Rotary Machine Minder

Rotary machine minders fasten cylindrical surfaces, which do printing, into fixed positions, then set the rotary machine in motion.

Rotary machine minders ensure that stereotypes or lithographic metal plates fit properly and make contact with the paper evenly. They place huge paper rolls into the rotary machine, then set the ink rollers and fill the ink holders. They make proofs to ensure that all letters and images print properly onto the paper. They examine the proofs and adjust the machine and the ink until the printing is done properly and evenly. They also test the colour and ink quantities.

Rotary machine minders check their machines at regular intervals throughout the printing process to ensure accuracy and quality of printing.

Personal Requirements

  • at least 16 years old
  • physically healthy and relatively strong
  • not colour-blind
  • finger and hand dexterity
  • able to work quickly, accurately and safely
  • good eyesight and good eye-hand coordination
  • sense of responsibility
  • certain amount of mechanical insight

How to Enter

Schooling & School Subjects

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

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.


  • 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

S A Printing and Allied Industries Federation (PIFSA)
575 Lupton Drive,
Halfway House
Midrand Gauteng 2191
South Africa
Tel: (011) 287-1160

Getting Started

  • try to obtain vacation or part-time work in a printing plant
  • arrange to speak to a rotary machine minder about this type of career
  • contact the Department of Labour about learnership possibilities in your area

Programmes by Study Institutions

Related Occupations

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