Good with your hands and have an interest in motor vehicles? As a GSE Technician, you’ll have a hands-on role in maintaining a wide range of specialist vehicles and equipment.

  • Service
    Air Force
  • Specialisation
    Engineering and Technical Trades
  • Location
    Whenuapai, Woodbourne and Ohakea
  • Starting Salary
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About the role

As a Ground Support Equipment (GSE) Technician you’ll be a member of the ground crew, responsible for maintaining the ground-based mechanical equipment required to support RNZAF aircraft. Your duties will include the routine maintenance of a range of specialist heavy vehicles and small engine equipment, all of which support flying operations.

Job on base


GSE Technicians are specifically responsible for the repair and maintenance of all the Air Force’s specialist vehicles. You’ll be involved in the daily maintenance, fault identification and rectification of a wide range of vehicles, with special emphasis on heavy vehicles such as fire engines, forklift trucks and aircraft tugs.


Aircraft ground support equipment encompasses all equipment required to carry out aircraft maintenance activities and to support flying operations. This equipment typically includes ground power units, hydraulic rigs, aircraft loading devices. It also includes a wide range of small engine equipment such as refuelling equipment, ground power units, hydraulic rigs and hoists. As a member of the GSE Technician team you’ll be responsible for the maintenance and repair of this specialised equipment.

Job on deployment

Our aircraft do deploy overseas in remote locations and when they do they need Ground Support Equipment to continue to operate. The deployed camp itself also needs Ground Support Equipment such as generators to function. As a GSE technician you may be required to serve overseas to maintain this equipment on site. This is a crucial, hands-on role that provides great experiences at home and abroad.

I like getting to use my head and nutt things out. It’s quite rewarding to figure something out.

Career progression and training

Career progression
Basic Training
Job Training
Ongoing Training
Specialist Training

After gaining considerable experience, you’ll be given greater responsibilities encompassing the management of aircraft support equipment. As a senior GSE Technician you’ll be required to perform military command and leadership duties as a team leader, and you may be required to manage section budgets.

Team leaders are responsible for the personnel under their command, including the conduct of personnel performance appraisals, mentoring, personal development planning and the maintenance of discipline. With substantial trade knowledge and experience you may also be appointed as an instructor where you will train, assess and develop junior GSE Technicians.

(12 weeks) Location: RNZAF Base Woodbourne

Upon successful enlistment into the Air Force you will be posted to RNZAF Base Woodbourne (near Blenheim) for your Recruit Course. Here you will do 12 weeks of basic military training to find out if you’ve got what it takes to be in the Air Force, and learn various subjects including:

  • Organisation and Administration
  • RNZAF Customs and Protocol
  • Drill and Parades
  • Military Field Skills and Weapon Training
  • First Aid, and Search and Rescue Techniques
  • Physical Fitness
  • Teamwork and Self Discipline

(17 weeks) Location: RNZAF Base Woodbourne
After your Recruit Course you will complete this full-time course, covering these subjects and skills:

  • Personal Qualities and Attitudinal Expectations in the Aviation Workplace,
  • Aviation Workplace Safety,
  • Aeronautical Engineering Trade Science and Administration,
  • Aeronautical Engineering Tooling and Processes,
  • Aeronautical Components/Systems, and
  • Maintenance Practices.

This course is a requirement for all technical trades within the RNZAF and sets you up well for your career as an aviation technician.


On completion of the Aeronautical Engineering Course you will carry out a two to three week course to enhance your skills in technical administration and the use of fuels, oils and lubricants specific to the GSE trade. You will then start advanced trade training. This takes the form of an apprenticeship towards the NZQA-accredited NCAE (Heavy) under the Motor Industry Training Organisation (MITO) scheme and takes around three years to complete.

In conjunction with NCAE training, you'll also complete all classes of driving licences required for the specialist vehicles you will maintain (up to and including Class 5) and additional training targeted at specific aspects of maintaining aeronautical support equipment.

On graduating from primary trade training you will start an apprenticeship towards NZQA NCAE (heavy option) under the Motor Industry Training Organisation (MITO) scheme. This training takes approximately three years to complete and includes:

  • Correspondence courses, where you will learn the theory aspects of the trade
  • On-the-job training, where you learn by actually doing the work
  • Workplace practical assessments, to check your competency to complete the work unsupervised
  • Some polytechnic block courses
  • In conjunction with NCAE training, you will also complete all classes of driving licences required for the specialist vehicles you will maintain (up to and including Class 5) and additional training targeted at specific aspects of aeronautical support equipment maintenance

You will undertake advanced trade training in the workplace of a GSE section at RNZAF Base Auckland, RNZAF Base Ohakea, or RNZAF Base Woodbourne.

On completion of advanced trade training, as a GSE technician, you will receive a NZQA National Certificate in Automotive Engineering (Heavy). You will be qualified to undertake the full range of maintenance duties on RNZAF specialist vehicles and aeronautical support equipment.

You will also be eligible for deployment overseas as a camp technician.


After graduating as a GSE technician you will be eligible to undertake postgraduate training in the maintenance of aviation fuel equipment. This is a competency based training package, which is done in the workplace using the Air BP Aviation Fuel Training scheme and normally takes six months to complete.

It includes maintenance of the Deployable Bulk Fuelling Installation (DBFI).

On completion of this training you will be eligible for deployment overseas in support of DBFI.

There are a number of other postgraduate courses available that can be undertaken on an as-required basis for career progression, such as NCAE (Light) and A-Tech, or to meet other RNZAF requirements.

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Salary and benefits

Careers in the Air Force are well-rewarded, as well as being diverse and exciting. As you become more experienced and move up through the ranks, gaining additional skills and qualifications, you will see your salary rise accordingly.




Starting Salary


Higher Rank

Benefits and allowances

There are many additional benefits to being in the Defence Force, that will make your money go further.

For example, on top of your basic salary you can expect ‘Military Factor’. This provides you with significant extra financial rewards because of the commitment you’ve made to serve your country.

Free medical and dental
Access to subsidised equipment on base
Subsidised food on base
Competitive superannuation, up to 4% with KiwiSaver
Sponsored tertiary study programmes at all levels

Entry requirements

Fitness and medical
Period of Service
  • You must be at least 17 years of age.
  • Meet the citizenship & security requirements to gain CV security clearance for this trade.
  • Restricted Class 1 Manual Drivers Licence essential, full Class 1 preferred.

You must have achieved NCEA level 1 with a minimum of 12 credits in level 1 Science.

Find out more about the NCEA levels and certificate requirements

  • You must be medically fit for service.
  • Colour perception restrictions may apply.

There are strict citizenship and security requirements to gain the required SV security clearance for this trade.

Find out if you’re eligible here.

Your training is some of the most thorough and advanced in the world. On graduation as a GSE technician, you’ll be contractually obliged to spend another 24 months in the Air Force.

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Ready to start your Air Force career?

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