Trade occupations in SA: How to become a Toolmaker
Finding a position as a toolmaker has many benefits. From the availability of work to job satisfaction, there are plenty of advantages to this trade occupation. When it comes to finding employment in the manufacturing industry, working in toolmaker jobs is a good choice. Take a look at our blog to learn more about what these manufacturing jobs entail.
What is a toolmaker?
A toolmaker produces precision tools which are used to manufacture metal parts and instruments. They also make tool holders as well as jigs and fixtures which keep metal in place when it is being stamped or drilled. These tools can be controlled mechanically or by a computer.
Toolmaker jobs can be found in machine shops and in factories. Employment opportunities are also available in tool rooms.
The Job Description of a Toolmaker
Professionals in this industry review blueprints and specifications for producing tools. Computer-aided design files may also be involved in this initial process. Computer-aided manufacturing files may play a role in this process too.
The tool maker is responsible for calculating and checking the dimensions, shapes and application guidelines of tools. They file and alter parts to ensure that they are joined properly. Another part of this role involves testing finished tools to verify that the tools match the stipulated specifications. They assess the tools for any flaws. Toolmakers are also tasked with polishing the surfaces of tools.
These types of positions form part of manufacturing jobs. Typically toolmakers are employed in machine shops and in factories. They also work in tool rooms.
Their working environment is usually well lit with adequate ventilation. While the tasks involved in this role are not dangerous, tool makers need to be cautious as they work with machines. Safety precautions should include using the right protective equipment for the task that they are performing.
Safety glasses and earplugs are two useful items of safety equipment. Toolmakers usually keep regular business hours however overtime is often associated with this role. Toolmakers may also be expected to work on weekends.
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Occupation Regulations and Training
The occupation of a toolmaker is listed as a trade. A trade is a job which involves manual tasks which require special skills to perform. As a trade it is controlled by National Artisan Moderation Body under the Department of Higher Education and Training. It is necessary to pass a trade test in order to work as a qualified professional in the industry. The test should be completed at a trade test centre which has been accredited by QCTO.
Toolmakers need the skills to read engineering drawings. Outstanding maths and IT skills are also required for this position. Technical capabilities are vital for this role. To succeed in these types of positions you will need to be able to meet deadlines and the ability to follow instructions is also required.
Minimum entry requirements for the toolmaker learning pathway is at least 40% for Grade 9 mathematics. A Level 2 National certificate will also make you eligible for this learning pathway. To become a qualified professional you can complete an apprenticeship under the guidance of a qualified toolmaker.
The apprenticeship typically includes a practical and work experience component following a theoretical component. Another option is to complete a learnership which is a learning program that includes theory as well as practical components. Work experience is also part of the learnership.
If you have gathered knowledge and work experience, you may be eligible for recognition of prior learning. All the learnerships require you to pass a trade test at an accredited centre.
Also read our “Learnership, internship or apprenticeship: What you should be applying for” post on the blog.
Why choose toolmaker jobs?
If you enjoy working with your hands, these types of manufacturing jobs might be for you. As toolmaking is listed as a scarce skill, there are job opportunities available in this field. Toolmakers have the satisfaction of creating tools with their hands.
A toolmaker in South Africa earns an average rate of R97.92 per hour. Toolmakers who have Mechanical Tool Repair training typically earn more. Experience is also associated with a slightly higher income.