SAQA All qualifications and part qualifications registered on the National Qualifications Framework are public property. Thus the only payment that can be made for them is for service and reproduction. It is illegal to sell this material for profit. If the material is reproduced or quoted, the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) should be acknowledged as the source.

Occupational Certificate: Toolmaker 
103177  Occupational Certificate: Toolmaker 
Development Quality Partner - TASA/NTIP 
-   OQSF - Occupational Qualifications Sub-framework 
Occupational Certificate  Field 06 - Manufacturing, Engineering and Technology  Manufacturing and Assembly 
Undefined  664  Not Applicable  NQF Level 05  Regular-ELOAC 
Passed the End Date -
Status was "Registered" 
SAQA 13121/18  2018-07-26  2023-07-26 
2024-07-26   2027-07-26  

In all of the tables in this document, both the pre-2009 NQF Level and the NQF Level is shown. In the text (purpose statements, qualification rules, etc), any references to NQF Levels are to the pre-2009 levels unless specifically stated otherwise.  

This qualification replaces: 
Qual ID Qualification Title Pre-2009 NQF Level NQF Level Min Credits Replacement Status
91796  Occupational Certificate: Toolmaker  Not Applicable  NQF Level 05  432  Complete 

The purpose of this qualification is to prepare a learner to operate as a Toolmaker.

A Toolmaker Manufactures modifies and repairs tools, dies, jigs, fixtures, moulds and other precision parts and equipment to fine tolerances used in various production disciplines.

A qualified learner will be able to:
  • Assist, advice and plan for product development, tool/ die/mould design, production processes, equipment and material, including machining components and assembly.
  • Assess process planning, process adjustment, quality control and inspection.
  • Oversee, and execute tool/die/mould parts production processes.
  • Assemble, test, debug and quality assurance of the tool/die/mould and related operational and maintenance processes.

    The Industrial Policy Action Plan (IPAP) is firmly entrenched in Government's overall policy and plans to address the key challenges of economic and industrial growth and race-based poverty, inequality and unemployment. It is a key component of the President's Nine Point Plan and is aligned to the policy perspective of Radical Economic Transformation. It is guided by the vision of the National Development Plan. IPAP 2017 is aligned to the Medium-Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) as well as the Medium Term Strategic Framework (MTSF).

    The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) incorporated the National Tooling Initiative (NTI) into the Industrial Policy Action Plan-IPAP as a key action programme for the Industrial Development-Fourth Industrial Revolution Division's Future Industrial Production and Technologies programme. The Programme was initially incubated through the European Sector (EU) Sector Wide Enterprise and Equity Programme (SWEEEP) donor funding with expanded support drawn from the National Treasury budget line item for the next Medium-Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) period to ensure continuity of the programme.

    The NTI is the turnaround intervention programme aimed at the rehabilitation and growth of the Tool, Die and Mould manufacturing (TDM) Sector and has been identified by the DTI as a key programme to uplift the manufacturing industry to international standards to develop the market and showcase the niche competitive advantages and capabilities of South Africa. Importance of Tooling in Manufacturing: Tools, Dies and Moulds, Jigs and Fixtures, Gauges and Metrology Equipment are core, key and critical to Manufacturing Competitiveness, as they are key Product Life Cycle Cost Drivers in terms of:
  • Initial Capital Investment to enable manufacturing of any new product, (Design and Manufacturing Cost of Original Tooling).
  • Production Cost Competitiveness (through Production Cycle Time, Reject).
  • Rate, Conversion Efficiency of the product to be produced.
  • End Product Quality standard.
  • Reliability of Production output and End product.
  • Maintenance Cost of Tooling.
  • Occupational health and safety.

    A FRIDGE study was done by the government, with which they wanted to establish the size and development of the industry. This study confirmed the status of the South-African TDM industry as a key support component of the manufacturing sector. This study confirmed the need for a national intervention programme to address the steady decline of this support sector to the manufacturing industry over the past 15 to 20 years. This study found the TDM Sector distress drivers to be skills erosion and job losses resulting in huge critical shortage of skilled operator, designers, artisans, engineers and project managers in this sector. The advent of Industry 4.0, Computer Aided Design and Manufacturing radically changed the skills requirements for the production of tooling.

