Plastics Worker or Operator

A vast number of objects today are made of plastic. Plastics workers / operators manufacture these articles out of plastic, mixed with resin bonding.

A basic structure is built first, onto which a release agent is spread. Then gel is applied, followed by layers of plastic and resin bonding until the required thickness is obtained. Before the resin sets it has to be sanded on the uneven side with a sander until smooth. After the resin product has been removed from the ground structure the product is completed by mounting the rest of the required parts in or on the resin.

Plastics workers have to set up and maintain the machines that transform plastic compounds into a wide variety of consumer products.

How to Enter

Schooling & School Subjects

No specific requirements
Some employers prefer a Grade 10 or National Senior Certificate

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.

The Plastics Federation offers a course of six days to candidates in possession of a National Senior Certificate or a Grade 10 qualification plus experience


  • plants and industries that manufacture plastic consumer products

Further Information

Tshwane University of Technology and Cape Peninsula University of Technology

The Head
The Plastics Federation of South Africa
Private Bag X68
Halfway House, 1685
Tel. (011) 314-4021

Getting Started

  • try to obtain vacation or part-time work in a plastics factory
  • arrange to speak to a plastics technologist about this type of career

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