Architectural metalworkers make steel doors, metal patterns, fixtures, templates and railings for architectural purposes. They may make their own designs and sketches, but usually they work under assignment of architects who supply them with drawings.
They mark cut lines on the metal, which can be brass, copper, steel or alloys. They cut and forge metal to the desired shape by means of various machine tools such as metal band saws, power shears, fly presses and swage machines. The metal is heated in a furnace to make it malleable.
Architectural metalworkers use soldering, brazing or welding techniques to join the different parts of the metal pattern together. They complete their task by fixing the door, pattern or template to the building.
Architectural metalworkers may specialize, such as with iron and steel manufacturers or building contractors. They may specialize in manufacturing specific objects such as steel doors or patterns.
Architectural metalworkers mostly work in workshops equipped with benches, tools and machines. Sometimes, when furnace heating and blacksmithing is done, it becomes extremely hot inside the work area. In the course of their work architectural metalworkers often visit building sites, which allows for variation in the work situation.
- working with one's hands
- the satisfaction of seeing results of one's work
- the opportunity to become self-employed
- the possibility of injury while on the job
- limited job availability
The architectural metalworker should
- enjoy working with their hands
- show inventiveness and creativity in the processing of metal
- have patience and persistence in order to execute all tasks with the necessary accuracy
- have mathematical aptitude to cope with drawing and interpreting sketches of three-dimensional designs
- be a neat, precise worker
- have good health and physical fitness
- have good hearing and vision
- have manual dexterity
- be at least 16 years old
Grade 9 certificate
Some employers prefer higher qualifications
Compulsory Subjects: None
Recommended Subjects: Mathematics
There are three ways to qualify as a registered artisan:
1. An apprenticeship is a 4-year contract between company and apprentice, comprising a 12-week theoretical training, which includes 4 subjects at national exam level.
2. A learnership is a structured learning programme that leads to a qualification in a certain field. The learnership programme includes a theoretical and a practical component. It usually takes about a year to complete. The training takes place on-site (on the premises of the organisation). This has the advantage that the learner gets on-the-job 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 (this 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 CHIETA. They also receive bursary funding through the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) for the NCV programme.
- Building contractors
- Iron and steel manufacturers
- Mining companies
- Large engineering concerns
South African Institute of Welding: Johannesburg
P O Box 527
Crown Mines, 2025
Tel: (011) 298-2100 Fax: (011) 836-4132
South African Institute of Welding: Cape Town
P O Box 494
Tel: (021) 552-1781 Fax: (021) 552-2275
South African Institute of Welding: Durban
P O Box 70832
Tel: (031) 201-4850 Fax: (031) 201-4850