    The need for revamping and updating the training capacity for the TDM sector cannot be over-emphasised and the Quality Council for Trades and Occupations (QCTO) model for provision of training received overwhelming support from the industry. In particular, the advent of this system is considered opportune to address existing problems in the industry, such as Improved industrial competitiveness by addressing current loss of work to Europe, China, India and other far east countries resulting from the lack of skills availability, decline in quality standards (out-dated non-competitive technology), decline in South Africa (SA) TDM companies' ability to meet delivery capacity and timing requirements Improve the Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment (BBBEE) transformation in TDM industry where as a result of perceived distress in the sector, financial institutions and investors classify this industry sector as high risk, thus empowerment investment to date remains largely insignificant. Capacity building will address start-up Small and Medium Enterprises (SME's) enterprises in the sector to improve investor perception and improve chances for investment finance Improve the Balance of Payments through import substitution resulting from local production and manufacturing competitiveness, i.e. machine setting, tooling adjustment and tool maintenance services. The improved competitiveness will further address downstream problems like plant downtime, higher scrap rates, drop in output efficiencies, quality problems, missed supply deadlines, and increased input costs.

    The range of typical learners that will enter this qualification are people who would like to gain access to employment in the Tool and Die Making industry and those with a specific interest in production of tooling.

    This qualification resides as one of several in the mechanical engineering and manufacturing environments and makes allowance for any feeder occupation within this context to gain access to the Toolmaker qualification. The Toolmaker qualification also makes provision for people to progress within this discipline to other aspects such as patternmaking and computer aided design.

    The main benefits of this qualification for the learner are that the learner has an opportunity to be recognised as a qualified artisan with well-structured, relevant and current competencies and have access to entrepreneurial opportunities within the mechanical engineering and manufacturing environments.

    Society will be served by qualified toolmakers that not only undertake work with improved skills but are also contributing to the competitiveness of South Africa's manufacturing sector.

    The overall benefits for the economy would include efficient and effective Toolmaking competencies available to be utilised for economic growth purposes. 

    Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL):
    RPL for access to the external integrated summative assessment:
  • Accredited providers and approved workplaces must apply the internal assessment criteria specified in the related curriculum document to establish and confirm prior learning. Accredited providers and workplaces must confirm prior learning by issuing a statement of result or certifying a work experience record.

    RPL for access to the qualification:
  • Accredited providers and approved workplaces may recognise prior learning against the relevant access requirements.

    Entry Requirements:
  • Level 4 with Mathematics and Science.
  • N3 Engineering Studies with Mathematics and Engineering Science. 


    This qualification is made up of the following compulsory Knowledge, Practical Skills and Work Experience Modules:

    Knowledge Modules:
  • 652201-000-01-00-KM-01, Introduction to measurement, machining and safety, Level 2, 5 Credits.
  • 652201-000-01-00-KM-02, Principles and concepts of drawings, Level 2, 5 Credits.
  • 652201-000-01-00-KM-03, Introduction to Project management, Level 3, 6 Credits.
  • 652201-000-01-00-KM-04, Basic principles project management, Level 4, 6 Credits.
  • 652201-000-01-00-KM-05, Project management, Level 5, 12 Credits.
  • 652201-000-01-00-KM-06, Manufacturing economics, Level 4, 6 Credits.
  • 652201-000-01-00-KM-07, Enterprise Resource Planning, Level 4, 6 Credits.
  • 652201-000-01-00-KM-08, Basic Principles of plastics processing, Level 4, 6 Credits.
  • 652201-000-01-00-KM-09, Plastics processing, Level 5, 14 Credits.
  • 652201-000-01-00-KM-10, Basic principles of metal pressing, blanking and drawing processes, Level 4, 6 Credits.
  • 652201-000-01-00-KM-11, Metal pressing, blanking and drawing processes, Level 5, 14 Credits.
  • 652201-000-01-00-KM-12, Introduction to CAD, Level 4, 6 Credits.
  • 652201-000-01-00-KM-13, CAD, Level 5, 14 Credits.
  • 652201-000-01-00-KM-14, CNC Turning Theory, Level 5, 14 Credits.
  • 652201-000-01-00-KM-15, CNC Milling Theory, Level 5, 14 Credits.
    Total number of Credits for Knowledge Modules: 134.

