Kaihangarau Pūkaha Waka
This job is sometimes referred to by alternative titles
Automotive technicians service and repair vehicles and their parts and systems.
Light vehicle automotive technicians usually earn
$15-$37 per hour
Heavy vehicle automotive technicians usually earn
$26-$38 per hour
Source: Automotive Employment NZ, 2016.
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 for automotive technicians varies with experience in the role and industry, specialisation and location.
- Apprentice light vehicle automotive technicians and those with less than two years' experience usually start out on minimum wage to $20 an hour.
- Automotive technicians with two to five years' experience can earn between $21 and $30 an hour.
- Senior and master light vehicle automotive technicians and those working in supervisory positions can earn between $29 and $37 an hour.
- Heavy vehicle technicians can earn between $26 and $35 an hour, with senior and master technicians earning up to $38 an hour.
Source: Automotive Employment NZ, 2016.
- PAYE.net.nz website – use this calculator to convert pay and salary information
- Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment website - information about minimum pay rates
(This information is a guide only. Find out more about the figures and diagrams in our job information)
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), coolants (such as radiator coolant) and filters
- carry out vehicle Warrant of Fitness checks
- carry out performance modifications to vehicles
- interact with customers.
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
- health and safety standards in the workshop.
- usually work regular business hours, but may do shift work, weekends and be on call
- work in garages and workshops that can be loud, dusty and dirty
- may travel to test vehicles or 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 National Certificate in Motor Industry – Automotive Electrical and Mechanical Engineering (Level 4).
Apprentices can specialise in:
- automotive machining
- light vehicle
- motorcycle engineering
- outdoor power equipment servicing
- trailer boat systems.
Heavy Vehicle Technician
To become a qualified heavy vehicle technician you need to complete an apprenticeship and gain a National Certificate in Motor Industry – Automotive Heavy Engineering (Level 4).
Apprentices can specialise in:
- agricultural equipment
- materials handling equipment
- plant and equipment (like earth moving and forestry machinery)
- road transport.
Optional entry skills course
Before beginning an automotive technician apprenticeship you can gain basic skills by completing a National Certificate in Motor Industry – Entry Skills (Level 2).
- Motor Industry Training Organisation (MITO) website - information about National Certificate in Motor Industry (Entry Skills)
- Motor Industry Training Organisation (MITO) website - information about apprenticeships and qualifications
NCEA Level 1 with a minimum of 12 numeracy credits and 12 literacy credits is required to enter an apprenticeship or the National Certificate in Motor Industry.
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 the Motor Industry Training Organisation (MITO), and the programme includes both theory and practical components, so students can gain NCEA credits as well as practical work experience. Students can also achieve a National Certificate in Motor Industry – Foundation Skills (Level 1).
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, including explaining automotive terms to customers.
Useful experience for automotive technicians would be working in an automotive workshop.
Automotive technicians need to have a good level of fitness as they spend a lot of time on their feet working in, under and around vehicles. They also need to have good hand-eye co-ordination and good hearing.
Find out more about training
- Motor Industry Training Organisation (MITO)
- 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 because of an increase in new car sales and registrations.
Technicians in short supply
The job of automotive technician (general) appears on Immigration New Zealand's immediate skill shortage list and 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 light automotive and heavy vehicle technicians is strong because more freight is being transported by road, increasing the need for truck servicing. Demand is particularly high in the mining and forestry industries, which need earth moving 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 forklifts, excavators and earth moving equipment
- road transport (heavy trucking) companies
- passenger transport (bus) companies
- workshops specialising in farm vehicles such as quad bikes.
- Automotive Employment NZ website, 'Automotive Technicians', July 2016.
- Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, '2006-2014 Occupation Data' (prepared for Careers New Zealand), 2015.
- Motor Industry Association website, 'What's New', accessed August 2016 (www.mia.org.nz).
- NZ Transport Agency, 'New Zealand Motor Vehicle Registration Statistics', May 2016, (www.nzta.govt.nz).
- Peneha, J, human resources co-ordinator, Rutherford and Bond Toyota, Careers New Zealand interview, August 2016.
- Rogers, O, service manager, Armstrong Motor Group, Careers New Zealand interview, August 2016.
- Snoep, S, service operators manager, Macaulay Motors, Careers New Zealand interview, August 2016.
- Watson, J, student adviser, WelTec, Careers New Zealand interview, August 2016.
Progression and specialisations
Qualified automotive technicians can do further training to become senior technicians or master technicians.
Automotive technicians may also move into management and customer service roles or into other engineering or automotive occupations such as automotive electrician.
Automotive technicians can also become self-employed.
Automotive technicians 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 15 February 2017