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Instrument Mechanician

What does an Instrument Mechanician do?

Instrument mechanicians manufacture, repair and recalibrate a wide variety of pneumatic, electronic and microcomputer instruments. The instrument mechanician plays a vital role in ensuring that automatic processes and plant systems operate correctly and efficiently.

They provide dedicated technical and operational systems support to various process divisions in manufacturing and mining plants, among others. To design specific research instruments, these mechanicians work according to sketches and instructions from scientists and engineers.


What qualifications do I need?

You can become an instrument mechanician through a structured learning programme, ranging from about one to three years. A learnership comprises theoretical and practical training. Practical training is conducted on site (on the premises of the organisation). Or you can attend a TVET college for theoretical training via the National Certificate Vocational (NCV). All learners are required to complete a practical internship under the supervision of an experienced artisan. As an alternative to doing the full qualification, you can apply to do a skills programme at a TVET College. Skills programmes are short practical hands-on courses.

What subjects do I need?

Engineering Design
Physical Science
Computer Applications Technology


Where can I study?

False Bay TVET College
NCV: Fabrication

Northlink College
ND Electrical Engineering (Heavy/Light)

Ikhala Public TVET
NCV: Electrical Infrastructure Construction

Goldfields TVET College
Nated Electrical Engineering N1-N6

Where can I get more info?

Society for Automation, Instrumentation, Mechatronics and Computer Engineering (SAIMC) - www.saimc.co.za
South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) - www.allqs.saqa.org.za/


Interview with an Instrument Mechanician

Benny Moeng | INSTRUMENT MECHANIC | Fempower

Benny Moeng | INSTRUMENT MECHANIC | Fempower


Why did you choose this profession? 
To be honest, the reason I chose to follow this career path is because I got a good job opportunity. It isn’t easy to find work, so decided to take on the job.

What training did you undergo and where?
I trained at the Sasol academy in the field of instrumentation. I did a learnership, which requires on-the-job learning supported by structured or institutional learning. 

Describe a typical day on the job
Each day follows the same procedure. Most of my time is spent analysing the various machines.

What do you enjoy most about your work?
I really enjoy the fault finding aspect of my job. It’s like being a detective, but of machines.

What don’t you like about your job?
I think the worst part of my job for me is getting into arguments. Sometimes when people have different opinions about what the problem is and how to fix it, it makes it difficult.

What hurdles have you had to overcome over the time you’ve been working?
I’ve had to overcome the stress of dealing with difficult people who don’t know how to communicate and resolve issues.

What’s been the highlight of your career to date?
Following this career has led to very good job opportunities. Instrument artisans are scarce in South Africa, so the skills I’ve learnt are in high demand in the workplace.

What are your future goals?
My goal is always to excel on the job I’m currently doing – I want to be the best I can be. I also want to learn all the tricks of the trade, so I can become an invaluable member of my team.

In your line of work is experience as important as formal training?
Yes, absolutely. Learning while gaining experience makes you much more employable.

Is there a type of personality best suited to this work, or certain traits one should have (or not have)?
Yes, when you work in a team with people, you need to be professional and know how to communicate. 

What advice would you give to someone starting out in your career?
I would advise them to learn how to be patient – it really pays.

Describe your job in three words
Measure, control, process

Interview date: May 2023