Diesel Fitter

Diesel fitters are responsible for the repair and maintenance of diesel engines. These include engines on trucks, tractors, earth-moving machinery, pumps, oil rigs and marine engines.

Diesel fitters detect faults and damage in diesel engines and fuel injection systems. They measure the parts to ascertain the extent of the damage and wear and tear and then repair or replace the parts. Much of the work requires meticulous adherence to standards and specifications and all vehicles are thoroughly tested before being returned to the owner.

Diesel fitters are required to use complex measuring equipment such as micrometers, tachometers, and dynamometers. They use hand tools such as spanners, torque wrenches and specialised testing equipment, and fuel injection equipment that has to be kept in a sealed, dust free room.

Diesel fitters work mostly in workshops and sometimes outdoors. The work can be rather dirty and noisy at times.

Personal Requirements

  • at least 16 years old
  • mechanical aptitude
  • able to work independently
  • problem-solving ability
  • meticulously accurate and careful
  • manual dexterity
  • good hearing and vision
  • physical strength and stamina to work with heavy machinery and components

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, 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.

Learners must all receive training in occupational safety and first aid, fire-fighting and preventative security measures. Learners study everything about the installation, maintenance and repair of all electrical equipment. They must also become familiar with municipal legislation relevant to electricity supply and consumption.


  • Transnet, Mittal Steel
  • municipalities
  • tractor and agricultural apparatus manufacturers
  • service stations of new and used vehicles and tractor dealers
  • independent repair shops
  • vehicle service stations
  • vehicle parts wholesalers and distributors
  • bus and transport companies
  • organisations that maintain their own vehicles
  • government departments
  • self-employment, with enough experience and capital, can start own business

Further Information

The Steel & Engineering Industries Federation of South Africa (SEIFSA)
6th Floor, Metal Industries House
42 Anderson Street, Marshalltown
Johannesburg, 2001
Tel: (011) 298-9400

Getting Started

  • consult the Registrar of Manpower Training concerning training programmes available in your area
  • work on cars and other mechanical equipment as a hobby
  • try to obtain vacation work at a garage

Programmes by Study Institutions

Related Occupations

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