Otago Polytechnic

Electrical Engineering (Trade)

Are you interested in electricity and hands on work? Becoming an electrician could be for you! 

What does a typical working day look like? 

Standard working hours for electricians in New Zealand are 8:00-4:30, Monday to Friday but these hours can very. It is also common for electricians to be on call and work outside these hours as electrical problems can occur at any time.  

Some of the most common jobs completed by electricians include  

  • Installing, repairing and replacing electrical wiring, fixtures and equipment  
  • Using a verity of tools and equipment, such as power construction equipment measuring devices and power tools 
  • Testing electrical systems and circuits in electrical wiring, equipment or fixtures, using testing devices to ensure safety of systems  
  • Connecting and disconnecting electrical wiring for various electrical components such as circuit breakers and transformers  
  • Inspecting electrical systems, equipment, or components to identify hazards, defects, or the need for adjustment or repair. 
  • Diagnosing malfunctioning systems, machinery, or components, using test equipment and hand tools to locate the cause of a breakdown and correct the problem. 

Gaining a level four certificate in Electrical Engineering Theory and Practice (trade) at Otago Polytechnic includes:  

  • A four-year apprenticeship where you are payed to work alongside a registered electrician and learn on the job 
  • Attending a three-hour weekly night class during the polytechnic term  
  • Attending a yearly weeklong block course  
  • Potential additional self-directed study (typically no more than 9 hours a week) 

Types of assessments involved: 

At the end of your apprenticeship you will need to sit an exam to become qualified. Throughout the four years of study you will also be required to complete several smaller assessments such as report writing and practical labs.   

Entry Requirements 

Overall Academic IELTS 5.5 with no individual band score lower than 5.0 (achieved in one test completed in the last two years), OR equivalent.  

You are required to have found your own employment as an apprentice in the electrician industry before applying for this program. While this is your responsibility, Otago Polytechnic can help by providing industry contacts who are happy to take on apprentices. 

 If you are unable to secure an apprenticeship another option is to enrol in the New Zealand Certificate in Electrical Engineering Theory course. This is a one year, fulltime, pre apprenticeship course. Completing this program prepares you well for an apprenticeship and provides you with work experience that can help with finding an apprenticeship. At the end of the year, you will also learn interview techniques that will help you approach employers when looking for a payed apprenticeship.  Click HERE For more information on this level three certificate. 

You may also be required to complete the Engineering Maths Summer School program. This specially designed four-week long maths course begins in the month of January and provide students with the Maths requirement needed to apply for any of the engineering programs.  To find out more information about the Engineering Maths Summer School click HERE 

For a full list of entry requirements into this program click HERE and scroll down to the ‘entry requirements’ tab. 

Extra information 

Watch a video that further explains the electrical engineering and trades pathways at Otago Polytechnic.

Electrical Engineering Trade at Otago Polytechnic