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Automotive Body Repairer / Panelbeater
Automotive body repairers, or panel beaters as they are commonly known, are responsible for the repair and realignment of damaged and dented panels of the bodywork of motor vehicles.

Panel beaters straighten bent frames, remove dents and replace damaged body parts. They use special machines to align damaged frames, body sections, and unit bodies.

The bent framework or bodywork of a damaged vehicle must firstly, with the help of special equipment, be bent back to its original position so that the doors and bonnet fit properly. To even out the dents and bumps, panel beaters use various hammers to beat the metal from outside or inside until it is even.

In some cases badly damaged sections of body panels are removed and new ones welded in their place. Small dents are repaired by smoothing them out or by filling them with plastic or solder. Dents are then filled, sanded, and painted.

Panel beaters are also responsible for the final assembly and inspection for true fit, as well as for the testing for proper connection and working components in electrical fittings and lights. The work is becoming more and more specialized, for example, in frame straightening, door and fender repairing or the installation of glass.

Panel-beating is hard work. It is not expected that the repair worker handle heavy objects, but the work can be physically tiring and the continuous pounding and grinding can be very wearying. The noise may be unpleasant and the work environment dirty.

Satisfying Aspects
- working with your hands
- rendering a service to others
- seeing the results of your labour

Demanding aspects
- becoming soiled and greasy
- keeping up with the physical demands of the work
- having to work overtime on occasion

An automotive body repairer should:
- be 16 years or older;
- have a good sense of judgement;
- be able to work accurately;
- have physical strength and stamina;
- have eye-hand coordination;
- have good spatial and form perception;
- be able to work with mechanical tools;
- have manual dexterity;
- possess mechanical insight and knowledge.

School Subjects
Grade 9 Certificate.
Some employers demand higher qualifications.

Compulsory Subjects: None
Recommended Subjects: Mathematics

Courses in Automotive Body Repairing are offered at False Bay, Northlink and Umgungundlovu FET Colleges. Candidates may register as learners with any employer in the motor trade, provided that the employer is able to provide the required training.
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 contract between learner, employer and training provider, which provides for the achievement of a qualification, run over approximately 3 one-year periods.

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.

- Auto body repair and paint shops
- Automobile and truck dealers
- Trucking companies
- Bus and transport companies
- Motor vehicle manufacturers
- Other companies that maintain their own motor vehicles
- Government departments such as the Department of Transport
- self-employment, with sufficient capital to start own business

3rd Floor, Block B
Metropolitan Park,
8 Hillside Road,
Parktown, 2001
Tel: (011) 551-5202 Fax: 0866 730017