Garment technicians choose clothing fabrics and designs, and make sure clothes are made to quality standards.
New garment technicians usually earn
$47K-$48K per year
Experienced garment technicians usually earn
$47K-$70K per year
Source: NZ Fashion Tech and Competenz, 2017.
Pay for garment technicians varies depending on skills and experience.
- New garment technicians usually earn minimum wage.
- After one to three years' experience they usually earn up to $48,000 a year.
- Intermediate garment technicians with four to six years' experience can earn between $47,000 and $60,000.
- Senior garment technicians with additional responsibilities and more than seven years' experience can earn between $60,000 and $70,000.
Source: New Zealand Fashion Tech and Competenz, 2017.
- PAYE.net.nz website - use this calculator to convert pay and salary information
- Employment New Zealand - information about minimum wage rates
(This information is a guide only. Find out more about the sources of our pay information)
What you will do
Garment technicians may do some or all of the following:
- choose clothing fabrics and designs
- alter designs using computer programs, or work with designers to do this
- ask patternmakers to change patterns
- check the fit and fabric of clothing samples
- check the quality of clothing being made and write reports on this
- ensure suppliers, such as fabric vendors, send the right supplies on time
- ensure clothing is made within budget
- check clothing faults and follow up customer complaints about clothing.
Skills and knowledge
Garment technicians need to have knowledge of:
- clothing design and garment construction
- quality standards for clothing
- how fabrics behave when sewn or dyed
- testing standards for materials used in clothing
- the New Zealand Fair Trade Act
- clothing design software
- usually work regular business hours, but may work longer hours to meet deadlines
- usually work in offices located in studios, workshops or factories
- may travel locally and overseas to visit manufacturers.
To become a garment technician you need to have a New Zealand Diploma in Fashion Technology (Level 5), which you can study through a course provider or apprenticeship.
Some course providers may require you to have the New Zealand Certificate in Fashion Technology (Level 3) and/or work experience before you can study for the diploma.
- Eastern Institute of Technology (EIT) website - information on the Diploma in Fashion Technology (Level 5)
- Whitecliffe College of Art and Design - information on qualifications including the Diploma in Apparel and Fashion Technology
NCEA Level 3 is required to enter tertiary training. Useful subjects include design and visual communication (graphics), digital technologies, maths, processing technologies, and painting, sculpture, photography, printmaking combined.
Garment technicians need to be:
- good at communicating
- persuasive and able to motivate people
- good problem solvers
- able to make good judgements
- accurate, with an eye for detail
- able to work well under pressure.
Useful experience for garment technicians includes work:
- as a sewing machinist, cutter or patternmaker
- as a clothing designer or textile designer
- as a fashion buyer
- in a clothing factory or workroom.
Garment technicians need to have normal colour vision and good eyesight (with or without corrective lenses).
Find out more about training
- 0800 526 1800 - firstname.lastname@example.org - www.competenz.org.nz
- Eastern Institute of Technology (EIT)
- 0800 22 55 348 - www.eit.ac.nz
- Whitecliffe College of Art and Design
- 0800 800 300 - email@example.com - www.whitecliffe.ac.nz
What are the chances of getting a job?
Demand for garment technicians expected to rise
About 1,000 garment technicians work in New Zealand. This number dropped by 20% between 2014 and 2016; however, it is expected to start rising.
This is due to growing popularity of clothing that is environmentally friendly and made in New Zealand.
Also, while many clothing retailers get their clothing made overseas, they need New Zealand-based garment technicians to choose designs and fabrics to suit the New Zealand customer. Garment technicians also check the quality of clothing that has been made overseas before it goes on sale.
Demand for garment technicians is also rising due to an insufficient number of people training in this role.
Chances best for garment technicians with good design skills
Employers prefer garment technicians who can interpret, and make changes to, complex designs and patterns. This speeds up the manufacturing process.
Most garment technician jobs not advertised
If you are interested in getting work as a garment technician, it's best to approach companies yourself, as over half of new positions in the industry are not advertised.
Types of employers varied
Garment technicians may work for:
- small fashion houses
- large clothing manufacturers
- fashion retailers
- fashion buyers.
- Edmunds, S, 'New Zealand Designers Carve Out Niche to Take on Fast Fashion', 16 April 2017, (www.stuff.co.nz).
- Marshall-Smith, V, academic director, NZ Institute of Fashion Technology Ltd, Careers Directorate – Tertiary Education Commission interview, November 2017.
- Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, 'Occupation Outlook – Tailors and Patternmakers', accessed October 2017, (www.mbie.govt.nz).
- New Zealand Apparel, 'Is NZ-Made Dead?', 2 August 2017, (www.apparelmagazine.co.nz).
- NZ Fashion Tech, 'Changing Times', accessed October 2017, (www.nzfashiontech.ac.nz).
- NZ Fashion Tech, 'Gaining Employment', accessed October 2017, (www.nzfashiontech.ac.nz).
- NZ Fashion Tech, 'Industry Opportunities', accessed October 2017, (www.nzfashiontech.ac.nz).
- Ryan, H, 'Fashion Industry's Moment to Shine', 26 August 2017, (www.nzherald.co.nz).
(This information is a guide only. Find out more about the sources of our job opportunities information)
Progression and specialisations
Garment technicians may progress to become clothing designers, production managers or buyers.
Last updated 15 June 2023