• Service
  • Specialisation
    Army Reserve
  • Location
    Auckland | Manawatu | Wellington | Christchurch
  • Initial daily rate

About the role

Combat Engineers provide the New Zealand Army with vital combat engineering support. As a Combat Engineer in the Army Reserve you will be trained across a variety of different specialist skills within our five engineering pillars including explosive demolition, bridge construction, mine clearance, small boat handling and establishing water supplies. All of this is delivered in parallel with the soldiering profession, such as the development of infantry skills and tactics.

Although Combat Engineer is the only engineer trade offered by the Army Reserves, we are very interested in individuals who may come to us with a variety of civilian qualifications. 

Lawyers, architects, electricians, project managers, police and data analysts number amongst our team and we welcome anyone with an interest in conducting engineering tasks within the combat battlespace. Soldiers with qualifications in these areas will predominately train as a combat engineer, but may have the opportunity to conduct some transitional training in order to apply their highly valuable skills within the military environment where appropriate.



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Army Combat Engineer

Career progression and training

Training Overview



Corps Training

Initial training consists of three stages which equates to approximately 7 weeks of training. Module 1 (Introduction to the New Zealand Army and Reserve Force service) is conducted throughout the calendar year, with Module 2 (Basic Training) & Corps Training (Initial Trade Specific Coursing) taking place in November, December and January of a given year.

Module 1 (Introduction to the New Zealand Army and Reserve Force service) is conducted across New Zealand at specified times throughout the calendar year. This course is run in Auckland (Whangaparāoa Leadership Centre or RNZAF Base Auckland, Whenuapai), Wellington (Trentham Military Camp) or Christchurch (Burnham Military Camp). Your Candidate Engagement Facilitator will outline the intended MOD 1 location as part of your initial application to join the ResF. 

Module 2 (Basic Training) is conducted at Waiouru Military Camp. This is a 38 day residential course, taking place across November, December and January of a given year (duration accounts for leave period over the Christmas and New Year period).

Corps Training (initial trade specific training) is a two-week residential course conducted in Palmerston North (Linton Military Camp), at the School of Military Engineering. 


MODULE 1 - Introduction to the New Zealand Army and Reserve Force Service

The purpose of this stage of training is to familiarise recruits with the Army, and Reserve Force service prior to their attendance at the Recruit Territorial Force All Corps Basic (Module 2 - Basic Training).

This is a two day introduction to life in the Army. Over this period, you will be attested into the New Zealand Army, learn the basics of drill and command, Military Law, the Ethos and Values of the NZ Army and the particulars of Reserve Force service. You will also be taught how to live and operate within the military environment and learn about the standards that are required of you as a soldier.

MODULE 2 - Basic Training 

The aim of this course is to develop the individual skill set required of a soldier operating at a basic level of capability. This stage of training is a 38 day residential course conducted upon your arrival at Waiouru Military Camp.

During this stage of your training you will be introduced to:

  • Drill
  • First Aid
  • Operate and communicate utilising in-service communication systems
  • Introduction to the Individual Weapon, Modularised Assault Rifle System – Light (IW MARS-L)  and light support weapon (LSW-C9)
  • Live firing on the range in order to qualify on the IW MARS-L Annual Weapons Qualification
  • Introduction to and qualification on the high explosive grenade
  • Living in a field environment, including:
    • patrolling procedures,
    • operating in a rifle section, and
    • fieldcraft and battlecraft
  • Introduction to Physical Training, including the Army Fitness Test, swim test and timed pack walk, and
  • A broadened understanding of military law, including “The Laws of Armed Conflict”

This stage of initial training concludes with a recruit's graduation from the NZ Army training establishment - The Army Depot. Recruits will graduate as a fully qualified soldier (rank of Private/Sapper/Gunner/Trooper/Signaller) in the NZ Army’s Reserve Force, ready to progress on to initial trade specific coursing.

Corps Training - Initial Trade Specific Coursing

This is a two week residential course.

Initial trade specific coursing differs across the various Army corps. The purpose of initial trade specific coursing is to provide personnel with the necessary basic trade specific skills required of their respective corps.

All personnel will continue to build on the foundational knowledge obtained through Basic Training, with trade specific and ongoing training continuing to refine outputs focused on operations within the combat battlespace. All personnel will train annually to maintain the tenets of the soldiering profession (Move, Shoot, Communicate and Medicate). 

As a Combat Engineer, you are required to complete a Basic Combat Engineer (BCE) Corps Training.

During this course you will be introduced to the role, equipment, procedures and drills involved in becoming a Combat Engineer.

Your BCE course is conducted in February of each calendar year. This two-week course covers your basic combat engineer skills across the five pillars of the Army Reserve engineer profession. You will conduct collective training across the following proponents:

  • Demolition,
  • Search,
  • Small boat handling,
  • Bridge building and, and
  • The establishment of a water point

This course will provide you with the necessary skills to be employed within a Combat Engineer section, where you will continue to build on your training and further develop your skills in your chosen trade. As a Combat Engineer your secondary role is focused on operations within the combat battlespace. 

Collective training objectives of the Army Reserve Engineer profession, and the fundamentals of soldiering are continually refined as part of your continued annual training compliance.

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Salary and benefits

As a Reservist you are paid on an hourly rate rather than a salary. Pay rates depend on the role you are in and your rank; your pay will increase as you move through the ranks.

As an Army Reserve soldier, the minimum remuneration you will be paid from day one is a daily rate of $176 including holiday pay, plus 4% Kiwisaver employer contributions. Your remuneration will increase on promotion and seniority.


Initial daily rate

Entry requirements



Fitness and Medical


  • You must be at least 17 years of age
  • Preferably hold a Class 1 restricted driver's licence

3 years secondary school.

Note, that qualifications may be used to assess trade suitability.

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

Find out if you’re eligible here.

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