Tractor and Agricultural Machinery Mechanic

Tractor and agricultural machinery mechanics maintain, repair and overhaul farm machinery, equipment and vehicles such as tractors, harvesters, pumps, ploughs, planters and irrigation apparatus. Apart from listening to and visual inspection of the equipment, these mechanics use electronic equipment to trace problems.

Tractor and agricultural machinery mechanics dismantle defective units and repair or replace parts using various tools. They reassemble, adjust and lubricate these parts to ensure that they operate efficiently. They install and repair farm irrigation systems and maintain farm electrical systems.

These mechanics need to be able to work with both petrol and diesel engines and may occasionally have to do welding. They often have to work very quickly since farmers cannot afford to have important machinery out of order for long.

Personal Requirements

  • at least 16 years old
  • mechanical aptitude
  • problem-solving ability
  • meticulously accurate and careful
  • manual dexterity
  • good hearing and vision
  • physical strength and stamina

How to Enter

Schooling & School Subjects

Grade 10 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.


  • service departments of farm machine dealers, wholesalers and manufacturers
  • independent repair and maintenance workshops
  • repair and maintenance shops on large farms
  • self-employment, with enough experience, can practise this trade on a private basis or start own business

Further Information

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

Getting Started

  • work on cars and mechanical equipment as a hobby
  • try to obtain vacation work at a garage
  • speak to mechanics about this work and ask permission to watch them work

Programmes by Study Institutions

Related Occupations

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