Combine unrivalled petrol and diesel mechanic training with military skills and a range of experiences that civilian mechanic careers just can’t match.

  • Service
  • Specialisation
    Apprenticeship Trades
  • Location
  • Starting Salary
  • Upcoming Intake
    27 February, 2023
Automotive Tech Square 20220909

About the role

As an Automotive Technician, you are responsible for keeping the Army moving. You will be repairing and maintaining all operational vehicles and equipment. This could be anything from a forklift to a Light Armoured Vehicle (LAV) and you will earn trade-certified qualifications along the way.

The NZ Army fleet of vehicles is primarily diesel, but there are a few vehicles which run on petroleum. You will be given all the knowledge and tools required to diagnose and repair any possible fault with any of our fleet of vehicles, from motorbikes to the LAV.

Job on base

There is a wide variety of equipment which needs to be maintained and repaired in camp. You will find yourself working in a number of locations within camp and maintaining equipments from a LAV to a motorcycle.

The range of repairs is you will perform ranges from engine replacements to engine tunes. Variety is also provided in day to day camp routine by the inclusion of sport, PT, parades and other general soldier training activities.

Job on deployment

Automotive Technicians deploy on a variety of overseas deployments and postings, which could range from a three-month deployment to a South Pacific nation to a deployment of 8 months with the United Nations.

While on deployed you will find yourself working on a wide variety of equipment from chainsaws to the LAV fleet. The working environment will also be different and you could be working at night to repair equipment from under a tarpaulin on grass or be working within a concrete floored building. The exciting part of this job is the challenge of having to repair equipment with sometimes limited resources.

My job out here is on the tools, swinging spanners, maintaining and servicing the whole fleet of vehicles.

Ryan Hanrahan

Lance Corporal

Career progression and training

Career Progression

Basic Training

Job Training

Ongoing Training

Career progression as an Automotive Technician with the New Zealand Army is aligned to the National Certificate in Motor Industry (Automotive Heavy Engineering) with strand in Road Transport (level 4). You will receive training within the Army that aligns and supports to the current MITO apprenticeship culminating in a level 4 national certificate qualification in approximately 4 years. You will also receive specialist equipment training specific to New Zealand Army equipment, at no cost to you.

Once you have qualified within the trade of Automotive Technician, you will then have opportunities to supervise and train apprentices, progressing through to various levels of Workshop Foreman.

Upon successful enlistment into the Army you will be posted to Waiouru Army base. Here you will do 16 weeks of basic military training to find out if you have what it takes to be in the Army, and learn various subjects including:

  • Organisation and Administration
  • Army Customs and Protocol
  • Drill and Parades
  • Military Field Skills and Weapon Training
  • First Aid
  • Physical Fitness

A four week course held at the Trade Training School (Trentham), where you will be introduced to basic RNZALR skills.

Training includes:

  • Operational Combat Services Support concepts
  • Operating in-service communications equipment
  • Concealing equipment systems
  • Operating vehicle recovery equipment
  • And military vehicles and their functions

This is a 12 month course which combines training from both WelTec and the NZ Army TTS preparing apprentices to undertake their apprenticeship in one of the two major NZ Army workshops. This course also includes 17 weeks attending WelTech to complete a National Certificate in Motor Industry. This Training includes but is not limited too:

  • Workshop safety and procedures
  • Tools and welding
  • Lubricants and sealant
  • Running engines
  • Cooling systems
  • And brake systems, wheels and tyres

Seven weeks learning the intricacies of the vehicles of the Army fleet, from motorcycles to heavy machinery.

CONTINUED TRADE TRAINING (courses through to Level 5 in the Automotive Heavy Trade)

This training involves block courses at polytechnics where you will learn vehicle repair and familiarisation at the Trade Training School in Trentham.

Once you have completed your qualification as a Vehicle Mechanic, there will be opportunities to further your qualifications within trade, undertaking auto-electrical and plant qualifications. Further courses in maintaining the NZ LAV and specialist field equipment can also be completed.

Army Automotive Technician full width 02

Salary and benefits

Careers in the Army are well-rewarded, diverse and exciting. As you become more experienced and move up through the ranks, gaining additional skills and qualifications, your salary will rise accordingly.




Starting Apprenticeship


Trade Qualified

Benefits and allowances

There are many additional benefits to being in the Defence Force, that will make your money go further.

For example, on top of your basic salary you can expect ‘Military Factor’. This provides you with significant extra financial rewards because of the commitment you’ve made to serve your country.

Free medical and dental

Access to subsidised equipment on base

Subsidised food on base

Competitive superannuation, up to 4% with KiwiSaver

Sponsored tertiary study programmes at all levels

Entry requirements



Fitness and Medical


Period of Service

  • You must be at least 17 years of age
  • Meet the citizenship and security requirements to gain CV security clearance for this trade
  • A Class 1 restricted licence is preferred, but is not compulsory.

You must have achieved NCEA Level 1 with a minimum of 12 credits in Level 1 Science.

Find out more about the NCEA levels and certificate requirements

  • You must be medically fit for service.
  • Colour perception restrictions may apply.

There are strict citizenship and security requirements to gain the required CV security clearance for this trade.

Find out if you’re eligible here.

Once you have completed training you will be required to give a two year return of service to the NZ Army.

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