General manufacturing

New Zealand needs productive, efficient and innovative workers to manufacture products for the world market

Careers Information

What do they do?

General manufacturing operators work in processing, production, assembly or distribution (usually in large businesses or factories). They can become highly skilled in their specific areas and there is room for advancement into team leader, supervisory and management roles.

Typical day

Typically, an 8-hour day or shift work. General manufacturing workers work on different parts of the processing, production, assembly or distribution lines, learning specific skills for each role. You may also undertake training on specialist equipment and may learn to make minor repairs and maintain the equipment you use.

Does this sound like you?

Study areas

• English or Media Studies or History

• Maths or Accounting or Economics 

• Sciences or Workshop Technologies


• Good at precision work

• Good literacy and numeracy

• Good initiative/ ‘can do’ attitude

• Good work habits/time management

Helpful experience

• Making or fixing things

• Working with machinery

• Working with computers

Preferred work environments

• Inside (workshop or plant)

• Outside (in vehicle)

• Different places from time to time

How much could I earn?

Icn Money

Newly Qualified

$30k - $45k

Career Pathway

School Entry level jobs Advancing jobs Senior jobs

NCEA Level 2 is ideal

Process Worker

Production Worker

Assembly Worker

Distribution Worker

Team Leader


Plant Supervisor

Production Manager


Business Manager

Business Owner

Unit/Achievement standards in schools Traineeship Higher learning Higher learning

What do we offer?

  • We partner with industry associations and members of your industry to help recruit and build talented employees. This support includes promoting careers in your industry, identifying potential learners, and encouraging work placements.
  • We also ensure your industry’s qualifications continue to meet needs, support industry events like conferences and regularly celebrate your learners’ success.
  • When apprentices enrol, we assign them a Competenz account manager. Our account managers understand the industry and the skills learners and businesses need.

National Qualifications

This qualification for people employed in a production, processing, assembly or distribution roles.

The compulsory section contains workplace health and safety, quality, housekeeping and basic calculations. Elective A allows candidates to select the manufacturing skills relevant to their particular industry along with appropriate standards from the Competitive Manufacturing domain. The Material Management domain is also included to allow skills in distribution in a manufacturing environment to be selected. Elective B section offers a range of specific skills required by individual enterprises. Optional standards have been included for use where additional support in literacy, numeracy and basic employment skills are required.

This qualification can lead on to a number of manufacturing qualifications.

Click here for the NZQA qualification overview.

This is an introductory qualification for production personnel employed in the manufacture of metal and related products. It represents the skills and knowledge typically achieved in the first year of work in a manufacturing environment.

The compulsory section covers:
. health and safety;
. manufacturing processes;
. knowledge of metals and other materials used in manufacturing;
. measurement;
. engineering hand tools;
. interpersonal communications.

Click here for the NZQA qualification overview.

This qualification is designed for people employed in the manufacture of metal and related products. It represents the skills and knowledge typically achieved after working for 18 to 24 months in a manufacturing environment, and is intended for experienced employees who are able to take responsibility for their work output under general supervision.

This qualification also allows candidates to select from a range of Level 3 skill based unit standards, such as computing, competitive manufacturing, can making, manufacturing processes, materials management, mechanical engineering, and powered industrial lift trucks.

Whilst training for this Level 3 qualification would normally occur after achieving the Level 2 Manufacturing of Metal and Related Products qualification, more experienced employees may be able undertake this qualification without first completing the Level 2 qualification

Click here for the NZQA qualification overview.

This qualification is designed for people employed as, or training to be, team leaders or supervisors working in the metal and related products manufacturing industry

This qualification combines specialised manufacturing processes with the technical and management skills expected of team leaders or supervisors in the metal and related product manufacturing industries.

This qualification includes a range of specialised skill based unit standards, such as delivery of adult education and training, assessment of learning, competitive manufacturing, mechanical engineering, people development and coordination, quality management, and systems and resources management.

Click here for the NZQA qualification overview.

Competenz can support your business with an activity based tool which will engage your staff in productivity learning.

This tool has been developed to assist your business to embed productivity improvement principles in your every-day actions. Through completing activities, team members will further develop and solidify their understanding of how to undertake productivity improvement processes in your business.

The activities focus on three main areas:

  • ƒƒProductivity knowledge, productivity principles and team work
  • Process maps, collecting and analysing data
  • Improving customer value with 3 improvements in your business

Read more below.