Nav: Home | Inst. | Burs. | Careers
Blacksmith / Farrier
Blacksmiths use modern mechanical tools and other machinery to manufacture objects from steel and metal e.g. architectural steel structures, crowbars and pickaxes.

They forge metal parts together, first heating the metal to soften it and then placing it on an anvil where it is hammered or pressed into the desired shape. Broken parts are rejoined by hammering them together. Blacksmiths often have to reheat objects to keep them workable while being shaped, repaired or finished. This process is used to sharpen metal or hand tools. Metal is tempered or hardened by heating to high temperatures and then cooling.

Some blacksmiths, called farriers, repair horseshoes using ready-made or custom-designed shoes. Farriers usually travel to stables to shoe horses, thus have somewhat more work variety than blacksmiths.

Other aspects of the work include making and interpreting detailed drawings. Blacksmiths need to be able to estimate material requirements from the drawings. They are also responsible for preparing, lighting and using open hearth, gas or oil-fired furnaces.

They usually work in hot, noisy workshops. Metal fabricating shops may provide power tools and the latest welding equipment, while local, small shops might use older equipment and methods. Blacksmiths do a lot of standing either upright or stooped, over their work. Sometimes the work involves lifting heavy metal objects.

Satisfying Aspects
- working with your hands
- being creative
- some work can be very interesting
- farriers travel to many different stables and meet people

Demanding aspects
- having to concentrate for long periods
- may work in hot, noisy sourroundings
- physically tiring with much bending,lifting and standing
- much patience required

A blacksmith should:
- be at least 16 years old
- enjoy working with his hands;
- be imaginative;
- have good judgement;
- be a precise methodical worker;
- have an eye for shape and line;
- be patient when working with horses;
- have physical strength and stamina;
- have good hearing and vision.

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

Compulsory Subjects: None
Recommended Subjects: None

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.

- iron and steel manufacturers
- railroads
- mining industries
- machinery manufacturers
- Sasol
- small repair shops
- horse trainers, race track stables and horse owners
- self-employment

MERSETA (Manufacturing, Engineering and Related Services Education and Training Authority)
3rd Floor, Block B
Metropolitan Park
8 Hillside Road
Parktown, 2001
Tel: (011) 551-5202 Fax: 0866 730017