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Approved Crane Hero with gloves

New Zealand Certificate in Cranes (Level 3)

with optional strand in Cab Controlled Overhead Crane, Dogman, Pendant Controlled Crane, and Truck Loader Crane

Duration 48 weeks
Price Funded
Unit Standards See unit standards below



This programme has been developed to meet the industry’s identified need for crane operators in New Zealand.

The programme aims to train entry level people to work safely around and operate cranes, taking entry level people to a competent crane operator.

Programme Overview

This programme is delivered over a minimum of 48 weeks (12 hours per week) by a combination of face-to-face training, extensive work experience, and some self-directed study. Graduates will be able to:

  • Work safely in a variety of crane workplaces, complete job safety analysis, identify hazards in the workplace, and put controls in place or escalate for further attention.
  • Identify and use load weights to sling regular loads using appropriate lifting equipment.
  • Apply knowledge of the Cranes Safety Manual to carry out pre-start and post checks of cranes or lifting equipment. 
  • Apply specialised knowledge specific to chosen strand.

Programme Structure

Learners will have a customised learner programme made up from a combination of core compulsory Modules One, Two and Three (42 credits) and at least one elective strand from Modules Four to Eight (10 to 15 credits).

Learners must complete 42 compulsory credits (modules One, Two and Three) and at least 10 elective credits from modules Four to Eight. A minimum 52 credits required for the award of the qualification.


Unit Standard

Unit Description Level Credit

Module One:
Working safely with cranes
(25 COMPULSORY credits)


Demonstrate knowledge of slinging regular loads safely
Outcome 1 only
3 4
Apply health and safety assessments in a job role 3 8


Lockout and reinstate machinery in the workplace
Outcome 1 only
3 1


Undertake a job safety analysis 3 3


Describe duties, rights, representation, and regulator in terms of New Zealand health and safety legislation 3 3
Demonstrate knowledge of workplace health and safety culture and practices 3 6
Module Two:
Sling Loads
(10 COMPULSORY credits)
Demonstrate knowledge of slinging regular loads safely
Outcome 2 & 3 only
 3  10
Module Three:
Cranes safety manual, prestart and post checks
(7 COMPLUSORY credits)
 3788 Demonstrate knowledge of crane types, and safe practices required in the cranes industry  3  4
 25043 Lockout and reinstate machinery in the workplace
Outcomes 2 & 3 only
Module Four:
Cab-Controlled Overhead Crane
(12 ELECTIVE credits)
 3790 Use Cab controlled gantry crane to lift and place regular loads  3  2
 3800 Use a radio remote control or pendant controlled gantry crane to lift and place regular loads  3 10 
Module Five:
(15 ELECTIVE credits)
 3789 Sling varied regular loads and safety direct a crane during crane operations  3  15
Module Six:
Pendant-Controlled Overhead Crane
(10 ELECTIVE credits)
 3800 Use a radio remote or pendant controlled gantry crane to lift and place regular loads  3  10

Module Seven:
Truck Loader Crane
(15 ELECTIVE credits)

 16617 Use a truck loader crane to lift and place regular loads  3  15

Entry Criteria

Applicants must be:

  • Over 16 years of age.
  • In employment and engaging in work related to cranes operation and support (Employer and learner along with VHNZ must agree a learning plan and training agreement).
  • Have access to required equipment relating to the strand selected.
  • Suitability to enrol will be established through an interview prior to offer of place. Offer of place is subject to tutor approval.
  • Prospective learners should discuss their career plans with VHNZ to be fully informed about the study options and to develop a Learning Plan.

Course Investment

The course investment will vary depending on specific course requirements such as customisation of training location and number of learners.

Work-Based Learning

This programme requires considerable work-based learning. Applicants, employers, and VHNZ will be required to agree on the learning content to be delivered and sign a training agreement specifying:

  • Employer obligations.
  • Learner obligations.
  • VHNZ obligations.

These will be discussed with each party prior to enrolment.

All crane related assessments MUST be completed on a real crane's worksite using real cranes lifting regular loads.

Learners will be required to complete a minimum of 450 relevant work hours recorded in logbooks and other industry documentation and validated by the employer/supervisor. Failure to complete suitable verified work experience will mean some unit standards may not be completed.

Education and Employment Pathway

This qualification is the entry point into the training pathway for the cranes industry and the broader lifting engineering sector. Graduates of the Dogman strand may progress onto the New Zealand Certificate in Cranes (Level 4) with strands in Advanced Dogman, Crawler Crane, Mini Crane, Mobile Crane, Non-Slewing Articulated Crane, Tower Crane [Ref: 3731]. Graduates of other strands may progress to qualifications in other areas, such as business or manufacturing.

For more information visit our FAQs and Important Information.

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