Fitter and Turner

Fitters and turners are highly skilled craftspeople who manufacture, construct, assemble and fit components for machinery, vehicles, installations and other apparatus or articles. Fitter and turners are also responsible for the maintenance and repair of such equipment.

Fitters and turners first select and mark off the material required according to exact measurements on blueprints, drawings or a model. They then shape the rough piece of metal into its final form with power-operated tools such as lathes, milling, drilling and planing machines. Finally they fit the parts required to complete the machine or article and inspect and test the final assembly for true fit.

Personal Requirements

  • at least 16 years old
  • meticulously accurate
  • enjoy working with your hands
  • practical and responsible
  • mathematical aptitude
  • able to concentrate under noisy working conditions
  • able to read three-dimensional drawings

How to Enter

Schooling & School Subjects

Grade 9 Certificate.
Some employers prefer higher qualifications


What to Study

The duration of the learnership is normally 4 years in the metal industry.

The training of fitters and turners can be divided into three aspects, namely the practical training at an accredited training centre, in-service training under the supervision of qualified tradespersons and theoretical training. The theoretical training is done through TVET (Technical Vocational Education and Training) colleges, such as Northlink, False Bay, Umgungundlovu, Ekurhuleni West, or a correspondence college, up to the level of N6.

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 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.


  • fitting and turning contractors engaged in manufacturing, construction or maintenance and repair
  • large engineering works
  • large industrial plants and factories
  • iron and steel plants
  • shipyards
  • government departments
  • Transnet
  • mines
  • garages

Further Information

MerSETA (Manufacturing, Engineering and Related Services)
merSETA House
95 7th Avenue, 
Corner Rustenburg Road, Melville, 
Johannesburg, 2109
Tel: (010) 219-3000

Getting Started

  • try to obtain vacation work in a fitter and turner company
  • make an appointment to speak to a fitter and turner about this type of career

Programmes by Study Institutions

Related Occupations

A PACE Career Centre Product. © All rights reserved | Developed by Netgen (Pty) Ltd. Disclaimer: Please see disclaimer