Shop Fitter

Shop fitting is one of the creative trades in the building industry. Shop fitters make, assemble and fit display boards, showcases, counters, shelves and cupboards in shops or businesses.

They interpret interior designers’ or architects’ drawings to determine the exact specifications and order the required quantities and types of material. They shape the wood and fittings using power tools in a machine shop or with hand tools at the workbench. They build, assemble and fit these components into the required positions. They paint, stain or polish the finished articles and add the necessary trimmings.

Some shop fitters manufacture metal fittings such as grilles, banisters and hand rails in a metal shop, and fit these where required. They are sometimes also required to perform minor repairs on fittings.

Personal Requirements

  • at least 16 years old
  • versatile
  • artistic approach to the work
  • able to work accurately and neatly
  • responsible and able to work without supervision
  • manual dexterity and good eye-hand coordination
  • good physical stamina and strength

How to Enter

Schooling & School Subjects

Grade 9 Certificate
Some employers prefer higher qualifications

What to Study

There are three 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.


  • construction firms in the building industry
  • private companies
  • self-employment, with enough skill and entrepreneurship, can start own business

Further Information

BIFSA Head Office
Construction Park
234 Alexandra Avenue
Tel: (011) 205-9000

P O Box 1955
Halfway House, 1685
Tel: (011) 265-5900

Getting Started

  • try to obtain holiday or part-time work as a helper to a shop fitter
  • arrange to speak to a shop fitter and ask to observe him at work
  • get information about learnership programmes in your area

Programmes by Study Institutions

Related Occupations

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