Riggers erect hoisting tackle, assemble and erect derricks or sheer legs for construction purposes and install and maintain steel cables and ropes. They also assist in erecting chimneystacks, large buildings, heavy machinery, etc.

Before objects are handled, riggers calculate their weight and ascertain the best way of securing and moving them. Riggers are responsible for the inspection, lubrication and maintenance of all types of lifting tackle, including cranes, derricks, driving winders, jacks, hoists and manually operated lifting equipment. They need to have a sound knowledge of scaffolding, platforms and tripods. Riggers can also perform groundwork such as the clearing of tracks after a railway accident, or installing or moving heavy machinery.

They play important roles in all branches of heavy industry. They may work in workshops, underground in mines, on ground level or hundreds of metres up in the air. This job can often be very dangerous. Riggers are seldom stationary while working. They are continually moving about, climbing and working in all possible positions and locations.

Personal Requirements

  • at least 16 years old
  • mentally and physically sound and healthy
  • possess endurance and stamina
  • not be afraid of heights
  • responsible and safety conscious
  • able to work quickly and efficiently
  • willing to do heavy physical work
  • willing to move around a lot and work in different positions

How to Enter

Schooling & School Subjects

Grade 9 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.


  • building industry
  • heavy engineering concerns
  • government undertakings
  • metal industries
  • railways undertakings
  • explosives and allied industries
  • mines
  • such organisations as: Sasol, Transnet, Eskom, Mittal Steel

Further Information

Any of the above-mentioned potential employers

Getting Started

  • try to obtain vacation or part-time work in a heavy industry company
  • arrange to speak to a rigger about this type of career.
  •  contact the Department of Labour about learnership possibilities in your area

Programmes by Study Institutions

Related Occupations

A PACE Career Centre Product. © All rights reserved | Developed by Netgen (Pty) Ltd. Disclaimer: Please see disclaimer