    Practical Skill Modules:
  • 652201-000-01-00-PM-01, Implement measurement, materials and safety (MMS) requirements, Level 2, 12 Credits.
  • 652201-000-01-00-PM-02, Make a CAD 3D Model, Level 4, 5 Credits.
  • 652201-000-01-00-PM-03 Construct and simulate a CAD 3D Model assembly, Level 5, 9 Credits.
  • 652201-000-01-00-PM-04, Plan and conduct benchwork and layout activities, Level 3, 10 Credits.
  • 652201-000-01-00-PM-05, Operate a drill press, Level 4, 5 Credits.
  • 652201-000-01-00-PM-06, Perform basic turning between Centres, Level 3, 12 Credits.
  • 652201-000-01-00-PM-07, Perform advanced turning between Centres, Level 4, 15 Credits.
  • 652201-000-01-00-PM-08, Conduct basic turning chucking operations, Level 3, 10 Credits.
  • 652201-000-01-00-PM-09, Conduct advanced turning chucking operations, Level 4, 10 Credits.
  • 652201-000-01-00-PM-10, Conduct basic milling operations, Level 3, 10 Credits.
  • 652201-000-01-00-PM-11, Conduct advanced milling operations, Level 4, 10 Credits.
  • 652201-000-01-00-PM-12, Conduct basic grinding operations, Level 3, 12 Credits.
  • 652201-000-01-00-PM-13, Conduct advanced grinding operations, Level 4, 15 Credits.
  • 652201-000-01-00-PM-14, Conduct basic CNC milling operations, Level 4, 8 Credits.
  • 652201-000-01-00-PM-15, Conduct advanced CNC milling operations, Level 5, 27 Credits.
  • 652201-000-01-00-PM-16, Conduct basic CNC turning operations, Level 4, 8 Credits.
  • 652201-000-01-00-PM-17, Conduct advanced CNC turning operations, Level 5, 28 Credits.
  • 652201-000-01-00-PM-18, Operate an EDM Plunge machine, Level 5, 15 Credits.
  • 652201-000-01-00-PM-19, Operate an EDM wire erosion machine, Level 5, 15 Credits.
  • 652201-000-01-00-PM-20, Manufacture a die, Level 5, 12 Credits.
  • 652201-000-01-00-PM-21, Manufacture a Mould, Level 5, 9 Credits.
  • 652201-000-01-00-PM-22, Plan for the tool/die/mould component and assembly manufacturing cycle, Level 5, 21 Credits.
  • 652201-000-01-00-PM-23, Assess product manufacturing process and verify compliance, Level 5, 19 Credits.
    Total number of Credits for Practical Skill Modules: 297.

    Work Experience Modules:
  • 652201-000-01-00-WM-01, Workplace orientation, job planning and preparation and elementary toolmaking processes and procedures, Level 3, 5 Credits.
  • WM-02, Drill press operations, Level 4, 10 Credits.
  • 652201-000-01-00-WM-03, Procedures for turning between Centres, Level 4, 10 Credits.
  • 652201-000-01-00-WM-04, Procedures for chucking operations, Level 4, 10 Credits.
  • 652201-000-01-00-WM-05, Milling operations, Level 4, 15 Credits.
  • 652201-000-01-00-WM-06, Procedures for surface grinding operations, 4, 10 Credits.
  • 652201-000-01-00-WM-07, CNC milling operations, Level 5, 35 Credits.
  • 652201-000-01-00-WM-08, Procedures for CNC turning operations, Level 5, 35 Credits.
  • 652201-000-01-00-WM-09, EDM Plunge operations, Level 5, 35 Credits.
  • 652201-000-01-00-WM-10, EDM wire operations, Level 5, 35 Credits.
  • 652201-000-01-00-WM-11, Quality assurance processes for verification of product conformance to specifications, Level 5, 13 Credits.
  • 652201-000-01-00-WM-12, Tool production processes to meet customer needs and specifications, Level 5, 20 Credits.
    Total number of Credits for Work Experience Modules: 233. 

    1. Assist, advise and plan product development, tool design, production processes, equipment and material, including machining of tool components and assembly of tool.
    2. Assess process planning, process adjustment, quality control and inspection.
    3. Oversee and execute tool parts production processes.
    4. Assemble, dry test, debug and conduct quality assurance of the tool and related operational and maintenance processes. 

    Associated Assessment Criteria for Exit Level Outcome 1:
  • Drawings are read and interpreted with reference to projected views, materials, machining processes, tolerances, finishing, references and volumes (quantities) in accordance to specification.
  • Corrective occupational health and safety measures are developed and applied in accordance with task requirements.
  • The simulation and prototyping results are interpreted to verify and adjust tool design.
  • Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of assisting, advising and planning product development, tool design, production processes, equipment and material, including machining of tool components and assembly of a tool.

