Communications System Operator

For a modern army to function, communications are vital. As a Communication Systems Operator you will be working with the some of New Zealand’s most sophisticated communications equipment and technology to keep the Army's command and control systems up and running.

This can include communication channels over short distances, or anywhere around the world using our satellite equipment.

You will learn to set up and operate multi-channel communications, long and short range radio networks and satellite terminals. Out in the field, you could find yourself in a highly mobile radio detachment or possibly a vehicle mounted radio/field line detachment.

As well as having the opportunity to work at 2 Signal Squadron, RNZ Signals at Linton Military Camp or 3 Signal Squadron, RNZ Signals at Burnham Military Camp, you’ll have the opportunity to work alongside other NZ Army units, as well as the Air Force and Navy.

As well as your day to day responsibilities as a Communications Systems Operator you will also continue your soldier training including weapons, medical and radio/communications training.

Communications Systems Operators are highly deployable, and are employed in a variety of overseas missions and exercises, primarily in support of other units. We currently have Communications Systems Operators deployed in Timor-Leste, Afghanistan, and the Solomon Islands.

As a Communications Systems Operator you will operate high tech communication equipment, ensuring deployed units can talk to each other and important information is received and sent at the right time.

As your career progresses you will continue to develop your skills and eventually work towards becoming a signals instructor. As an instructor, you can be posted to Waiouru to the School of Signals.

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 17.5 years of age due to the requirement to hold a TSV clearance. However, the preferred minimum age is 20 years old.
  • Be a NZ Citizen
  • Meet the citizenship & security requirements to gain TSV security clearance for this trade
  • No decreased colour perception
  • Some typing ability and computer skills will make your application more competitive
  • A Class 1 restricted driver's licence is recommended, but is not compulsory

You must have achieved the NCEA level 1 Literacy and Numeracy requirements

Find out more about the NCEA levels and certificate requirements

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

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


You will start your telecommunications training with this three-month course, where you will learn radio voice procedure, basic information systems and be introduced to some of the Army's communications equipment including the Tactical Mobile Communications Systems.


This Course equips you with higher level communication skills including data, satellite and Information Systems skills. You will be taught the theory and implementation of ground base satellite systems. This course also includes the engineering of long range data systems.


These courses are made up of four electives. The electives specialise in Electronic Warfare, UHF Multi-Channel Bearer Systems, Strategic multi-channel satellite systems and Advanced Line Laying Techniques. The Advanced Line Laying Techniques course is associated with civilian qualifications - these being BISCI Installer Level One, Employ Fall Arrest Systems, and Conduct Pole Top Rescue.


These courses are higher level courses which combine trade knowledge gained from the Junior and Specialist courses. Your knowledge of Satellite, Data, and Electronic Warfare will be enhanced to a higher level of understanding.


The Detachment Commanders Course and the Troop Sergeants Course are part of your career progression. They are designed to test your trade knowledge and skills as well as your leadership ability. Base level management is conducted during these courses and enhanced at Unit level.


A more advanced course which will train you in the administration, design and management of communications systems. The Communications Information Systems Managers Course is designed to test your management skills and your ability to manoeuvre communications assets on the battlefield.

During your first three years of training as a Communications Systems Operator you will be posted to either 2 Signal Squadron, RNZ Signals at Linton Military Camp or 3 Signal Squadron, RNZ Signals at Burnham Military Camp.

*keyword Combat Communicator