirements.

Pressure Vessels and Pipework Project (15 Credits) (100 practicum hours)
Learn to independently fabricate and weld pressure vessels and pipework proficiently in accordance with the appropriate industry standards and guidelines.

Engineering Fabrication Technology (15 Credits) (100 practicum hours)
Learn to gain proficient operational and theoretical knowledge of modern technological equipment in the welding and fabrication industry.

Fabrication Finishing Techniques Project (15 Credits) (100 practicum hours)
Learn to gain proficient operational and theoretical knowledge of processes, principles and codes/standards of practice in finishing in the welding and fabrication industry.

Site Installation (15 Credits) (100 practicum hours)
Gain operational and theoretical knowledge of planning and conducting site installations including, rigging and the use of mobile and fixed platforms.

 Domestic Entry Requirements

NCEA Level 2

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 or equivalent, including TOEFL. Contact the info centre for more details.  UCOL | Te Pūkenga is a TOEFL testing centre.


For more information about NCEA Credits see UCOL's NCEA explained page.

 International Entry Requirements

Not applicable.

 Advice & Guidance

Work experience
To successfully complete this programme of study, you must be employed in the welding and fabrication industry at time of study. Candidates must enter into a 3-way training agreement between the candidate, employer and UCOL | Te Pūkenga. You'll complete the practical learning in your place of employment, or at a site agreed to by yourself and your employer. You'll be visited on a regular basis by engineering lecturers from UCOL | Te Pūkenga. 

Special needs or requirements
Students need to be aware of the physical requirements for operating in a commercial engineering environment. Students will be advised to put any special needs or requirements in writing and advise the Programme Leader before the programme begins.

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 Recognition of Prior Learning Form where a student 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 relavant 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).

Previous Related Programmes

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

  • National Certificate in Engineering - Fabrication

 Additional Costs

PPE Gear, Overalls, Gloves, Hat, Boots, Hard Hat $350.

Scientific calculator $30

Drawing equipment, compass set 150mm, 300mm rules $15

Folders, Lecture pads, pens and pencils approx $60


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.