    Associated Assessment Criteria for Exit Level Outcome 2:
  • Product manufacturing process is assessed in order to verify compliance.
  • Process planning is assessed in terms of machining process, job planning, bench-work and layout.
  • Product manufacturing process and plans are verified in order to make adjustments and control quality.
  • An evaluation report is produced to ensure that the product meets required specification and certify compliance to specification.
  • Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of assessing process planning, process adjustment, quality control and inspection.

    Associated Assessment Criteria for Exit Level Outcome 3:
  • Selected materials and machines, machine tools and workstations are set up, prepared to produce tool parts.
  • Computer Aided Design Models are generated using appropriate software to specification from supplied information (concept ideas/parts/sketches).
  • Part is produced to meet drawing and design specification on advanced machines.
  • Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of overseeing and executing tool parts production processes.

    Associated Assessment Criteria for Exit Level Outcome 4:
  • Schedule and maintenance plans are developed for tools and equipment in accordance with production and engineering requirements.
  • Tool, machine and equipment service and repair are conducted to support production requirements.
  • Tool/die/mould is assembled to design specifications and quality control requirements
  • The problem/s encountered and procedures followed in repairing of the tool/die/mould are documented for quality assurance purposes and to meet production requirement/specification.
  • Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of assembling, dry testing, debugging and conducting quality assurance of the tool and related operational and maintenance processes.

    Integrated Assessment:
    Integrated Formative Assessment:
    The skills development provider will use the curriculum to guide them on the stipulated internal assessment criteria and weighting. They will also apply the scope of practical skills and applied knowledge as stipulated by the internal assessment criteria. This formative assessment leads to entrance into the integrated external summative assessment.

    Integrated Summative Assessment:
    An external integrated summative assessment, conducted through the relevant Quality Council for Trades and Occupations (QCTO) Assessment Quality Partner is required for the issuing of this qualification. The external integrated summative assessment will focus on the Exit Level Outcomes and Associated Assessment Criteria. Should recognition for completed tasks be sought the process will be done in accordance with the Trade Test Regulations. A candidate who attempted a trade test will be given recognition for those trade test tasks in which he/she has been found competent and not be retested in those tasks provided that: (1) the learner is competent in at least 50% of the trade test tasks given during the trade test and (2) the recognition will be retained by the candidate for a maximum of 3 attempts or 18-months from the date of successful completion of the trade test task whichever comes first. 

    The Toolmaker qualification and curriculum is one of many programmes to be found in the various vocational education and apprenticeship systems, for many countries in the world. Industry alignment of this trade ensures that the training content is aligned to new technological innovations, standards and competency requirements. The two best practice countries chosen for the international comparability of the qualification and part qualifications are the United States and New Zealand.

    United State of America ( USA):
    The National Institute of Metalworking Standards (NIMS) set national skill standards that help maintain consistency, quality, and transparency across industry and academic training programs and help employers measure workforce performance. The standards are the foundation of credentials that give individuals industry-certified, in-demand skills and help employers identify qualified talent. Industry skill standards benchmark what individuals need to know and perform to be successful on the job. The skill standards describe the primary knowledge, skills, and abilities in which individuals must be proficient to meet performance requirements and expectations in the workplace.

    The national skill standards are developed and validated by industry professionals representing a spectrum of sectors. The development process includes a series of national review sessions and interviews with employers and employees across industry sectors to document and validate the basic requirements for the majority of skilled positions within the industry. The NIMS standards serve as the basis for certifying individual skills. NIMS offers multiple credentials within each standard to validate a complete set of skills needed for the particular occupation and these multiple credentials are awarded at Level I, II and III.

    NIMS has developed skill standards for:
  • Computer-Aided Manufacturing (CAM).
  • CNC/NC Punch Press.
  • Diemaking.
  • Industrial Technology Maintenance (ITM).
  • Laser Cutting.
  • Machine Building.
  • Machine Maintenance.
  • Machining.
  • Metalforming.
  • Moldmaking.
  • Press Brake.
  • Screw Machining.
  • Slide Forming.
  • Stamping.

    New Zealand (NZ):
    The NZ Register Level 4 qualification (ANZSCO Skill Level 3) is the qualification that compares well with the South African Occupational Certificate: Toolmaker.

    The New Zealand qualification will ensure that the toolmaker is able to execute specific tasks such as:
  • Study drawings and specifications to determine dimensions and tolerances of articles to be manufactured and models to be constructed.
  • Measure and mark out metal stock and castings using various gauges.
  • Shape metal and wood stock using machine tools.
  • Check accuracy of manufactured articles and finished patterns to fine tolerances, using precision measuring instruments.
  • Test and modify manufactured articles.

