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The NZDEP is a work-based qualification. Trainees are assessed on the job through their relevant Tertiary Education Organisations (TEOs). The qualification tests the trainee's practical application of engineering knowledge and skill in a particular industry sector (civil, mechanical or electrical/electronic). It involves the development and application of the general skills required for independent practice as an engineering technician, as defined by Engineering New Zealand.

Most of the evidence required for assessment will be compiled from work activities and will vary depending on the industry sector you are working in. The relevant Tertiary Education Organisations (TEOs) will issue you with an appropriate workbook to guide your learning and assessment.

The NZDEP is a 120 credit qualification at level 6 on the NZ Qualifications Framework. One hundred and twenty credits represent the equivalent of 1 year of full time study.

Because the NZDEP is worked-based you can expect to take around 3 years working towards the qualification in the workplace (longer if you are studying towards the NZDE and NZDEP in parallel).