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. 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).

This course is provided through a contracting arrangement between the primary contract holder (the AMS Group Limited), and its sub-contractor (Natural Instincts Limited).

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

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


A current full class 1 licence.

NZQA Unit Standards


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


There are additional optional unit standards available for this course. You have the ability to tailor a course to suit your staff requirement.

20848 Demonstrate knowledge of and skills for driving a light four wheel drive (4WD) vehicle on-road
17678 Drive a light motor vehicle on unsealed road surfaces
17676 Carry out a pre-drive vehicle check on a light motor vehicle, and start up and shut down procedures
17977 Develop a plan for off-road light four wheel drive (4WD) driving

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

18138 Fit and remove vehicle chains
17678 Drive on snow or ice

Vehicle Extractions & Recovery

20620 Develop and execute a plan for a four wheel drive (4WD) vehicle extraction

Defensive Driving – Driver Awareness

3465 Describe driving hazards and risk reduction strategies and responses to driving hazards
3466 Apply risk reduction techniques and strategies while driving


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.


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

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.

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.