New Zealand Certificate in Commercial Road Transport (Heavy Vehicle Operator) (Level 3).xml New Zealand Certificate in Commercial Road Transport (Heavy Vehicle Operator) (Level 3)

A-Z study guide
New Zealand Certificate in Commercial Road Transport (Heavy Vehicle Operator) (Level 3)

CertificateFull-time, 6 months

Annual Fees(indicative 2019)

Programme code





To be confirmed




Course related costs



Domestic Applications due

Received all year

International Applications due

Please enquire


Christchurch, Timaru


Gain the skills needed to join the new standard in professionalism for heavy transport drivers.

Delivered by Mainland Driving School in partnership with Ara and industry, this programme will equip you with the skills and knowledge the industry needs, ensuring a solid start to your career.

It covers: practical driving skills and experience; loading and unloading skills; route planning and selection; heavy vehicle systems, components, dynamics and handling; customer service skills; driving compliance; health and safety skills; communication and personal skills for employment.

The programme is divided into four blocks; two are classroom-based and two are based in a range of workplaces to enable you to learn and apply practical skills. In the first block you'll learn the key components of safety and driving compliance, and you'll gain your Class 2 and forklift endorsements so you can be hands-on during the work placements. Where possible under NZTA requirements you'll also gain up to Class 4 licence.

If you live in Ashburton or Oamaru and wish to study this programme in Timaru, you can catch our free daily bus to and from the Timaru campus. For more information

Career opportunities

There are a huge number of excellent employment opportunities for truck, tractor, forklift and industrial machine operators in Canterbury and beyond. As a graduate of this course you will be qualified to apply for these roles.

As this programme has been put together by industry to address a shortage of drivers and operators, you'll work within those businesses. This will allow you to make industry connections and create employment opportunities while you study.

Study pathways

Further study options include programmes in specialist transportation such as heavy haulage, logging, livestock, dangerous goods, waste, general cartage and ground-spreading. Other related options include operations management, supply chain logistics and heavy automotive engineering.

Programme structure

To complete this Certificate you are required to complete 90 credits. Please browse the guide below to view the course options currently available within this qualification.

Core courses
Elective Courses

To be a full time student you need to maintain a workload of 120 credits per year. We recommend you talk with us to ensure you choose electives to benefit your future career.

Entry requirements

Academic requirements
  • This programme has open entry. Additional and English language requirements apply.

Alternative requirements
Additional requirements
  • In addition you need to:

    • have held a current class 1 driver licence for a minimum of six months.
    • complete a criminal history declaration
    • provide a current medical certificate as required by NZTA
    • attend an interview.
    • sign a Student Drug‐Free Agreement and be drug tested at the beginning of the programme and periodically throughout the programme. This aligns with the strict drug testing policies in the heavy vehicle industry.
      • If you test positive for drugs you will need to discuss the outcome of the test result and what this might mean with Ara staff. You will be offered support. You may be unable to complete any practical work until a negative test result is provided.
    • consent to the Traffic Operator Register Online (TORO) for driver checks.
English requirements
  • What if English is not my first Language?

    If English is not your first language, we want to make sure that you will be successful in your chosen programme of study. Please provide a result from a test or qualification on the acceptable alternatives English Proficiency Outcomes Chart .


    • If you are a New Zealand Citizen or Permanent Resident, complete an Admission and Enrolment form and Ara will contact you regarding a free assessment.
    • If you are not a New Zealand Citizen or Permanent resident, book an IELTS, Pearson or other test through the Ara Examination Centre or in your home country.

    IELTS scores used must be taken from a single IELTS test report form and are valid for two years from the date of the test.

    What if I have achieved NCEA Level 3 University Entrance?

    You do not need to provide additional evidence of English Language skills.










Acceptable Alternatives Chart

Next steps

To apply for this programme complete:

  • An Admission and Enrolment form
  • If you don't meet the criteria for entry into this programme we can help you meet entry level with our foundation and bridging programmes
  • Alternatively, if you feel you have gained your learning through on the job experience talk to us about recognition or assessment of prior learning

Applicants will be required to attend a selection day which will include a briefing, and testing such as: Ministry of Justice check, drug test as per industry criteria. There will also be an interview by industry partners.

Application documents

Credit recognition

If you have work experience in this area, or a relevant prior qualification, you may be eligible for credit recognition towards this qualification.