Coppersmiths work mainly with non-ferrous metals such as copper and brass, manufacturing cylinders, pipes, cisterns and art objects.

Blueprints of the intended structure are studied and the copper plates marked off accordingly. Copper plates are bent to prescribed angles, holes are drilled and edges smoothed. The copper plates are cut either mechanically or by means of a gas cutter. Copper plates are then straightened, bent, rolled or dished to the required forms. The shaping is done with heavy machines working on the cold copper plates. Hot processing is sometimes required when difficult angles have to be shaped. Holes for rivets and stays are drilled into marked-off positions. Overlapping sides are compressed together.

Personal Requirements

  • have technical and practical aptitude
  • have mechanical insight
  • be creative
  • have artistic ability
  • pay attention to detail
  • be able to concentrate well
  • have knowledge of and interest in various metals
  • enjoy working with his hands
  • have good health and average physical strength
  • have hand and finger dexterity
  • have good eye-hand coordination
  • be at least 16 years old

How to Enter

Schooling & School Subjects

Grade 9 Certificate.
Some employers prefer higher qualifications.

What to Study

There are 3 ways to qualify as a registered artisan:

1. An apprenticeship is a fixed contract between company and apprentice, ranging in duration from between 18 months and 4 years. At the end of the contract, the apprentice writes a trade test leading to professional certification.

2. A learnership is a structured learning programme ranging from about a year to 3 years. A learnership comprises theoretical and practical training. Practical training is conducted on site (on the premises of the organisation). This has the advantage that the learner gets experience whilst training.

3. TVET (Technical Vocational Education and Training) 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 (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 TVET College. Skills programmes are short practical hands-on courses.

For more information about qualifications and skills programmes, contact your nearest TVET College. TVET Colleges are accredited and funded by a SETA (Sector Education and Training Authority) such as MerSETA or ChietaSETA. They also receive bursary funding through the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) for the NCV programme.


  • government departments
  • metal manufacturers
  • mining companies
  • large engineering concerns
  • large chemical companies
  • with the necessary experience can practise trade on private basis or start own business.

Further Information

Contact any of the companies listed above.

Programmes by Study Institutions

Related Occupations

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