What Is An Apprenticeship?

  • An apprenticeship is a type of training that prepares you to do practical work
  • Some diplomas include this training. These diplomas are NATED and National Vocational Training 
  • You could undergo an apprenticeship contract, this means that you will work within a company
  • You could complete a learnership or receive practical training after previous qualifications
  • There are many colleges where you can obtain training and qualifications, such as Matric College

An apprenticeship is a learning period that includes both practical training and education. An apprenticeship prepares students for the technical work field where practical skills take preference. 

Everything you need to know about apprenticeships:

  • What does it mean?
  • How does it work?
  • What are the requirements?
  • Where can I complete an apprenticeship?

What Does Apprenticeship Mean?

Students that do apprenticeships work towards becoming artisans.  

What Are Artisans?

Artisans are professionals who do trading work. This means that they do manual work and make use of equipment. Examples: welders, boilermakers, fitters, turners, bricklayers, etc.

What Are Trades?

A trade is a type of work that includes manual labour. To become an artisan, you need to have a qualification as well as undergo a trade test. 

The National Artisan Moderation Body has a list of all trades and is responsible for the accreditation of the trades. 

How does it work?

The Sector Education and Training Authority makes sure that the skills learnt during apprenticeships are standard. 

They provide a process that all apprenticeships undertake:

  • The student will gain practical work experience at a company. The employer and the student have to sign an agreement
  • Along with the practical work, an N2 certificate must be completed at a TVET college which the employers pay for
  • The student then undergoes a trade test which the merSETA evaluates
  • After completion, the successful student will obtain a National Trade Certificate

What Are the Requirements?

The entry requirements may vary depending on the type of apprenticeship. 

Here are the general requirements:

  • Older than 16
  • Grade 10 language level
  • Some employers may require grade 12
  • Depending on the apprenticeship, you will need fundamental skills when it comes to studying fields such as maths

Where Can I Complete An Apprenticeship?

There are five routes you can take in becoming an artisan:

Apprenticeship Contract

You could sign a contract with an employer and they will provide you with a professional artisan who will train you. 

National Accredited Technical Education Diploma

This is a diploma that includes both theoretical and practical training. Matric College offers NATED courses that you can complete. Some NATED courses would require you to have Matric or Matric Equivalent to study the NATED course. Study Online Matric and further your studies. Adult matric is commonly referred to as Senior Certificate (Amended)

National Vocational Certificate

This certificate is similar to the NATED qualification, but it focuses on a specific trade. It also consists of more practical training.


It is a work-based programme that also includes theoretical and practical experience. An example is the engineering learnership. The student must have an NQF 4 qualification, whereafter the student can complete 80 weeks of practical work.

Prior Learning Experience 

If you have a qualification you can apply for practical training. The Artisan Recognition of Prior Learning will have to verify if your qualification is valid.


Last Updated: 17 December 2021

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