Diesel Mechanic

Diesel mechanics diagnose and repair the mechanical and electrical faults of diesel vehicles and machinery.

Diesel mechanics diagnose engine trouble, dismantle the engine when necessary, and replace or repair defective parts. They reassemble the engine and repair mechanical and electrical faults in construction machinery.

In most cases electrical diagnostic equipment is used to locate problems - experienced diesel mechanics are able to locate a problem by listening to the noise in the engine. Mechanical parts are replaced or minor adjustments made.

Diesel mechanics also complete job cards, furnish information on the parts that should be ordered and assist in training learners. They often perform administrative and managerial tasks. Working conditions of the diesel mechanic vary according to the place of employment - for instance, a well-equipped workshop or farm, ship or construction site.

Personal Requirements

  • at least 16 years old
  • enjoy working with their hands
  • mechanical aptitude and ability
  • able to communicate with people
  • practical and responsible
  • good eyesight and hearing
  • good eye-hand coordination
  • manual dexterity
  • possess physical strength and good health and stamina

How to Enter

Schooling & School Subjects

Grade 10 Certificate.
Some employers demand higher qualifications

What to Study

There are three 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, 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.

Learners must all receive training in occupational safety and first aid, fire-fighting and preventative security measures. Learners study everything about the installation, maintenance and repair of all electrical equipment. They must also become familiar with municipal legislation relevant to electricity supply and consumption.


  • service stations of new and used vehicle and tractor dealers
  • independent repair shops
  • vehicle service stations
  • vehicle parts wholesalers and distributors
  • bus and transport companies
  • organisations that maintain their own vehicles
  • government departments
  • carbonated soft-drink industry
  • self-employment, with enough experience and capital, can start own business

Further Information

The Transport Education and Training Authority
Tel: (011) 577 7000/7040

South African Diesel Fuel Injection Association
330 Surrey Avenue
Surrey Square Office Park
Ferndale, Randburg
Tel: (011) 886-6300

Getting Started

  • consult the Registrar of Manpower Training about training programmes available in your area
  • work on cars and other mechanical equipment as a hobby
  • try to obtain vacation work at a garage

Programmes by Study Institutions

Related Occupations

Green Diesel Mechanic

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