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

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

Level 4

Gain advanced mechanical engineering skills while working with UCOL's New Zealand Certificate in Mechanical Engineering (Trade) (Level 4).

A birds-eye photograph of a mechanical engineering workshop with people working on machines
Quick info

Level: 4

Locations: UCOL Manawatū in Palmerston North

Duration: Four years, part-time

08 Feb 2022 - 25 Nov 2022
25 Jul 2022 - 23 Jun 2023

Domestic Fees: *
Eligible for fees-free until 31 Dec 2022Scholarship info

International Fees:*
Not applicable.

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 qualification is designed for people working in the industry and will typically be achieved in a workplace environment whilst completing a New Zealand Apprenticeship. We welcome your enquiry.  

Learn how to perform advanced engineering tasks, specialising in fitting and machining, or general engineering.


Don’t miss your chance to study fees-free under TTAF – this free funding closes at the end of 2022!

This programme is eligible for fees-free study under the Targeted Training and Apprenticeships Fund (TTAF).

You don’t need to apply to access the Fund - just enrol in an eligible 2022 programme, and the Fund will take care of a full year of your programme’s fees, covering up to 31 December 2022.

Get enrolled now! Please contact the info centre for more details. 

 Career & Study Outcomes

Education pathway

This qualification provides a pathway to further tertiary study at certificate level in advanced Mechanical Engineering.

Career pathway

Graduates of the fitting and machining strand will be able to build and install complex machines where both precision fitting and machining skills are required.

Graduates of the general engineering strand will be able to build, maintain, and repair a broad range of machinery and equipment  using fitting, machining, fabrication, hydraulics, pneumatics, and welding skills and knowledge.

Employment options include becoming a fitter turner, fitter, or general engineer.

To find out more about possible job prospects and salaries, see Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment's Occupation Outlook for Engineering Professionals.

 Course Information

UCOL's New Zealand Certificate in Mechanical Engineering (Trade) (Level 4) comprises 280 - 300 credits.

Year One

Mechanical Engineering Principles 1 (15 Credits) (50 practicum hours)
Gain elementary trade knowledge of engineering principles and skills. The course covers health and safety, communication, identification of materials, measurement, marking out, hand tools and skills, and power hand tools.

Mechanical Engineering Practices 1 (15 Credits) (80 practicum hours)
Learn to perform defined engineering related tasks. The course covers identification of materials, trade sketching and drawing to NZ/AS1100, and trade related calculations.

Mechanical Engineering Processes 1 (15 Credits) (100 practicum hours)
Develop an operational knowledge of engineering processes in the workplace. The course covers fasteners, fitting (including pipework), maintenance, basic heat treatment, welding, toolmaking principles, and writing of SOPs.

Strand Based Project or Task 1 (15 Credits) (100 practicum hours)
Work with limited supervision to manufacture a chosen strand based project/task. During the course you'll learn applied mathematics, industry terminology, spatial skills, health and safety, and communication skills.

Year Two

Mechanical Engineering Principles 2 (15 Credits) (30 practicum hours)
Gain an operational understanding of engineering principles. The course covers:

  • Composition of common engineering metals and their uses
  • Maintenance and fitting
  • Machining processes - lathe, mill (horizontal and vertical), drill presses, and precision grinders
  • Power transmission systems and bearings
  • Basic fluid power

Mechanical Engineering Princples 3 (15 Credits) (60 practicum hours) (Fitting and Machining Strand)
Learn to draw and design components manually and with computer assistance. The course covers:

  • Drawing in 3rd angle orthographic projection and recognising 1st angle orthographic projection, sectioning (single object), dimensioning (including fits and limits) and title blocks – all to NZ/AS1100 
  • International tolerancing – fits and limits
  • Basic mechanical principles, levers, triangle of forces, simple machines, density, SG, thermal expansion/contraction, mass, weight force – including basic mechanics of machines
  • Applied trade calculations including trig, Pythagoras, gear trains, basic pressure and stress.

