Mechanical engineering relaunch

Training the next generation of engineers

Engineering is the biggest industry sector at Competenz. We currently support more than 3,000 active learners across mechanical engineering and fabrication qualifications.

As technology and automation are rapidly driving change in this sector, our engineering programmes went through a significant transformation to better meet the needs of industry in 2018.

In one of the largest, and most complex pieces of work ever undertaken by Competenz, the engineering programmes were reviewed, in consultation with industry experts across New Zealand.

Our estimates, prepared by independent economic agency Infometrics, indicate that we need to find at least 3,000 people per year across the mechanical engineering, fabrication, refrigeration, heating, ventilation and air-conditioning sectors.

We work with thousands of engineering and manufacturing businesses across the country and it’s their knowledge and expertise that has helped us develop apprenticeship programmes that meet their needs, now and in the future.

We now have new apprentices in programmes leading towards New Zealand Certificates, which will replace the National Certificates.


Engineering apprenticeship programmes introduced in 2018

  • New Zealand Certificate in Mechanical Engineering (Trade) Level 4 with strands in General Engineering, Machining, Toolmaking, Fitting and Machining, and Maintenance
  • New Zealand Certificate in Engineering Fabrication (Trade) Level 4 with strands in Heavy Fabrication, Light Fabrication and Steel Construction
  • New Zealand Certificate in Mechanical Building Services (Trade) Level 4.


New tools for learners

The transformation also encompassed some new tools for learners including:

  • New learning resources and assessment available online 24/7 via Canvas eLearning
  • After-hours phone support available to all learners
  • Project-based block courses
  • Smaller blocks of learning structured to build on previous learning for complex subjects
  • New study groups commencing in 2019.


New microlearning engineering courses

For those not in a position to take on a whole apprenticeship, but wanting to build skills to meet the changing needs of their business, Competenz also launched new microlearning courses in engineering. These bite-sized courses help learners to stay up-to-date and competitive. They also allow the learner to learn online at their own pace, anytime, anywhere, on any device.


Microlearning courses introduced in 2018

  • Engineering maths
  • Lean engineering
  • Health and safety.


Case study – SAFE Engineering

‘Apprentices don’t grow on trees’

Barry Robinson, Chairman of the Maintenance Engineering Society of New Zealand (MESNZ) and General Manager of SAFE Engineering, has trained dozens of apprentices throughout his career and says it’s vital for the future of the engineering industry.

“One of the biggest challenges facing engineering firms is making sure there are enough good people coming through the pipeline. And my question to businesses facing that challenge is, are you training people?

“If you’re not training people do you expect other people to train your staff? You’ve got to grow them, they’re not going to grow on trees.”

Barry helped Competenz review the previous engineering qualifications and create the New Zealand Certificates to ensure they are fit for purpose, now and in the future. “It’s such an exciting time for young people now. Because we’re so short of engineers and will be for some time, the opportunities for apprentices are boundless.”


Supporting apprentices to succeed


Apprentices do most of their learning on-the-job and are also required to complete online eLearning and attend block courses for two to three weeks each year.

Competenz CEO Fiona Kingsford says: “We’re really excited to offer a new support model with these programmes to ensure apprentices are set up for success. As well as regular visits from their Competenz training advisor, they can use a dedicated phone support service after hours when they’re doing their eLearning at home.

“Our study group option will also allow apprentices to network and tackle some of their eLearning together.”