Our Automotive Technicians keep the force moving, repairing and maintaining all operational vehicles and equipment. Combine unrivaled diesel and petrol mechanic training with military skills and a range of experiences that civilian mechanic careers can’t match.

  • Service
  • Specialisation
    Apprenticeship Trades
  • Location
  • Starting Trade Training

About the role

An average day for an Automotive Technician involves a large portion of “swinging spanners”, a term that is used in the workshop to describe working on vehicles or time on the tools. You’ll repair and maintain all operational vehicles and equipment in camp. This could range from our Light Armoured Vehicles (LAV) and Medium Heavy Operational Vehicles (MHOV), to a motorbike or even an engine in a chainsaw. The NZ Army fleet of vehicles is primarily diesel, but there are a few vehicles which run on petroleum.

As an Automotive Technician, you’ll find plenty of variety in your work. In any given month, you might be in the workshop, on a field exercise, completing a career development course or out at the range shooting. Plus you’ll earn trade-certified qualifications along the way.

Job on base

You’ll be responsible for keeping the Army moving and providing support wherever you are in camp. You will be given all the knowledge and tools required to diagnose and repair any possible fault with any of our fleet of vehicles. The repairs you will perform range from basic servicing tasks to engine replacements. Variety is also provided in your day-to-day camp routine by the inclusion of sport, PT, parades, and other soldier skills and training activities.

Job on deployment

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

While deployed you will find yourself working on a wide variety of equipment, from forklifts to the MHOVs and MAN Trucks. You'll fix what you can in the field, or recover the vehicle to bring it back to base for repair. Your working environment will differ: 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.

Not only do we get to work on all the vehicles but we get taught how to drive all of them as well. That includes the Light Armoured Vehicles and the new Bushmasters.

Tiana, Automotive Technician

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.

CPL Dale Gilbertson says that an Automotive Technician's work isn't glamorous, but it's rewarding

Swinging Spanners

“You meet and work with great people, you get to pursue sports, you can study, and occasionally, you get to go out around New Zealand and shoot stuff.”

Automotive Tech Square 20220909

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.


Under Initial Training


Starting Trade Training


Future Potential Earnings

Figures updated on July 1st 2023

Benefits and allowances

Earn a competitive salary while training or learning your trade, along with additional allowances for time spent in the field, at sea, overseas, or deployed on operations.

In addition to salary and allowances, other benefits of joining the New Zealand Defence Force include:

Access to your Service marae or tūrangawaewae

Sponsored tertiary study programmes at all levels

Free access to gyms and swimming pools on camp and bases

Opportunities to travel

Free and subsidised medical and dental care

Subsidised food and accommodation on camps and bases

Free and subsidised insurance cover

Help to buy a home and save for retirement

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.

3 years secondary school.

Note, that qualifications may be used to assess trade suitability.

  • 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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