Millers are responsible for the processing of different types of grain, particularly wheat and maize.

The wheat milling process consists of three stages, each with its specific type of machinery. The breaking, scraping and reduction processes take place during these stages. The process of maize milling is much the same as that of wheat, but not as many production stages are required. To ensure that the correct standard and quality are maintained, millers are required to test the products.

In addition millers supervise the work of mill workers. Today the milling process is highly mechanised. The task of millers consists chiefly of setting milling machines and supervising their operation. It is important that millers obey all the relevant health regulations. This will ensure a food product of the highest quality.

The wheat milling process consists of :

  • Control process: roller-mills with grooved rollers that rotate at different speeds and directions are used to crack the wheat-kernel open to remove as much of the bran from the endosperm (the flour) as possible
  • Scraping process: here the pieces of bran that cling to the endosperm are removed
  • Reduction process: the semolina in the endosperm is refined by means of smooth roller- mills and the remaining pieces of bran and seed are removed. The endosperm is then graded by sifting machines. If it is still not fine enough, the process is repeated
The procedure of maize-milling is basically the same as described above, except that the machines are set differently because the kernels are much bigger than wheat-kernels. The final products of maize milling are mealie-meal, samp, mealie rice and grits.

Millers usually work indoors in the machine rooms of commercial grain mills. Working conditions are, of necessity, clean. The machines usually make a lot of noise and ear-guards are worn. Millers work a maximum of 46 hours per week from Monday to Saturday, in shifts not exceeding 8 hours per day.

How to Enter

Schooling & School Subjects

Grade 10 Certificate
Some employers prefer higher qualifications.

What to Study

There are 3 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.


Milling companies throughout the country.

Further Information

The Executive Director
The Grain Milling Federation
P O Box 7262
Centurion, 0046
Tel. (012) 663-1661 Fax: 086 615 7839

Getting Started

  • visit a mill in your area and ask permission to observe millers at work
  • try to obtain vacation work in a milling company
  • make an appointment to speak to a miller about this type of career

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