Nav: Home | Inst. | Burs. | Careers
Boilermakers manufacture and build structures of steel, plate and piping ranging from boilers for steam engines and pressure vessels for power stations and petrochemical plants, to mine head-gear, bridges and oil-drilling platforms.

Prior to the construction of a new boiler, all the materials must first be prepared before the actual work of assembly and construction can begin. Drawings are made in separate sections and many calculations are made in this process.

Plates are marked and cut to the correct dimensions, using cutting torches or guillotines. They are then bent into the required shape. This is done manually using hand tools or mechanically by using bending brakes, rolling machines and heating procedures. The various parts are then assembled and prepared for welding.

Boilermakers are also responsible for cleaning and inspecting boilers to ensure that they work effectively. Because boilers have to last a very long time, a lot of work is devoted to maintaining and repairing them.

Boilermakers work in industrial plants near boilers, vats, tanks and other vessels. They may also work at the construction site of these vessels. Boilermakers work indoors in workshops or factories, and outdoors on construction sites. Work settings may be hot, noisy, poorly ventilated or damp. Often they must work in cramped quarters inside boilers. The work can be dangerous since they may have to work at considerable heights and/or around heavy, dangerous equipment.

Satisfying Aspects
- the challenge of constructing and maintaining equipment
- working with others
- good wages and fringe benefits
- working with one's hands
- a variety of tasks and locations

Demanding aspects
- working in cramped positions, working in a noisy, hot, poorly ventilated and/or damp environment
- losing work time (and wages) during bad weather conditions
- working overtime at night sometimes
- the possibility of injury at work

A boilermaker should:
- be at least 16 years old
- have some insight into electrical engineering
- have mechanical aptitude;
- be practical and accurate;
- be responsible, alert and careful;
- enjoy working with his hands;
- work well with others;
- be able to concentrate under noisy working conditions;
- have physical strength, stamina and flexibility;
- have good eye-hand co-ordination;
- have manual dexterity;
- have good eyesight.

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

Compulsory Subjects: None
Recommended Subjects: Mathematics, Physical Sciences

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.

- Engineering factories
- Construction companies
- Iron and steel plants
- Petroleum refineries
- Railways
- Shipyards
- Government departments
- Electrical and atomic power plants
- such organizations as: Sasol and Mittal Steel
- mines
- self-employment, with the necessary experience and capital to start own business

Southern African Institute of Welding: Cape Town
P O Box 494
Goodwood, 7459
Tel: (021) 552-1781 Fax: (021) 552-2275

Southern African Institute of Welding JHB
P O Box 527
Crown Mines, 2025
52 Western Boulevard
off Main Reef Road
City West
Tel: (011) 298-2100 Fax: (011) 836-4132

South African Institute of Welding: Durban
P O Box 70832
Overport, 4067
Tel: (031) 201-4850 Fax: (031) 201-4850