Frame Maker

Frame makers are involved in the building and repairing of wooden cabinets, beds, couches, chairs and other high grade furniture.

They are responsible for the designing, building and repairing of sturdy frames to be used in these various products. Great emphasis is placed on the engineering of such frames.

The work of frame makers involves machine and handwork. This includes working with wood as well as modern materials such as melamine. The frame makers work in a workshop or on the site where cabinets have to be installed.

How to Enter

Schooling & School Subjects

  • Grade 8 Certificate.
  • National Senior Certificate meeting diploma requirements for a diploma course
Each institution has its own entry requirements.

What to Study

A course in Furniture Making can be taken at Cape Town TVET. Carpentry can be followed at Umgungundlovu.

Register with an employer providing suitable training. Training should comply with the Production Performance Criteria of BIFSA.

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.

The Furniture Production Unit of the FITB in Johannesburg offers the following courses: Diploma in Furniture Production: 2 years’ full-time course, for matriculants. Certificate in Furniture Production: 3 months’ course for employees already in the industry.


  • furniture manufacturers
  • cabinetmakers
  • kitchen manufacturers
  • building contractors
  • self-employment, with enough experience, initiative and capital, can open own woodworking factory

Further Information

Any of the above

Getting Started

  • try to obtain holiday or part-time work as a helper to a frame maker
  • get information about learnership programmes in your area

Programmes by Study Institutions

Related Occupations