As a Carpenter, your primary role is vertical construction - such as building a bridge, constructing a field hospital to construction tasks in disaster struck areas. You will work with all sorts of material and in all sorts of situations, both in New Zealand and on overseas deployments. You will earn trade certified qualifications and your skills will be called upon everywhere the Army goes.

You will be trained to do everything that a civilian equivalent carpenter can do, but with all the Army skills (weapons training, fitness etc) as well! Your civilian qualification will be recognised throughout New Zealand and will prove that you have the knowledge and ability to build almost anything you are tasked with. You will also have all of your tools supplied for you, free of charge.

A Carpenters main role while on camp is construction, building and maintaining assets on camp or in the field. You will primarily work within the Engineer Regiment, based in Linton, providing both construction and combat engineering capabilities.

While on deployment Carpenters will be used to put their vertical construction skills into use in building new camp facilities overseas or maintaining and repairing existing facilities. Royal New Zealand Engineers (RNZE) personnel can be found in small contingents around the globe. Places they have previously been deployed include USA, Antarctica, Mozambique, Australia, South Pacific Islands, Bosnia, East Timor and Iraq.

As your career progresses, you can move into the Army Works career path and later into a project manager's role. This is an important job, as you assist in the management of the Army's building assets, and it also offers the widest range of job locations.

Careers in the Army 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.

While undertaking initial Recruit Course you will be paid as a Recruit (see attached pay table). On completion of  your Recruit Course you will be paid as a Private and your pay will continue to increase as your career progresses.

  • You must be at least 17 years of age
  • Meet the citizenship & security requirements to gain CV security clearance for this trade
  • A Class 1 restricted driver's licence is recommended, but is not compulsory
  • Any practical or construction experience will make you a more competitive applicant

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.

Once you have completed training you will be required to give a two year return of service to the NZ Army.

Upon successful enlistment into the Army you will be posted to Waiouru Army base. Here you will do 16 weeks of basic military training to find out if you have what it takes to be in the Army, and learn various subjects including:

  • Organisation and Administration
  • Army Customs and Protocol
  • Drill and Parades
  • Military Field Skills and Weapon Training
  • First Aid
  • Physical Fitness 


This is an eight week course held at the School of Military Engineering, Linton Military Camp. This is the first course conducted for most trades within the Royal New Zealand Engineers (RNZE). It introduces you to the combat side of being an engineer before you undertake your specific trade. The course covers the basics of field engineering including bridging, water supply, explosives, field defences, obstacles, booby traps, boating and other subjects. After the course, you will have a good understanding of field engineering and also be qualified as an Army (explosives) Demolition Handler.


Your apprenticeship is conducted over 4-5 years, completing Industry Training Organisation aligned Unit Standard competencies. You will learn a mixture of theory and practical construction work and complete an NZQA Certificate in Carpentry.


This course covers areas such as site management and other advanced qualifications, including project management.

You will be posted to Linton Military Camp for at least four years while you complete your initial soldier and apprenticeship training. Once qualified, you will primarily work within the Engineer Regiment, based in Linton and there is a small engineer unit at Burnham and a specialist support group in Auckland.