Would you like to become an artisan? There is a huge demand for qualified artisans in South Africa and now is a good time to pursue this line of work.
But first, let's take a look at exactly what an artisan is: What is an Artisan?
An artisan is a person who is highly skilled with their hands. That is, an artisan works primarily in a technical field, doing skilled manual labour. This may be as a plumber, electrician, carpenter and many other fields.
How do I become an artisan?
In order to become an artisan, you will have to pass a Trade Test in your field in order to be nationally recognised as an artisan.
But first, you'll need to attend a TVET college in order to learn the theoretical skills needed to study the practical skills necessary to become an artisan. You will usually find that there is a bursary available to assist you with fees. This may be a NSFAS bursary or from another provider.
Aspiring artisans must begin by selecting a particular field of work. For example, within the artisan sector there are opportunities to become an electrician, mechanic, plumber, carpenter or joiner, to name just a few. For those who want to further develop their skills there are technician or engineering related jobs.
As you can see, these are all highly practical yet skilled jobs. While artisan learning programmes are largely practical there is a substantial amount of theory that must be obtained at a school or vocational college. In order to train at a vocational college learners must meet the necessary requirements.
The minimum requirements to enter a recognized learning programme to become an artisan are outlined in the new Draft Trade Test regulations.
Students who wish to apply for entrance must achieve 40% for mathematics (excluding maths literacy) and a Grade 9 or National Certificate level 2 pass.
In the case of civil, mechanical and electrical categories of trades a minimum of 40% in the relevant N2 Trade theory or the relevant vocational subjects of the National Certificate (Vocational) Level 2 is required. Occupational Knowledge Students will begin their learning programme by joining a relevant and accredited training course.
Prospective artisans are trained to perform specific tasks such as fault finding, manufacturing, repair and servicing. The training programme may include academic components like mathematics, science, drawing or technical language specific to the trade. Everything you learn will be very relevant to the practical skills you will be applying.
At the same time learners will get an opportunity to complete practical elements in preparation for their apprenticeships or the workplace learning component of becoming an artisan.
This is a critical part of the learning process because this is where occupational knowledge and practical training is applied in the workplace. Students will be exposed to real life situations such as work ethics, safety responsibilities and industry level performance standards, as well as really getting to know what it's like to be an artisan in South Africa.
Where possible, an experienced mentor will be assigned to guide the student and ease this process. During this time learners will be exposed to the entire scope of their chosen trade.
While tests and assessments are administered throughout the learning programme, the trade test is the final hurdle for prospective artisans.
Once a students has completed the occupational knowledge and workplace learning segments, they will be required to take the trade test. In order to become a qualified artisan and receive national recognition, learners must pass the trade test. This assessment can be completed at a National Trade Test centre that is accredited by the Quality Council for Trades and Occupations.
Why become an Artisan anyway?
Now that you know what an artisan is, you might be wondering why this is something you should consider. There are a number of reasons: University isn't for everyone - not everyone fits into the current university model, and that's okay. A degree is not the only qualification you can get. Artisan courses are just as valuable.
Learning skills - if you decide to become an artisan, you will be learning practical skills that you may find useful in day to day life. There's a great need for qualified tradespeople in South Africa - we just don't have enough skilled artisans in our country.
By becoming an artisan you can uplift yourself and fill a void in our society that is crying out for you.
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