Kaimahi Waea Kawe Kōrero
This job is sometimes referred to by alternative titles
Line mechanics install, repair and maintain overhead and underground lines.
Line mechanics with one to five years’ experience usually earn
$32K-$60K per year
Line mechanics with five or more years' experience or in team leader roles usually earn
$60K-$100K per year
Source: Futureintech and Trade Me, 2016.
Pay for line mechanics varies depending on skills and experience.
- Entry-level line mechanics usually earn about $32,000 a year.
- Line mechanics with two to five years' experience usually earn between $40,000 and $60,000.
- Senior line mechanics with five or more years' experience usually earn between $60,000 and $80,000.
- Line mechanics in team leader roles may earn up to $100,000.
(This information is a guide only. Find out more about the figures and diagrams in our job information)
Sources: Futureintech; Trade Me, 'Salary Guide', January 2016.
What you will do
Line mechanics work with electrical or communication lines and may do some or all of the following:
- erect or replace power poles
- string cables between poles, pylons and buildings
- install underground cabling
- test lines and circuits
- locate and repair faults
- repair and replace cables
- install electricity transformers
- connect equipment to an electric network
- carry out street light maintenance.
Skills and knowledge
Line mechanics need to have:
- knowledge of electrical theory, and the mechanics and wiring systems used in communication or electrical networks
- technical and practical skills, including the ability to use and care for their equipment
- understanding of industry safety regulations
- knowledge of tree compliance regulations
- ability to read plans and maps
- first aid skills, including how to perform cardio-pulmonary resuscitation (CPR).
- usually work regular business hours, but may be required to work early mornings, evenings or do shift work and be on call
- work indoors or outdoors in a variety of locations
- work in most weather conditions including rain and snow, and may work at heights
- may have to travel locally for work.
What's the job really like?
A job that can take you around the world
"I want to get trained and go as far as I can in this company. Being a line mechanic is a global trade, and you can take your qualifications overseas to places like Australia and the United States and do transmission work there."
Training is a mix of theory and practical work
"Most of the training is on the job and I have to sit unit standards to complete my apprenticeship. These are based on different parts of my work. You can also go to a line training school where they assess you with practical assessments and theory exams.
"We do chainsaw training because you may have to cut down poles if you can't pull them out or you may need to cut back trees or cut them down if they have fallen on a line. We also do four-wheel drive training because when we are out in the country it pays to know all that sort of stuff."
Line mechanic work good for those who enjoy being outdoors
"If you like the outdoors and that sort of lifestyle, and you don't mind working hard, then this is quite a good job."
Anthony talks about life as a line mechanic - 1.09 mins. (Video courtesy of Got a Trade? Got it Made!)
There’s plenty of things I enjoy about my job, every day is different, you just never know what you’re going to get and you feel good at the end of the day that you’ve gone and restored someone’s power. They can cook their dinner again or boil their kettle.
Advice I’d give to young people still at school for this job, I’d say go for it. You get paid as you train, you get a good career and pretty much go anywhere in the world. I feel good after doing my apprenticeship, glad I did it and looking forward to the future.
I’m Anthony, I’m a line mechanic and I’ve got it made.
To become a line mechanic you need to complete an apprenticeship and one of the following Level 4 qualifications:
- National Certificate in Electricity Supply (Line Mechanic Distribution)
- National Certificate in Electricity Supply (Line Mechanic Transmission)
These qualifications usually take two to three years to complete and are undertaken on the job. Once completed, line mechanics need to apply for registration with the Electrical Workers Registration Board.
Most employers require you to have a driver's licence and, when truck driving is required, a heavy vehicle licence.
- Connexis website - information on line mechanic distribution qualifications
- Connexis website - information on line mechanic transmission qualifications
- New Zealand Transport Agency website - information on trucks and other heavy vehicle licences
Most employers prefer line mechanics to have completed NCEA Level 2. Useful subjects include maths, English and science.
Additional requirements for specialist roles:
Most people train first as a line mechanic and then gain additional qualifications in cable jointing.
Entry-level qualifications include the New Zealand Certificate in Electricity Supply – Introductory (Level 2).
Cable jointers are required to have a New Zealand Certificate in Electricity Supply Cable Jointer High Voltage, with an optional strand of up to 33KV (Level 4). A Level 5 certificate is required for specialist cable jointing.
Cable jointers also need to register with the Electrical Workers Registration Board.
Line mechanics need to be:
- able to work well independently and as part of a team
- able to work well under pressure
- able to follow instructions.
Useful experience for line mechanics includes:
- work in the electrical or communications industries
- work involving physical labour
- work using hand tools.
Line mechanics need to be fit and healthy, with good eyesight (with or without corrective lenses) and normal colour vision.
They also need to be comfortable working at heights.
Line mechanics must be registered with the Electrical Workers Registration Board. To qualify for registration, you need to have completed two years (or 4,000 hours) of appropriate electrical work and gained a National Certificate in Electricity Supply (Level 4).
To be registered as a cable jointer you need to complete a National Certificate in Electricity Supply – Cable Jointer (Level 4).
Find out more about training
- (04) 499 9144 - connexis.org.nz
What are the chances of getting a job?
Investment in fast broadband has created jobs
Demand for line mechanics has grown because of increased government spending on electricity and broadband internet infrastructure. The spending is to upgrade the national grid (the network that distributes electricity around New Zealand) and improve coverage of ultra-fast broadband.
Line mechanics are needed to do this work.
Number of people training in cable jointing increasing
As overhead power lines are being replaced by underground power cables, many line mechanics are choosing to train in electric cable jointing to ensure they have relevant skills.
Shortage of line mechanics
While demand for line mechanics is growing, there are too few workers to fill vacancies. As a result, line mechanic appears on Immigration New Zealand's long-term skill shortage list. This means the Government is actively encouraging skilled line mechanics from overseas to work in New Zealand.
Line mechanic also appears on the Canterbury skill shortage list due to the ongoing rebuild work in Canterbury.
Line mechanics work for electricity line supply companies
Most line mechanics work for New Zealand's 18 electricity line supply companies.
- Hays Recruitment, 'Hays Salary Guide 2015: Salary and Recruiting Trends', (www.hays.net.nz).
- Immigration New Zealand, 'Canterbury Skill Shortage List', 2014, (www.immigration.govt.nz).
- Immigration New Zealand, 'Long-term Skill Shortage List', 2015, (www.immigration.govt.nz).
- Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, '2006-2014 Occupation Data' (prepared for Careers New Zealand), 2015.
- Ministry of Business, innovation and Employment, 'Ultra-Fast Broadband Initiative', January 2016, (www.mbie.govt.nz).
Progression and specialisations
Line mechanics can progress into team leader and managerial roles.
They may train and specialise as cable jointers working on underground power cables.
Last updated 16 June 2017