Automotive Sheet Metal Worker

Automotive sheet metal workers cut and shape sheet metal components into the correct forms and sizes for the bodywork of vehicles. 

Automotive sheet metal workers cut and rivet sheet metal, applying heat treatment. They finish off the sheet metal by joining, filing, sanding and smoothing it down. They use electrical and gas welding techniques to join soft steel of different thickness.

Automotive sheet metal workers often have to draw plans, according to which the parts are cut and put together. It is important that the components fit together exactly. They need to know about the qualities of different metals, since decisions must be made as to the correct type of metal to be used. 

They usually work indoors in a workshop and mostly at a bench. Neon or indirect lighting is often used to soften the glare reflecting from the bright surface of the sheet metal. The work is of a relatively clean nature but the hammering can cause some noise.

How to Enter

Schooling & School Subjects

Grade 9 Certificate.
Some employers prefer higher qualifications

What to Study

There are three ways to qualify as a registered artisan:

1. An apprenticeship is a fixed contract between company and apprentice, ranging in duration from between 18 months and 4 years. At the end of the contract, the apprentice writes a trade test leading to professional certification.

2. A learnership is a structured learning programme ranging from about a year to 3 years. A learnership comprises theoretical and practical training. Practical training is conducted on site (on the premises of the organisation). This has the advantage that the learner gets experience whilst training.

3. TVET (Technical Vocational Education and Training) Colleges offer theoretical training to prospective artisans via the new National Certificate Vocational (NCV). During this 3-year programme (levels 2 to 4), learners complete a school-leaving certificate (NCV) similar to the new National Senior Certificate (NSC) in schools. They are also exposed to a practical workshop component.

All learners are required to complete a practical internship under the supervision of an experienced artisan. As an alternative to doing the full qualification, a learner can apply to do a skills programme at a TVET College. Skills programmes are short practical hands-on courses.

For more information about qualifications and skills programmes, contact your nearest TVET College. TVET Colleges are accredited and funded by a SETA (Sector Education and Training Authority) such as MerSETA or ChietaSETA. They also receive bursary funding through the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) for the NCV programme.


  • motor vehicle manufacturers
  • bus body building companies
  • automotive body repair shops

Further Information

MerSETA (Manufacturing, Engineering and
Related Services)
P O Box 6848
Marshaltown, 2107
3 Metropolitan Park
Hillside Rd
Parktown, 2193
Tel: (011) 544-1316 Fax: (011) 484-8620

Getting Started

  • try to obtain vacation work in a motor manufacturing or bus building concern
  • make an appointment to speak to an automotive sheet metal worker about this type of career

Programmes by Study Institutions

Related Occupations