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Printer's Mechanic
Printer's mechanics are responsible for the installation and maintenance of printing machines and other equipment in printing companies. Due to technological advances this work has become very specialized and an important part of the industry.

Printer's mechanics mount, install, maintain, repair, move and rearrange a wide variety of machines and equipment. These mechanics assemble, install and test new machines, or parts of machines to integrate their operation with existing machines.

Printer's mechanics have to complete their work quickly and efficiently, because downtime on a printing machine can lead to huge production losses. It is also necessary for these mechanics to be extremely cautious because negligence can lead to injuries.

Satisfying Aspects
- working with your hands
- challenge of getting machines to work first time
- good wages and benefits

Demanding aspects
- possibility of injury on the job
- working in noisy environments
- lifting heavy machinery
- sometimes having to work overtime

A printer's mechanic should:
- be at least 16 years old;
- be accurate and alert;
- have mathematical aptitude;
- have mechanical inclination;
- enjoy working with his hands;
- be practical;
- be responsible;
- have good work habits.

School Subjects
Grade 10 Certificate for a learnership at a company
National Senior Certificate for full-time training at the Southern African Printing College
Compulsory Subjects: None
Recommended Subjects: Mathematics, Engineering and Graphic Design, Mechanical Technology

Diploma: Southern African Printing College

Theoretical training: At the Southern African Printing College (full-time), or through their Distance Learning Department (part-time) up to N3 level

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.

- Commercial printing plants
- Book and magazine publishers
- Newspaper plants
- Stationery and envelope manufacturers
- Government departments e.g. Government Printing Works
- Manufacturers and other firms that do their own printing

Printing Industries Federation of South Africa (PIFSA)
P O Box 1396
Gallo Manor, 2052
The Braids
113 - 115 Bowling Avenue
Gallo Manor, 2191
Tel: (011) 287-1160 Fax: (011) 287-1178

Media Skills for Africa
Tel: (056) 818-1814