- Brooks, S, industry/qualifications manager, Competenz, Careers New Zealand interview, October 2011.
- Competenz, 'Locksmithing Training Information', accessed July 2013, (www.competenz.org.nz).
- Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment,'2003-2012 Occupation Data' (prepared for Careers New Zealand), 2013.
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Locksmith - How to enter the job Alternative titles
Locksmiths maintain, repair, install and replace locks, keys, safes and locking devices in businesses, private homes, building sites and vehicles.
Call us on 0800 222 733
Pay for locksmiths varies depending on experience, allowances and location:
- Locksmith apprentices may start on the minimum apprentice rate but usually start on about $15 an hour, with their pay increasing as they gain skills and unit standards.
- Locksmiths with one to three years' experience usually earn between $15 and $20 an hour.
- Experienced locksmiths can earn between $20 and $24 an hour.
Self-employed locksmiths may earn considerably more than this, depending on the profitability of their businesses.
Source: NZ Locksmith Association.
- Ministry of Business, Innovation, and Employment website - information about minimum pay rates
- MoreBusiness.com website - use this calculator to convert pay and salary information
What you will do
Locksmiths may do some or all of the following:
- discuss security needs with clients
- install and repair locks, safes and alarm systems
- cut or make keys to fit locks and reset combination locks
- open jammed locks and safes
- advise on locks, safes and general security
- develop and design master key systems
- unlock vehicles and make replacement keys if necessary
- help law enforcement agencies with tenancy evictions, repossessions, search warrants, and forensic investigations.
Skills and knowledge
Locksmiths need to have:
- knowledge of master keying, key making and key cutting
- knowledge of different lock types, safes and locking mechanisms
- knowledge of lock repair methods and locksmith workshop equipment
- knowledge of security alarm systems.
- work regular business hours and may be on call. Occasionally they may have to work at night or during weekends
- work in workshops, businesses, private homes and vehicles. They may work from a mobile workshop in a van
- may sometimes have to travel within their region to do jobs.
What's the job really like?
Jeremy Phillips - Locksmith
Hastings locksmith Jeremy Phillips occasionally finds himself surrounded by police, but not because he's done anything wrong.
"Part of my work is helping police execute search warrants, or attending tenancy evictions or repossessions. It's not something any apprentice is going to get thrown into, but it is part of the job."
Although most days are not so dramatic, there are still plenty of problems to solve. "On a typical day, I might have two jobs pre-booked. Then throughout the rest of the day I will be sent out on calls –maybe between eight and 10 call-outs a day. Those calls might be anything from just unlocking a car to re-keying a house."
It's the challenging jobs that Jeremy likes the most. "The biggest thrill I get is unlocking stuff that you're not supposed to be able to unlock. It's great when you work out how to open something that you know some little boffin in a laboratory somewhere spent a lot of time designing to make it hard for you, and you were just smarter than him. There's a lot of variety and it's a very stimulating job mentally."
To become a locksmith you need to complete a three-year apprenticeship and gain a National Certificate in Locksmithing (Level 4).
Competenz, an industry training organisation, oversees locksmith apprenticeships.
Locksmiths must not have any criminal convictions that have a term of imprisonment attached. A security guard licence may be required and it is helpful to have a driver's licence.
- Competenz website - information about the National Certificate in Locksmithing
- Competenz website - information about apprenticeships
Useful subjects include NCEA Level 2 English, maths, workshop technology and computing.
Locksmiths need to be:
- careful and accurate, with an eye for detail
- thorough and efficient
- honest and reliable
- good at problem-solving, with the ability to think laterally
- able to work alone and unsupervised.
Useful experience for locksmiths includes:
- basic engineering and mechanical workshop skills
- basic welding
- metalwork, woodwork and carpentry
- work with electronic equipment.
Locksmiths need to have good eyesight (with or without corrective lenses).
View information on courses in the course database
Find out more about training
- 0800 526 1800 - firstname.lastname@example.org - www.competenz.org.nz
years of training required
What are the chances of getting a job?
According to Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment estimates, the number of locksmiths has been steadily increasing – rising almost 10% between 2010 and 2012.
Demand for locksmiths is likely to continue growing because businesses, and car and home owners, are becoming more security-conscious, and wanting the latest technological devices to help protect their property.
Locksmithing apprenticeships may be difficult to find
Though there is demand for qualified locksmiths, it can still be hard to enter the job. Many service companies are small and can only afford to take on a new staff member when someone leaves or the business expands. When vacancies do arise, employers are more likely to look for staff who already have experience in the role and require minimal training.
Most locksmiths employed by small businesses
Most employers of locksmiths are small, privately or family-owned businesses employing between one and five staff members.
Some large national companies employ many locksmiths. Some large institutions, such as prisons, may also employ their own locksmiths.
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Progression and specialisations
Locksmiths may progress to become branch or workshop managers.
Experienced locksmiths may also start their own businesses.
How many people are doing this job?
Updated 4 Jun 2015