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What Exactly Does A Fitter & Turner Do?

26 August 2019 | 0 comments | Posted by Che Kohler in Ace of Trades

A fitter and turner job description

In South Africa, there has been so much focus on tertiary education and how it helps alleviate poverty. Unfortunately, there is no guarantee of a job and many graduates are sitting without work.

Having a degree may be a prestigious accolade, but having a hand skill is the ability to create wealth and opportunity for yourself. One of the most sort after artisans in South Africa is the fitter and turner, also known as a machinist.

But why would this job be so crucial for the economy? Why are machinists in demand? Well, let's take a look at the skills you acquire and the duties you have as a fitter and turner.

The role of a fitter and turner

A fitter and turners are responsible for studying blueprints, plans of parts needed for various machines. After evaluating the designs, they should then be able to construct, assemble, manufacture, and fit parts of devices and various machinery.

The job also requires you to perform maintenance tasks as a person is also responsible for maintaining and repairing different types of machinery.  

The requirements to become a fitter and turner

The requirements of a fitter & turner are not very rigorous, but they do require specific mathematical understanding as well as being able to work with your hands.

There are a few requirements that you need to meet to become a fitter and turner in South Africa

  • Are you at least 16 years old?
  • Do you enjoy working with your hands?
  • Are you able to concentrate while working under noisy conditions?
  • Do you have the patience to set up a machine and watch the machines while the turning is in progress?
  • Are you practical and do you have an aptitude for maths?
  • Do you have an interest in learning and working with 3D drawings?

What qualifications do you need to be a fitter and turner?

To become a qualified fitter and turner in South Africa, you need to complete both the theoretical and practical training as well as passing a trade test upon completion of your course.

Theoretical training

You can obtain practical training from an accredited training institution, or you can complete your practical training under the supervision of a qualified tradesperson.

For theoretical training, you can enrol at a vocational college.

Theoretical training options include the N1 – N3 National Certificates in Engineering Studies (Fitting and Turning), which you can study at various colleges and even through distance learning.

Practical training

Once you have the theory down you can apply for an apprenticeship to do your practical training. Practical training can take anything from three to four years to complete.

Trade test

Once you complete theoretical and practical training, you will then need to apply for the trade test.   Once you complete this test, you can become fully qualified as a fitter and turner.

Note: You need to consider training in first aid and workplace health and safety.  

What to expect once you get a machinist job

The working conditions that a fitter and turner works require precision and have a range of challenging aspects such as:

  • Fitters and turners spend a lot of time standing, bending, and crouching, which can be tiring.
  • They are sometimes expected to work long hours, including during the night and over public holidays.
  • The working conditions can often be noisy, dirty, crowded, and dangerous, meaning a lot of attention to and awareness of safety is needed.

What do a fitter and turners earn in South Africa?

According to Payscale South Africa, the average salary for a fitter and turner is R241, 362 per year. The predicted annual wage comes down to an average monthly income of R20, 530. Remember, knowledge and work experience plays a big part in earning potential.

You will most likely start with a lower salary in an entry-level position.

Tell us your artisanal story

Are you a qualified artisan? How has the career path changed your life? Are you interested in becoming an artisan? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.

Are you looking to promote your business?

South African artisans and manufacturing business owners can create your free business listing on nichemarket. The more information you provide about your business, the easier it will be for your customers to find you online. Registering with nichemarket is easy; all you will need to do is head over to our sign up form and follow the instructions.

If you require a more detailed guide on how to create your profile or your listing, then we highly recommend you check out the following articles. 

Recommended reading

If you enjoyed this post and have a little extra time to dive deeper down the rabbit hole, why not check out the following posts on artisans.

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