Pulp and Paper Industry Careers

Paper and pulp manufacturing is a growing and dynamic industry in South Africa and requires a wide variety of personnel - from unskilled and semi-skilled workers to tradesmen, technicians and engineers - to control all the processes and develop new ones.

Production: The paper industry is highly mechanized. Various specialized machines are used in the production process to manufacture paper, pulp and other finished paper products. An adaptor controls each machine. Examples of the different operators necessary to control these machines are the barker operator, digester operator, stock preparation operator, paper machine operator and envelope machine operator.

Maintenance: The paper industry employs many skilled maintenance workers to care for the complex machinery and electrical equipment. Millwrights install and repair machinery. Instrument repairers service the instruments, which measure and control the flow of pulp, paper, water, steam and chemical additives. Other important maintenance employees include electricians, maintenance machinists and pipe fitters.

Professional and technical occupations: The complexity of pulp and paper manufacturing requires workers who have engineering, chemical or other technical training. Chemists are responsible for quality control and they study the influence of various chemicals on pulp and paper. Chemical and mechanical engineers develop new production methods. Electrical engineers supervise the operation of power-generating equipment and instruments. Packaging designers design containers and packages and supervise their production. Box manufactures sometimes employ artist to design lettering, more computerized, system analysts and computer programmers become more important. Laboratory technicians, pulp testers and chemical analysts are necessary to assist engineers and chemists in their research.

The pulp and paper industry also employs many administrative and clerical personnel.

How to Enter

Schooling & School Subjects

No specific requirements
Grade 9 Certificate or higher recommended.

  • National Senior Certificate meeting degree requirements for a degree course
  • National Senior Certificate meeting diploma requirements for a diploma course

Each institution has its own entry requirements.

Compulsory Subjects: depends on what degree is to be undertaken, else none
Recommended Subjects: Physical Sciences, Mathematics, Engiineering and Technology

What to Study

Degree: BSc Wood Science - US

Diploma: Pulp and Paper Technology - UNISA

Most paper and pulp companies offer in-service training. For the more specialized occupations such as engineers and chemical analysts, applicants must be in possession of a relevant university of technology or university qualification before appointment.

Training for operators is offered at the Sappi College at the CSIR.


Companies in the paper and pulp industry, such as Sappi Southern Africa and Nampak Paper

Further Information

Paper Manufacturers Association of SA
P O Box 1553
Rivonia, 2128
Tel: (011) 803-5063 Fax: (011) 803-6708

Mondi Paper Co. Ltd

Nampak Paper Ltd

Sappi Southern Africa

Getting Started

  • try to obtain vacation or part-time work in a paper or box manufacturing company or a saw mill
  • arrange to speak to people in the pulp and paper industry about careers in this field

Programmes by Study Institutions

Related Occupations