    These tasks are pitched at skill level 3 and could lead to specialisation in:
  • Die Caster.
  • Die Sinker.
  • Jigmaker (Metal).
  • Plastic Mould Maker.
  • Press-tool Maker.

    There are differences based on the degree of integration into the educational system, the mechanisms of regulation, forms of government support for apprenticeship, and industry commitment to the system. The length of the different programmes also varies, but apprenticeship duration of 3 - 4 years appears to be average.

    The South African qualification is comparable to what is found in the chosen comparisons, in terms of what the qualification covers in terms of content, the level of skills that have to be developed and the duration of study. 

    Horizontal articulation:
  • National Certificate: N4 Engineering Studies, Level 5.

    Vertical articulation:
  • National N Diploma: Engineering Studies Level 6. 



    Qualifying for external assessment:
  • In order to qualify for an external assessment, learners must provide proof of completion of all required modules by means of a statement of results and work experience.

    Additional legal or physical entry requirements:
  • None.

    Criteria for the accreditation of providers:
  • Accreditation of providers will be done against the criteria as reflected in the relevant curriculum on the Quality Council for Trades and Occupations (QCTO) website.
  • The curriculum title and code is: Toolmaker: 652201-000-01-00.

    This qualification encompasses the following trades as recorded on the NLRD:
  • NLRD 61035, Die And Press Toolmaker.
  • NLRD 61047, Machine And Tool Setter.
  • NLRD 61088, Machine Tool Mechanician.
  • NLRD 61181, Machine Tool Millwright.
  • NLRD 61026, Machine Tool Setting.
  • NLRD 61090, Press Toolmaker.
  • NLRD 61054, Tool And Jigmaker.
  • NLRD 61031, Tool And Jigmaker.
  • NLRD 61092, Tool And Jigmaker.
  • NLRD 61025, Tool And Jigmaking.
  • NLRD 61072, Tool, Jig And Diemaker.
  • NLRD 61059, Tool, Jig And Diemaker.
  • NLRD 61106, Tooling Mechanician.
  • NLRD 61076, Toolmaker.
  • NLRD 61136, Toolmaker.
  • NLRD 61067, Roll Tool And Template Maker.
  • NLRD 61093, Tool And Die Maker.
  • NLRD 61140, Tool And Jigmaker.
  • NLRD 61045, Tool And Jigmaker.

    Assessment Quality Partner:
  • National Artisan Moderation Body.

    Derived Qualifications Registered as Part Qualifications:
    SAQA ID, Curriculum Code, Title, NQF Level, Credits
  • 652201-000-01-01, Occupational Certificate: Lathe Operator Level 3, 104 Credits.
  • 652201-000-01-02, Occupational Certificate: Milling Machine Operator, Level 3, 72 Credits.
  • 652201-000-01-03, Occupational Certificate: Surface Grinding Operator, Level 3, 80 Credits.
  • 652201-000-01-04, Occupational Certificate: CNC Milling Machinist, Level 4, 148, Credits.
  • 652201-000-01-05, Occupational Certificate: CNC Turning Machinist, Level 4, 139, Credits.
  • 652201-000-01-06, Occupational Certificate: EDM Wire Operator, Level 4, 98, Credits.
  • 652201-000-01-07, Occupational Certificate: EDM Plunge Operator, Level 4, 98, Credits.
  • 652201-000-01-08, Occupational Certificate: Manufacturing Workshop Assistant, Level 3, 58, Credits.
  • 652201-000-01-09, Occupational Certificate: Tooling Machinist, Level 5, 457, Credits.
  • 652201-000-01-10, Occupational Certificate: Tooling CAD Operator, Level 4, 67 Credits. 

    When qualifications are replaced, some (but not all) of their learning programmes are moved to the replacement qualifications. If a learning programme appears to be missing from here, please check the replaced qualification.

    This information shows the current accreditations (i.e. those not past their accreditation end dates), and is the most complete record available to SAQA as of today. Some Primary or Delegated Quality Assurance Functionaries have a lag in their recording systems for provider accreditation, in turn leading to a lag in notifying SAQA of all the providers that they have accredited to offer qualifications and unit standards, as well as any extensions to accreditation end dates. The relevant Primary or Delegated Quality Assurance Functionary should be notified if a record appears to be missing from here.

    All qualifications and part qualifications registered on the National Qualifications Framework are public property. Thus the only payment that can be made for them is for service and reproduction. It is illegal to sell this material for profit. If the material is reproduced or quoted, the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) should be acknowledged as the source.