Printer's Cutter

Before the actual printing of books, newspapers, periodicals and other printed matter takes place, the paper must be prepared and submitted in the appropriate form and size, in each case.

Printer’s cutters measure and cut paper according to specified dimensions. Power-driven guillotines are operated to perform this. The paper is then arranged in batches and prepared for the subsequent printing operation.

Printer’s cutters must be well acquainted with receiving and dispatching procedures.

How to Enter

Schooling & School Subjects

  • Grade 10 Cert for a learnership at a company
  • National Senior Certificate for full-time training at the Southern African Printing College

What to Study

Diploma: Southern African Printing College

Theoretical training: At the Southern African Printing College (full-time), or through their Distance Learning Department (part-time) up to N3 level.

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.


  • commercial printing plants
  • book and magazine publishers
  • newspaper plants
  • stationery and envelope manufacturers
  • government departments
  • government printing works
  • manufacturers and other firms that do their own printing

Further Information

Printing Industries Federation of South Africa (PIFSA)
P O Box 1396
Gallo Manor, 2052
The Braids
113 - 115 Bowling Avenue
Gallo Manor, 2191
Tel: (011) 287-1160 Fax: (011) 287-1178

Media Skills for Africa
Tel: (056) 818-1814

Getting Started

  • try to obtain vacation or part-time work at a printing company
  • arrange to speak to printer’s cutters about this type of career
  • contact the Department of Labour about learnership possibilities in your area

Programmes by Study Institutions

Related Occupations