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3 automotive engineering students at Unitec working on a car engine together with a workshop classroom in the background

New Zealand Certificate in Automotive Engineering

Do you have a passion for cars or trucks and want to work in the automotive industry? This is the programme to start your automotive engineering career, and you can study while you are working.

120 (1.0 EFTS)
Mt Albert
Start dates
February or July
Full-time for 1 year, or part-time options available

Programme overview

Build your foundational knowledge and learn how to service general automotive systems and be able to work within commercial work environments.

As a graduate of this programme you will be able to:

  • Comply with workplace policies, procedures, and relevant regulations to work safely and effectively in an automotive workshop
  • Select and use tools and equipment for the completion of basic workshop engineering tasks
  • Apply fundamental knowledge of automotive engineering systems to the maintenance of engine and driveline systems
  • Assess the operation and perform minor repairs on vehicle electrical and electronic control systems
  • Apply fundamental knowledge of automotive engineering systems to the maintenance of steering, suspension, and braking systems


  • Flexible study options available, we have full-time (Evening full-time study option available from 3.30 PM to 8.30 PM) and part-time study options available.
  • Practice while you learn in our purpose-built trades facility. This includes multiple workshop spaces, as well as the Giltrap Volkswagen-sponsored automotive lab with the latest emulation and simulation technologies
  • Work with state-of-the-art automotive technical training equipment
  • Work on real systems including engines, transmissions, and live vehicles
  • Hands-on working environment – the workshop IS the classroom
  • Learn how to service a range of automotive electrical, electronic and mechanical systems

About part-time study

Our part-time option is designed for students who wish to gain this qualification while working in the automotive industry. If you have any queries about this option, please contact

Funding your study

Find out how to fund your study, including which loans and allowances are available, the fees-free tertiary study policy, grants, and hardship, and click here to view options for funding your study

Qualification pathway

Once you graduate you'll have a range of options in the automotive area, you can work as a trainee or start your automotive apprenticeship in a light automotive or automotive electrical programme, or even enroll in our Bachelor of Applied Technology - Automotive Engineering programme

International students/graduates:  Graduates of this programme will not be eligible for a Post Study Work Visa. However, you do have options to progress into further qualifications. E-mail our Visa Team to understand qualifications eligible for Student or Post Study Work Visas.


Admission requirements

For this programme, you will need the following:

1. NCEA Level 1 in Mathematics, English, and Physics or General Science, or equivalent

2. If English is not your first language, you need one or more of the following:

  • Have achieved NCEA Level 3 and New Zealand University Entrance
  • Be able to provide evidence you satisfy our criteria for existing English proficiency
  • Have achieved at least one English proficiency outcome in the last two years

As part of the selection process for this programme, you may be asked to take part in an interview.

Don't have NCEA? We also accept:

  • Sufficient evidence to be eligible for special or discretionary admission

For more information download the programme regulations:

Programme Regulations

Courses and timetables

For more details on the courses including timetables, please click on the course names below.

Courses Credits Aim
Automotive Workshop Safety (APTE3101) 10.0 credits (0.083 EFTS) To introduce workplace policies, procedures and relevant regulations to work safely and effectively in an automotive workshop.
Workshop Engineering Tools and Equipment - Compulsory (APTE3102) 15.0 credits (0.125 EFTS) To introduce students the use tools and equipment to complete basic workshop engineering tasks.
Engines and Cooling System (APTE3103) 15.0 credits (0.125 EFTS) To enable students to describe engine operation and carry out an engine overhaul and service an engine cooling system.
Engine Tuning and Fuel Systems (APTE3104) 10.0 credits (0.083 EFTS) To enable students to describe and diagnose engine tuning and fuel systems.
Automotive Brakes and Steering (APTE3105) 25.0 credits (0.208 EFTS) To apply fundamental automotive engineering knowledge to service steering, suspension and brake systems
Automotive Transmissions and Driveline Systems (APTE3106) 10.0 credits (0.083 EFTS) To enable students to describe the function, purpose and location of transmissions and service systems.
Automotive Electrical Technology (APTE3107) 10.0 credits (0.083 EFTS) To develop students’ knowledge of electrical principles in vehicle circuits.
Automotive Electronic and HVAC Systems (APTE3108) 25.0 credits (0.208 EFTS) To enable students to describe and service electronic circuits and demonstrate knowledge of HVAC systems.

Unitec is part of Te Pūkenga

On 1 October 2022 Unitec became part of Te Pūkenga. Find out more about Te Pūkenga and what this means for you.