4WD Course - Light & Heavy


This course is aimed at producing 4WD operators that can demonstrate the knowledge, skills, and attributes for all essential areas of the units of competency covered under the full “best practice” guidelines for 4WD operation in the workplace. This includes being able to drive a 4WD over varied terrain safely, effectively and responsibly to reduce driver risk. Driving techniques that minimise negative impact upon the environment are encouraged.

The course can be customised to incorporate company policies and procedures, (e.g. site entry). It can also be customised to suit the driving conditions, environment and skills required by the driver.  These course options are shown in the unit standards below.

For more information, please download the course information sheet.

Course Content

In line with the code of practice guidelines the course covers the following knowledge and skills:

  • Vehicle designs and operating systems
  • Pre-drive preparation
  • Hazard identification and safety margin assessment specific to terrain
  • Terrain contour and composition recognition
  • Hill ascents, descents, traverse driving, and associated problems
  •  Understanding of vehicle movement utilising traction, momentum, gravity and centrifugal force combinations
  • Introduction to trailer towing (on and off road)
  • Introduction to four wheel drive recovery techniques and equipment
  • Understand new technology
  • Vehicle familiarisation

Note that additional content can be added in order to customise the course to workplace requirements.


  • A current full class 1 licence.
  • Be 16 years of age or over
  • Applicants for whom English is a second language must meet IELTS (or equivalent) Level 5.0 (General Training). Proof of this will be required. 
Please refer to the terms and conditions for more information on these course pre-requisites

NZQA Unit Standards


Unit Standard Title Credit Value
17976 Demonstrate light knowledge of operating a four wheel drive (4WD) vehicle. In an off road environment. 4
17978 Operate a light four wheel drive (4WD) vehicle in an off road environment. 4


There are additional optional unit standards available for this course. You have the ability to tailor this 4WD course to suit the requirements specific to the worker operating environment.

Unit Standard Title Credit Value
20848 Demonstrate knowledge of and skills for driving a light four wheel drive (4WD) vehicle on-road 4
17678 Drive a light motor vehicle on unsealed road surfaces 3
176763 Carry out a pre-drive vehicle check on a light motor vehicle, and start up and shut down procedures 3
17977 Develop a plan for off-road light four wheel drive (4WD) driving 5

Specialist Skills

Specialist skills are also able to be added to the solution for your driving environment. Creating a relevant programme will reduce risk in your organisation.

Snow Driving

Unit Standard Title Credit Value
18138 Fit and remove vehicle chains                                                                                               2
8638 Drive on Snow and Ice  4

Vehicle Extractions & Recovery

Unit Standard Title Credit Value
20620 Develop and execute a plan for a four wheel drive (4WD) vehicle extraction                      2

Defensive Driving – Driver Awareness

Unit Standard Title Credit Value
3465 Describe driving hazards and risk reduction strategies and responses to driving hazards  3
34664 Apply risk reduction techniques and strategies while driving 4


The defensive driving options also provide a way to manage driver risk and can be combined with a driver risk assessment, either online, In-cab or a combination of both.  Talk to us today about managing fleet risk.


The duration of this course (1 or 2 days) will vary depending on the experience of the trainees. If the trainees have no prior off road experience the additional day allows for more off road driving situations in theory and practice, reducing driver risk. Different combinations of the above NZQA unit standard courses may require extra time to complete. Talk with us about your requirements.

Attendance Capacity

Maximum of 10 trainees per trainer. Minimum numbers can be negotiated upon request. Where higher trainee numbers are requested, or specialised course modules are required, additional qualified trainers may be in attendance to assist.



Pricing is based on specific course content requirements. Our 4WD course is customised to your environment and team.

Special Note

Non-unit standard based training is also available. NZQA Unit Standards will not be assessed or awarded. The programme can be customised to meet your requirements and can include elements from the above unit standard based training as well as additional modules from the skills listed.

  • On road driving skills
  • Off road driving skills
  • Defensive driving / driver awareness / driver assessment
  • In-forestry (suitable for those that work in forestry environments)
  • Winter or slippery conditions driving
  • Chains
  • Recovery
  • Trailers, loads, and load security (both on and off road)
  • Develop a plan for driving

Please contact us for more information or to speak with our expert trainer about your requirements.

Scheduled Course Locations

Please note that courses are available at a number of AMS Group branch locations, these are listed below. If there are no course locations shown below, courses can be arranged to be delivered at your place of work. Contact us to  find out more about our on-site training options available for this course or enquire below.