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New Zealand Certificate in Electrical Pre-Trade (Level 3)

Do you want to work in the electrical industry? This pre-trade certificate is your starting point towards a career as a registered electrician and to begin your training in any electrical engineering industry.

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

Programme overview

As part of the government’s Targeted Training and Apprenticeships Fund (TTAF) to help upskill workers in roles critical to the economy, this programme has no fees*. Click here for a list of the programmes that are covered by this scheme.

Start your electrical engineering training with the New Zealand Certificate in Electrical Pre-Trade (Level 3) (NZCEP). This pre-trade programme is a great first step in electrical training before you enter into an apprenticeship arrangement with an employer.

You’ll learn and develop Level 3 competencies such as:

  • Fault diagnosis and testing techniques
  • Safe practices
  • Electrical legislation
  • Installation and maintenance of electrical equipment
  • Communicating with stakeholders on electrical and related matters

The NZCEP is suitable for you if you wish to pathway into a career as a registered Electrician and related electrical fields or further education in Electrical or Electronics Engineering.


Qualification pathway

Once you’ve successfully completed this programme you’ll receive the qualification New Zealand Certificate in Electrical Pre-Trade (Level 3).

Graduates of this qualification will be able to work within the electrical industry as an electrical apprentice, including maintaining current competency and communicating with stakeholders on electrical and related matters, in the context of the wider electrical industry and under supervision in a controlled environment. You will also have the option to progress into further education such as the New Zealand Diploma in Engineering (Electrical) or Bachelor of Applied Technology - Electrotechnology or other Electrical or Electronic programmes.

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 qualificationsContact 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,and English.
2. 8 credits at NCEA Level 1 in English (4 in reading, 4 in writing).
3. A minimum of 3 years secondary education.
4. Be 16 years old by the time the programme starts.
5. If English is not your first language, you will 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

Don't have NCEA? We also accept:

  • A relevant qualification at Level 2 on the NZQF or above or an equivalent qualification; or
  • Provide 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
Workplace Skills and Safety (ENCE3001) 15.0 credits (0.125 EFTS) Students will apply electrical workplace standards and health and safety practices. They will also achieve/maintain a first aid certificate.
DC Fundamentals (ENCE3002) 15.0 credits (0.125 EFTS) Students will apply fundamental theory and principles of Direct Current (DC) circuits and systems.
AC Fundamentals (ENCE3003) 15.0 credits (0.125 EFTS) Students will apply fundamental theory and principles of magnetism and electromagnetism and demonstrate the safe use of the tools and equipment used in an electrical workplace.
Cables, Fittings and Testing (ENCE3004) 15.0 credits (0.125 EFTS) Students will install, test and fault-find electrical cords, cables, and equipment in accordance with legislation.
Supply Systems (ENCE3005) 15.0 credits (0.125 EFTS) Students will apply knowledge of the New Zealand electricity supply system and methods used to ensure the protection of users and installations.
Protection, Plans and Circuits (ENCE3006) 15.0 credits (0.125 EFTS) Students will apply knowledge of circuit protection, electrical drawing conventions, switching circuits and lighting.
Installations (ENCE3007) 15.0 credits (0.125 EFTS) Students will apply knowledge of cable and wiring systems, damp situations and special installations.
Transformers, Electrical Machines and Isolation (ENCE3008) 15.0 credits (0.125 EFTS) Students will apply theories underpinning the operation of transformers, electrical machines, and isolation procedures.

Moving to Te Pūkenga

Vocational education in Aotearoa (New Zealand) is changing to better meet the needs of learners like you.

As part of this transformational change, in 2023 Unitec will become fully part of Te Pūkenga, a national network delivering skills training in a wide range of locations throughout Aotearoa.

This means that while you are enrolling with Unitec now, from Semester 1, 2023 you will become a Te Pūkenga learner.

Te Pūkenga has the success and wellbeing of learners at its heart, and a review of all programmes is currently underway to help support this, including this programme. The aim is to make qualifications more portable, consistent and closely aligned with the needs of industry, and more in tune with where the world is headed.

The information contained here is correct at the time of publishing, but as the programme review is ongoing, the courses outlined may be liable to change over time.

Rest assured that we will notify you of any material changes to delivery that might impact what you study, where you study or the ways you learn.