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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 everything on wheels and want to work in the automotive industry? This is the programme to get your career started in automotive engineering.

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 to 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


  • Learn and work in Mataaho, our purpose built trades facility. This includes multiple workshop spaces, as well as the Giltrap Volkswagen sponsored 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
  • 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

Qualification pathway

Once you’ve successfully completed this programme you can go into work as a trainee or apprentice. You can also go on to further study with Unitec in the:

International students/graduates: This programme is eligible for a Student Visa. After completion of this programme, graduates will not be eligible for a Post Study Work Visa, however you do have options to progress into further qualifications. Contact 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.