Tool Jig and Die-maker

The tool-, jig- and die-maker manufactures a wide variety of equipment, for example, pressing tools, jigs and gauges. These products are used by operators to mass-produce other products and parts.

In tool-making this artisan produces devices that hold metal while it is shaved, stamped or drilled. The toolmaker makes gauges and measuring devices used in manufacturing precision parts.

Jigs are devices used to clamp pieces of metal or other material in a required position and to guide the tools being used. This eliminates the need to mark and position pieces of work individually.

These artisans construct dies (forms) to shape metal used in stamping and forging operations. Moulds are also made for die-casting and for moulding plastics.

The tool-, jig- and die-maker may also build and repair worn or damaged dies, gauges and fixtures.

Personal Requirements

  • at least 16 years old
  • enjoy working with his hands
  • able to concentrate on details
  • precision worker
  • good working knowledge of mathematics and mechanics
  • able to read and understand drawings
  • good at solving problems
  • finger and manual dexterity
  • good physical health and stamina
  • able to visualise mechanical and physical relations between objects

How to Enter

Schooling & School Subjects

  • Grade 9 Certificate in the metal industry.
  • Grade 10 Certificate in the motor, weapon and aerospace industries.

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..


  • motorcar manufacturing
  • metal industry
  • aerospace industries
  • engineering factories
  • plastics industries
  • self-employment, with enough experience, can practise this trade on a private basis

Further Information

The Steel & Engineering Industries Federation of South Africa (SEIFSA)
6th Floor, Metal Industries House
42 Anderson Street, Marshalltown
Johannesburg, 2001
Tel: (011) 298-9400

MerSETA (Manufacturing, Engineering and Related Services)
merSETA House
95 7th Avenue, 
Corner Rustenburg Road, Melville, 
Johannesburg, 2109
Tel: (010) 219-3000

Getting Started

  • visit a large engineering firm or manufacturing organisation and observe these artisans at work
  • arrange to speak to tool-, jig- and die-makers 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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