New Zealand Certificate in Mechanical Engineering (Level 3)

This hands-on qualification is designed for people already working in the mechanical engineering, construction, manufacturing and fabrication industries, or for people who would like to complete a pre-trade qualification before entering these industries.


1 Year Full-time
*Approximate full qualification tuition fee
On campus


1 Year Full-time
*Approximate full qualification tuition fee
On campus

What You Study


This programme is made up of nine compulsory modules (listed below). These are made up of a mixture of practical and theoretical components. The nine modules incorporate assessment against 27 registered NQF unit standards.

  1. Health and Safety
  2. Calculations
  3. Drawing
  4. Machining
  5. Fabrication
  6. Welding
  7. Workshop skills
  8. Process quality
  9. Communication

Off-site practical work experience is also incorporated within the programme and will comply with Otago Polytechnic health and safety requirements and requirements for contracts with employers.

Programme specific risks

You will be working with the latest industry-relevant technology, machines, pressing equipment, and chemical dyes and may also spend time working in the industry. All safety requirements will be explained in detail at the beginning of the programme. Safety shoes and safety glasses are required to be worn in all workshops at all times.

Further study options

This qualification can lead to, but is not a prerequisite for, the following qualifications (an apprenticeship within industry at Level 4 Mechanical Engineering):

  • New Zealand Certificate in Mechanical Engineering (Trade) (Level 4) with strands in Fitting and Machining, General Engineering, Machining, Maintenance Engineering, Metal Forming, and Toolmaking
  • New Zealand Certificate in Engineering Fabrication (Trade) (Level 4) with strands in Heavy Fabrication, Light Fabrication, and Steel Construction
Domestic students

Expand your employment potential by completing an apprenticeship and then advancing your skills with our New Zealand Diploma in Engineering (Mechanical Engineering).

International students

Whilst you cannot enter an apprenticeship within New Zealand, you do have the option of progressing into our New Zealand Diploma in Engineering (Mechanical Engineering) to enhance your knowledge and skills. 


Your workload

You will be expected to complete up to 30 hours of contact time at Otago Polytechnic and up to 15 hours of additional self-directed study per week; an additional 120 hours of work experience will be required for completing as part of the programme. Usual timetable hours are Monday to Friday, 8:00am-4.30pm, which will include some self-directed hours.


Skills needed for working in this area

  • Practical thinking
  • Analytical and problem-solving skills
  • Good computer skills
  • Planning and organisational ability
  • Excellent communication skills.

Entry requirements

  • NCEA Level 1 with 10 credits in Numeracy (algebra, trigonometry, measurement recommended) and 10 credits in Literacy, OR 
  • Equivalent knowledge and skills, OR 
  • Successful completion of engineering literacy and numeracy assessment. 
  • In exceptional circumstances, an applicant under 20 who does not meet the academic entry requirements may be granted entry to the programme where they supply evidence of their ability to succeed on the programme. 
  • International students will be individually assessed to ensure they have an acceptable level of secondary school achievement. 
  • If English is not your first language, you must provide:

If you need to improve your English Language skills, we offer a wide range of English programmes.

Want your existing skills recognised?

If you have extensive knowledge and skills due to practical experience in this area, please ask us about our recognition of prior learning process. You may have already gained credits towards this qualification and could achieve it in a shorter timeframe. Please email or call 0800 762 786.


Domestic fees

Full tuition

International fees

Full tuition

Additional costs

You need to buy all of your stationery, safety equipment, and clothing before the programme starts. However, please do not buy anything until you have been offered a place on the programme and have accepted that place. You will only need your writing materials on the first day so please only bring these along.

  • Pens (blue)
  • 2 x Highlighters
  • 1 x 0.5 mechanical pencil with H replacement leads
  • 1 x 0.5 mechanical pencil with HB replacement leads
  • 40 cm Ruler
  • Eraser
  • Small Protractor
  • 2 x Sharpie permanent marker pen
  • 4 x A4 L Pocket File
  • Calculator - FX82 Scientific
  • A5 Note book Esselte (hard cover)
  • USB 8 GB Data storage
  • Earplugs - wireless or corded (must have 3.5mm plug for i-pad)
Safety equipment and clothing

All items are compulsory.

We offer competitive pricing for suppliers listed below:

Available from Road Materials (4-6 Forth Street, Dunedin) - please show your student ID

  • 2 pairs of navy/yellow cotton zip overalls - $73.91 
  • 1 x pair of safety boots (lace-up or slip-on) (AS/NZS 2210.3) - $78.26
  • 1 x earmuffs (neckband grade 5) (AS/NZS 127-:2002) - $24.87 
  • 1 x welding gloves (gauntlet - blue or red) - $11.00 
  • 1 x welding Tigga gloves - $12.90 
  • 1 x riggers gloves (leather, general purpose) - $6.90 
  • 1 x machining gloves (Honeywell Spectraknight Cut 5) - $6.90 
  • 1 x safety glasses (clear only) (AS/NZS 1337.1:2010) - $POA 

Please note: Safety glasses must fit correctly and meet approved AS/NZ standards. Safety over-spec glasses are required for prescription glasses. 

Available from BOC Gasses (4 Orari Street, Dunedin) - quote cash account number 1055084 

  • 1x welder auto darkening helmut - $62.64
  • 1x welding gloves - gauntlet (black) - $6.91
  • 1x welding Tigga gloves - $9.97
  • 1x welders cap (cotton) - $8.06  
  • 1x riggers gloves - leather (general purpose) - $4.96
  • 1x earmuffs (neckband grade 5) (AS/NZS 1270:2002) - $29.32
  • 1x MIG welding pliers - $18.58
  • 1x safety boots (lace-up or slip-on) (AS/NZS 2210.3) - $89.68
  • 1x safety glasses (clear only) (AS/NZS 1337.1:2010) - $POA

Please note: Safety classes must fit correctly and meet approved AS/NZ Standards. Safety overspec glasses required for prescription glasses.  

Tuition fees

The tuition fees shown above are approximate only. There may be a slight fee increase per year once Tertiary Education Commission (TEC) rules and guidelines are applied. These fees also don’t include additional costs or living costs.


Need more info?

If you want to chat to someone before applying for this programme, please contact: 

Rowena Gregg (Administrator):  | 03 4704354 
John Stocks (Programme Leader):  | 03 4703959

A change for 2023 enrolments

When you apply to study with Otago Polytechnic in 2023, you will be enrolled with Te Pūkenga, the new national network of vocational and applied education in Aotearoa New Zealand. You will learn in the same way, in the same place, and with the same people, and you will graduate with a Te Pūkenga qualification.

Get in touch

0800 762 786
International +64 3 477 3014