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, welder and many other fields. An artisan is needed if a tool needs to be made, a platform needs to be hoisted, a part needs to be manufactured and anything that requires welding. Artisans are skilled specialised technical workers and drive industry in terms of engineering. They are seen as the backbone of any engineering or manufacturing based economy. An individual may be highly skilled in his/her field but without the relevant qualification they are not recognised as Artisans but are labelled as unskilled or semi-skilled workers.

To be acknowledged and recognised, aspiring artisans must begin by selecting a particular field of work. For example, within the artisan sector there are opportunities to become a Boilermaker, Bricklayer, Diesel Mechanic, Electrician, Fitter and Turner, Plumber, Welder to name just a few. Mastering the work without having the relevant qualification means that the Artisan could earn far less than his/her peers who have the qualification.

Why choose the artisan career option?

There are a great number of career opportunities for any learner who decides to pursue a trade qualification. Learners who are suited to become artisans would enjoy applying their knowledge to solve problems and achieve goals in a practical manner. Artisans enjoy working and making things with their hands. There is a great shortage of artisans in the country and according to the Department of Higher Education many of the Artisan Trades are identified as scarce skills.

What are some of the benefits of following the artisan career path?

Learners who meet the criteria to become artisans can find valuable practical and theoretical experience. They may also enjoy a high likelihood of employment by registering in a learnership or apprenticeship programme. Becoming an artisan does not limit the learner to always work within their specific trade. It is completely possible that an experienced artisan could move into a supervisory role; and from there on into various levels of management. There is great career mobility for a person with technical skills.

Due to the immediate and ongoing essential need for the practical skills of artisans in every sector of the economy, artisans are very well equipped to explore entrepreneurial pursuits by starting their own businesses, for example as plumbing or electrical contractors. With hard work and dedication, they could grow their business and become highly successful. For example, solar energy provides great entrepreneurial opportunities for Plumbers.

How do I become an artisan?

First, you will need to register on one of our artisan trade programmes. You must complete the theoretical, Practical Skills and Workplace Experience Modules and pass all formative assessments. You may request for recognition of prior (RPL) learning if you have many years of experience in the chosen field. Once you met all the requirements for entrance into the trade test, the Academy will assist you to complete the Trade Test Application form and arrange for your trade test to take place. In order to become an artisan, must pass the Trade Test. Only after passing the Trade Test will you be nationally recognised as an artisan.

What makes up the Artisan Training Programme?

For unemployed learners who want to become artisans, the most suitable approach is to enter into an apprenticeship programme. This method of acquiring a qualification allows you to “earn while you learn”. The learning is also well structured and covers theoretical modules, practical skills modules in an accredited training workshop and actual experience in a workplace. A facilitator will guide you through the theoretical learning while a coach will guide you through your practical skills training and a mentor will guide you through the workplace learning. EBMTC Artisan Academy adopts an individualised learner centered approach to their apprenticeship and RPL programmes to ensure that the learner is given all the support required to be successful.

The Theoretical knowledge covers aspects like health and safety, drawings, calculations, theories, principles, etc. This is the underpinning knowledge required to carry out the tasks that fall within the trade. To determine if the learner understands the theory, the learner must pass all the theory tests. The Practical Skills component of the learning is done under supervision of a coach in a fully equipped workshop. Here, learners get an opportunity to complete practical elements in preparation for their workplace learning component. The learner must complete a range of practical tasks to demonstrate that he/she can perform the skills required. The Workplace Experience component allows the learner to apply the knowledge and practical skills learnt in the real world. This provides the learner with an opportunity to develop employability skills as well. Learners will be exposed to real work 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. An experienced mentor will be assigned to guide the learner through this process. During this time learners will be exposed to the entire scope of their chosen trade.

Trade Test

While tests and assessments are administered throughout the learning programme, the trade test is the final hurdle for prospective artisans. Once a student has completed the theoretical and practical skills modules and workplace learning, 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.