Welders play key roles in the manufacturing process. Their work varies from repair and maintenance welding, to construction and fabrication.

Welders’ skills are used in the construction and maintenance of pipelines, boilers, nuclear reactors, pressure vessels, motor vehicles, oil rigs and turbine castings. They need to be competent in welding many different types of metal (mild steel, stainless steel or aluminium) using various processes. Recognising welding defects and being able to correct them is also part of the job.

Welders must also be able to identify welding electrodes and filler wire compositions and know how to store and dry electrodes and fluxes. The most common types of welding are electric, arc, resistance and gas welding. Other methods include the use of electron beams and laser beams.

How to Enter

Schooling & School Subjects

Grade 9 Certificate.

Compulsory Subjects: None
Recommended Subjects: Civil Technology, Mechanical Technology, Mathematics, Physical Sciences

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. FET 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 FET College. Skills programmes are short practical hands-on courses.

For more information about qualifications and skills programmes, contact your nearest FET College. FET 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.


  • motor manufacturing industry
  • electricity supply industry
  • explosives and allied industries
  • metal industries
  • railway undertakings
  • heavy and light engineering industries
  • gate and fence industry
  • self-employment, with enough experience can practice this trade privately or start own business

Further Information

Southern African Institute of Welding
Membership Services Secretary
P O Box 527
Crown Mines, 2025
Tel: (011) 298-2100 Fax: (011) 836-4132
E-mail: erasmusv@saiw.co.za

in Cape Town:
P O Box 494
Goodwood, 7459
Tel: (021) 552-1781 Fax: (021) 552-2275

in Durban:
P O Box 2023
New Germany, 3620
Tel: (031) 201-4850 Fax: (031) 201-4850

Getting Started

  • try to obtain vacation or part-time work in a factory where welding takes place
  • speak to welders and ask for permission to observe them at work
  • contact the Department of Labour about learnership possibilities in your area

Programmes by Study Institutions


Related Occupations