Automotive machinists are skilled metalworkers who build, assemble, and renew internal combustion engines and engine components according to manufacturer specifications. They perform a variety of machining operations on engines and engine components of used vehicles.
When vehicle engines are worn out, they burn too much oil and fuel and have to be rebuilt. This process includes the dismantling and cleaning of the engine, grinding various parts and manufacturing and fitting others. Automotive machinists inspect all the components thoroughly for cracks and other faults, then clean and rebuild parts where necessary. When turning and fitting the different parts, the re-assembling of the engine's substructure has to be carefully done, before the engine parts can be balanced. The engine is then 'mounted' and a dynamometer used to test if the engine functions correctly.
The work is very precise and is usually carried out indoors, in well-equipped workshops. Working conditions can be somewhat dirty and noisy, as lathes, grinders, drilling and milling machines are used.
- working with your hands
- steady employment
- being able to see the results of your work
- opportunities to perform a variety of tasks
- noisy environment
- possible injury on the job
- being on your feet most of the day
- sometimes having to work overtime
An automotive machinist should:
- be at least 16 years old;
- be able to work independently;
- be able to concentrate on details;
- perform work very accurately, with an eye for detail;
- enjoy working with his hands;
- have mathematical aptitude;
- be able to work with mechanical tools;
- have finger and hand dexterity;
- have good eye-hand coordination;
- possess good physical health and stamina;
- have good eyesight and hearing.
Grade 10 Certificate.
Some employers demand higher qualifications.
Compulsory Subjects: Mathematics
Recommended Subjects: None
Trained tradesmen train the automotive machinists in different workshops. A modular system ensures that the right methods are used.
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.
Learners must all receive training in occupational safety and first aid, fire-fighting and preventative security measures. Learners study everything about the installation, maintenance and repair of all electrical equipment. They must also become familiar with municipal legislation relevant to electricity supply and consumption.
Training is done under the supervision of the Motor Industries Training Board and is registered with the Department of Labour.
- Motor car assembly factories
- Motor engineering industry
- Independent workshops
- Motor manufacturing industry
- Organisations that maintain their own vehicles
- Government departments
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