Kaihangarau Pūkaha Waka
This job is sometimes referred to by alternative titles
Automotive technicians service and repair vehicles and their parts and systems.
Automotive technicians with less than two years’ experience usually earn
$15-$18 per hour
Automotive technicians with two or more years’ experience usually earn
$24-$30 per hour
Current job prospects
How many people are doing this job?
Source: Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, '2003-2012 Occupation Data' (prepared for Careers New Zealand), 2012.
Pay varies, but according to industry sources automotive technicians usually earn between the minimum wage and $35 an hour:
- Apprentice automotive technicians and those with less than two years' experience usually start out on $15 to $18 an hour.
- Those with two to five years' experience can earn between $21 and $35 an hour.
- Senior automotive technicians, or those working in supervisory positions, can earn between $47,000 and $95,000 a year.
What you will do
Automotive technicians may do some or all of the following:
- diagnose faults in vehicles, and work out what is causing them
- dismantle engines, parts or systems requiring attention
- rebuild, repair or replace any faulty parts or systems
- service vehicles, including changing vehicle lubricants (such as oil) and coolants (such as radiator coolant)
- carry out vehicle Warrant of Fitness checks
- carry out performance modifications to vehicles.
Skills and knowledge
Automotive technicians need to have knowledge of:
- vehicle engines, parts and systems
- vehicle electronic systems
- Warrant of Fitness regulations and safety standards.
- usually work regular business hours, but may do shift work, weekends, and be on call
- work in garages and workshops
- may travel to repair vehicles that have broken down.
What's the job really like?
Julius talks about life as an automotive technician - 1.13 mins. (Video courtesy of Got a Trade? Got it Made!)
The financial aspect of an apprenticeship was really appealing to me. I didn’t have to pay for my tuition and that has put me ahead of my peers, in the fact that I can look at buying a house this year and none of my friends who went to university can do that.
I finished my apprenticeship about a year ago, since then I have taken up MITO’s First Line Management course, and in doing so I have managed to become Workshop Manager. That means I manage the seven guys we’ve got on the floor here. I organise parts, organise jobs, deal with customers. But for me I have had to step up my game, taking what I learnt on the floor and applying it to the people that are working under me.
Looking back on my apprenticeship I am really glad I did it, it means that I get to do a day job that I really enjoy, involved in an industry that I really wanted to be in and I’ve really enjoyed it.
I am Julius, I’m 22 and I’ve got it made.
To become a qualified automotive technician you need to complete an apprenticeship and gain a Level 4 National Certificate in Motor Industry in one of the following areas:
Light Vehicle Technician
To become a qualified automotive mechanic specialising in light vehicles you need to gain a Level 4 National Certificate in Motor Industry (Automotive Electrical and Mechanical Engineering) with a strand in Light Vehicles.
Heavy Vehicle Technician
To become a qualified heavy vehicle technician you need to complete an apprenticeship and gain a Level 4 National Certificate in Motor Industry (Automotive Heavy Engineering). Apprentices usually specialise in either trucks and buses, heavy plant equipment, like earthmoving and forestry machinery, or agriculture equipment.
To become a qualified motorcycle technician you need to complete an apprenticeship and gain a Level 4 National Certificate in Motor Industry (Automotive Electrical and Mechanical Engineering) with a strand in Motorcycles.
Entry skills course useful
You can also complete a Level 2 National Certificate in Motor Industry (Entry Skills) before beginning an automotive technician apprenticeship. This will give you many of the basic skills required by employers.
- MITO website - qualifications in the motor industry
- MITO website - find out more about the National Certificate in Motor Industry (Entry Skills)
At least three years of secondary education with a good standard in English and maths is recommended. Other useful subjects include science, and workshop technology.
Students can also take part in a secondary school automotive training programme, called Startup, to learn more about the automotive industry. Startup is run by MITO, and the programme includes both theory and practical components, so students can gain NCEA credits as well as practical work experience. Students can gain the Level 1 National Certificate in Motor Industry (Foundation Skills).
Automotive technicians need to be:
- able to analyse and diagnose faults
- accurate, logical and patient
- alert, with an eye for detail
- able to provide good customer service and have good communication skills.
Work in an automotive workshop may be useful.
Automotive technicians need to have a good level of fitness. They spend a lot of time on their feet and need to be able to work in, under, and around vehicles. They also need to have good hand-eye co-ordination and good hearing.
Find out more about training
- 0800 88 2121 - firstname.lastname@example.org - www.mito.org.nz
What are the chances of getting a job?
Opportunities are good for people working as automotive technicians, and especially good for those working as heavy vehicle technicians.
Demand for automotive technicians has been increasing because of:
- an increase in the number of new car sales and registrations
- an overall increase in the number of cars registered in New Zealand.
Heavy vehicle technicians in shortage
The job of heavy vehicle technician appears on Immigration New Zealand's long-term skill shortage list, which means the Government is actively encouraging skilled heavy vehicle technicians from overseas to work in New Zealand.
Demand for heavy vehicle technicians is strong because more freight is being transported by road, increasing the need for truck servicing. Demand is particularly high from the mining and forestry industries, which need earthmoving equipment and trucks serviced.
Types of employers varied
Automotive technicians work for:
- vehicle dealerships and servicing companies
- agricultural equipment servicing companies
- heavy equipment servicing companies that deal with machines such as fork-lifts, excavators and earth moving equipment
- road transport (heavy trucking) companies
- passenger transport (bus) companies
- workshops specialising in farm vehicles such as quad bikes.
- Ministry for Business, Innovation and Employment, ‘2003-2012 Occupation Data’ (prepared for Careers New Zealand), 2012.
- Motor Industry Association website, 'What's New', accessed August 2014. (www.mia.org.nz)
- NZ Motor Industry Training Organisation (MITO),'Investment Plan 2014', 2014.
- MTA website, 'News and Events', accessed August 2014.(www.mta.org.nz)
- NZ Transport Agency, 'New Zealand motor vehicle registration statistics', June 2013, (www.nzta.govt.nz).
Progression and specialisations
Qualified automotive mechanics can do further training to become advanced technicians.
Automotive mechanics may also move into management and customer service roles or into other engineering or automotive occupations such as automotive electrician. Automotive mechanics can also become self-employed.
Automotive mechanics specialise and train in one type of automotive engineering:
- Light vehicle technician
- Light vehicle technicians service and repair cars, vans, trucks and other light vehicles.
- Heavy vehicle technician
- Heavy vehicle technicians service and repair heavy vehicles such as trucks, buses, bulldozers and tractors.
- Motorcycle technician
- Motorcycle technicians service and repair motorcycles, scooters and quad bikes.
Last updated 13 January 2016