Mechanical Engineering Princples 3 (15 Credits) (30 practicum hours) (General Engineering Strand)
Develop an applied knowledge of mechanical engineering principles. The course covers:<

  • Drawings produced to NZ/AS 1100 – manual and computer aided design
  • Multiple item, assembled, sectioned and dimensioned, surface texture, drawing updates/versions 
  • International geometrical tolerancing
  • Intermediate trade calculations 
  • Sustainability and minimising waste.

Mechanical Engineering Skills (15 Credits) (60 practicum hours)
Gain an applied operational knowledge of technical workshop practice skills. The course covers mechanical fitting, machinery and tools, servicing machinery, seals, brazing (including hard and soft soldering), operating CNC machinery, and intermediate measuring and quality control, with introduction to toleranced projects.

Strand Based Project or Task 2 (15 Credits) (100 practicum hours)
Manufacture a chosen strand based project and/or task. 

Precision Machining 1 (15 Credits) (50 practicum hours) (Fitting and Machining Strand)
Gain an applied operational knowledge of precision machining. The course covers:

  • Manual machining
  • Modern machinery
  • Cutting tool technology
  • Heat treatment processes involved in the manufacture of a single cavity die
  • CNC machinery and communication with/from
  • Mensuration and QA
  • Practical costing, reporting and communicating with others
  • Sustainability and minimising waste

Maintenance and Welding Skills 1 (15 Credits) (60 practicum hours) (General Engineering Strand)
Gain an operational knowledge of fitting and maintenance. The course covers:

  • Levelling, aligning, fitting balancing, repair
  • Manual welding - MMAW positions:- horizontal, vertical - down hand and up hand; tungsten 
  • Inert Gas - TIG; metal inert gas - MIG; MMAW down hand; thermal cutting. Material range all processes:- (mild steel, aluminium and stainless)
  • Thermal cutting and gouging using oxy/acetylene, plasma, arc, laser and air.
  • Diagnosing and repairing precision machinery/equipment under limited supervision, including bearings, seals, and other componentry. Also includes static and dynamic balancing.

Year Three

Mechanical Engineering Principles 3 (15 Credits) (30 practicum hours)
See above.

Advanced Maintenance (15 Credits) (30 practicum hours)
Gain advanced skills to maintain plant and machinery. The course covers:

  • Engineering process control
  • Modern manufacturing concepts and their significance in plant maintenance
  • Monitor the condition of, align, and level machinery and equipment
  • Understand process control systems and downstream implication/s on plant maintenance
  • Communication

Strand Based Project Planning (15 Credits) (100 practicum hours)
Learn to plan for a chosen strand based project and/or task.

Strand Based Project (30 Credits) (200 practicum hours)

Year Four

Management Practice (10 Credits) (30 practicum hours)
Gain a fundamental understanding of engineering management practice.

  • Basic management practice and business practice 
  • Customer relationships
  • Basic accounting practice including estimating, quoting and tendering 
  • Supervision and overseeing of junior staff
  • Critical Project Management and critical path analysis, just in time, Kaisan methodology, continual quality improvement
  • Project management and associated software.

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

Advanced Machining and Measurement (15 Credits) (50 practicum hours) (Fitting and Machining Strand)
Learn advanced manual high precision machining and measurement strategies of high precision applications.

Advanced Fluid Power (15 Credits) (30 practicum hours)
Gain an advanced knowledge of fluid power installations and preventable maintenance technologies.

Strand Based Project or Task 3 (15 Credits) (100 practicum hours) (General Engineering Strand)
Learn to operate under very limited supervision to produce a chosen strand based project/task.

Elective Course (15 Credits)

  • Strand Based Project or Task 3
  • Strand Based Mechanical Engineering Processes 6
  • Pressure Valves and Pipework
  • Site Installation

General Engineering strand options:

  • Pressure Valves and Pipework
  • Site Installation

 Domestic Entry Requirements

NCEA Level 2


equivalent academic achievement


on a case-by-case basis at the discretion of the Executive Dean


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, candidates must be employed in the mechanical engineering  (general engineering or fitting and machining) industry at time of study. Candidates must enter into a 3-way training agreement between the candidate, employer and UCOL. 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. 

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 appropriate 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 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).

 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 Act 1989, and Universal College of Learning (UCOL) Trading as Universal College of Learning (UCOL) is accredited to teach it.