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Plastics Worker / Operator
A vast number of objects today are made of plastic. Plastics workers / operators manufacture these articles out of plastic, mixed with resin bonding.

A basic structure is built first, onto which a release agent is spread. Then gel is applied, followed by layers of plastic and resin bonding until the required thickness is obtained. Before the resin sets it has to be sanded on the uneven side with a sander until smooth. After the resin product has been removed from the ground structure the product is completed by mounting the rest of the required parts in or on the resin.

Plastics workers have to set up and maintain the machines that transform plastic compounds into a wide variety of consumer products.

Satisfying Aspects
- the opportunity to be original in one's work
- working with your hands
- creating finished products

Demanding aspects
- the dirt and noise of one's surroundings
- the mess of working with glue
- the potential danger of resin particles floating about

A plastics worker should:
- be patient and precise;
- be able to work alone;
- have manual dexterity;
- have three-dimensional visualisation;
- have mathematical aptitude;
- be physically healthy and fit.

School Subjects
No specific requirements.
Some employers prefer a Grade 10 or National Senior Certificate.

Compulsory Subjects: None
Recommended Subjects: Mathematics, Physical Sciences

In-service training takes place over a period of three to six months under the close supervision of a qualified plastics worker.

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.

- Plants and industries that manufacture plastic consumer products

Tshwane University of Technology and Cape Peninsula University of Technology

The Head
The Plastics Federation of South Africa
Private Bag X68
Halfway House, 1685
Tel. (011) 314-4021