AgriSETA Learner Connect: Meet a fitter and turner

This practical occupation is in high demand the world over

Not to be Missed

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Hands-on, practical work is not always popular. If you are excited about creating new things, then becoming a fitter and turner like David Pieterse (63) is an untapped career path to consider. Pieterse is doing exactly that for the Rossgro Group, operating in Mpumalanga, Gauteng and Limpopo.

“To be surrounded by maize fields and clean fresh air makes every day worthy to get up and face a new day’s challenges”. This is why Pieterse chose to work in agriculture.

Fitters and turners have to do theoretical and practical training. The qualification is offered at a technical and vocational education and training (TVET) college.

Success in this career requires meticulousness and commitment to accuracy. You must enjoy working with your hands and have mathematical aptitude. A requirement for high school learners who want to follow this career path is English, either as  a home language or first additional language and mathematics. Recommended subjects also include mechanical technology, engineering graphics and design.

If this career or field of study interests you then simply follow the advice below to find out more and about getting involved. Also check out the other agri careers to choose from on Food for Mzansi.

Okay, now it’s over to David Pieterse, Fitter and Turner at the Rossgro Group:

1Could you sum up your job for us? A fitter and turner is responsible for studying blueprints, plans, and drawings to be able to construct, assemble, manufacture, and fit machine parts. He or she is is also responsible for maintaining and repairing different types of machinery.

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2So, what does the day-to-day of your job entail? My key responsibilities includes preventative maintenance and servicing of all production equipment; fault finding and repairing of production machinery parts and replacement of production machinery parts. I also maintain all machinery and complete preventative maintenance and reactive worksheets from the maintenance scheduling program.

I control the stock of all relevant consumables, plan and implement various maintenance projects, consult with production staff and identify equipment and areas requiring attention. I am responsible for the constant review of production line to ensure optimal effectiveness as well as manufacturing and assembling metal components and taking accurate measurements.


What qualification do you need for this career? You can obtain practical training from an accredited training institution, or you can complete your practical training under the supervision of a qualified tradesperson. For theoretical training, you can enrol at a vocational college. Theoretical training options include the National Technical Certificate level 1 to level 3 and national certificates in engineering studies (fitting and turning), which you can study via distance learning. Before you can become fully qualified as a fitter and turner, you may need to pass a trade test, which you can only do once you have completed appropriate theoretical and practical training. In addition, you need to consider training in first aid and workplace health and safety.

4What are the character traits you need to be great at your job? Be meticulously accurate. You must enjoy working with your hands and be practical. Have mathematical aptitude, be patient and even-tempered when setting up a machine and watching the machine while the turning is in progress. You need to concentrate under noisy working conditions and be responsible and able to read three-dimensional drawings.

5What subjects do I need to become a fitter and turner? You need the following high school subjects: English (home Language and first additional language) and mathematics. Recommended subjects include mechanical technology, engineering and graphics and design.

6What do you love about agriculture as a space to work in? To be surrounded by maize fields and clean fresh air makes every day worth it to get up and face a new day’s challenges.

7Don’t be modest, tell us about your proudest career moments? To be able to do maintenance in order to look back in a year and realize that there was no downtime on production as a result of breakages.

8What do you do when you’re not at work? I love to work with my hands, build or create things with raw iron. I love to spend time with my family and grandchildren.

9Any advice for young people who are inspired by your career story here on AgriSETA Learner Connect? Work hard, be proud and you will achieve a lot, skilled fitter and turners are in high demand worldwide.

10Where can I study to become a fitter and turner? To become a qualified fitter and turner, you have to do theoretical and practical training. Theoretical training can be done at a technical and vocational education and training (TVET) college like College SA. Our fitting and turning programme has three levels, N1, N2 and N3. This programme lays the theoretical foundation on which your practical experience will build.

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