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: Offshore Driller 
119445  Occupational Certificate: Offshore Driller 
Development Quality Partner - MQA 
-   OQSF - Occupational Qualifications Sub-framework 
Occupational Certificate  Field 06 - Manufacturing, Engineering and Technology  Engineering and Related Design 
Undefined  230  Not Applicable  NQF Level 03  Regular-ELOAC 
Registered  EXCO 0710/22  2022-08-04  2027-08-04 
2028-08-04   2031-08-04  

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 does not replace any other qualification and is not replaced by any other qualification. 

The purpose of this qualification is to prepare a learner to operate as an Offshore Driller

An Offshore Driller operates an offshore mining drilling system. Learners will be equipped with the theoretical knowledge, practical skills and workplace experience to operate an offshore mining drilling system and related operations, primarily for the offshore mining sector, the drilling systems will be on board ships, the qualifying learner will know the functioning and operating requirements for the mining drilling system and ancillary equipment, including health, safety and environmental requirements, to be able to operate the machine productively and safely in accordance with organisational requirements.

A qualified learner will be able to:
  • Carry-out shift procedures and checks.
  • Operate an offshore mining system.

    Many industry sectors use a variety of different types of drilling machines. In particular, offshore drilling mining operations are an essential part of the mining and minerals sector. The South African diamond mining sector identified the need and participated in the development of this qualification. In addition, there are similar diamond mining operations in other countries within the African Continent. Cooperation and exchange in terms of training and operations exists between South Africa and other countries. This type of mining is termed alluvial, and opportunities exist to extend the use of the same mining system for other minerals such as gold and other metals in the future.

    South African legislation, as per the Occupational Health and Safety Act and the Mine Health and Safety Act requires persons to be properly trained and assessed competent before operating machines. In terms of mining legislation, the MHSA workers who are appointed must be qualified by virtue of their knowledge, training, skills and experience to perform the activities as contemplated; and must be trained, assessed and found competent in accordance with a recognised training and development programme.

    This qualification will train and develop the qualifying learners with the knowledge, skills and experience necessary to ensure that an offshore drilling mining system is operated productively and safely, which will also improve the standard and consistency of training and assessment across all organisations leading to improved operations, productivity and safety. It will further enhance the status and employability of learners, creating a platform for access, career progression, portability and mobility. Most learners will already be employed, may be currently appointed in other positions, or may be new entrants and will continue to find employment in the sector. In addition, current employees who are already appointed as Offshore Drillers will have the opportunity for RPL and achievement of the qualification. The career progression for Offshore Drillers will be to other machine operator specialisations, senior driller, and to further occupations in "in-port" operations, including engineering or training.

    The benefits of sustained production of minerals, increased generation of revenue for the economy, greater investment in South African mines by investors and sustainable employment opportunities all impact on the mining and minerals sector, communities and the wider economy.

    The skills and understanding gained by qualifying learners will improve work standards and effectiveness and contribute to economic growth and social upliftment of employees within the sector and in the wider community; and will allow employees to gain recognition for their skills and knowledge through the recognition of prior learning and provide a basis for further learning and career development within the sector. The emphasis in the qualification on safety will enhance the safety and well-being of everyone in the sector. Qualifying learners will also develop an awareness of their role in conserving resources as well as behaving responsibly towards the environment in general, and in observing safety and legal requirements. 


    This qualification is made up of compulsory Knowledge, Practical Skill and Work Experience Modules:

    Knowledge Modules
  • 711301-004-00-KM-01, Workplace Fundamentals, Level 2, 16 Credits.
  • 711301-004-00-KM-02, Health, Safety and the Environment, Level 2, 8 Credits.
  • 711301-004-00-KM-03, Components, Controls and Consumables, Level 3, 10 Credits.
  • 711301-004-00-KM-04, Workteam Supervision, Level 3, 4 Credits.
  • 711301-004-00-KM-05, Offshore Mining Fundamentals, Level 3, 8 Credits.

    Total number of credits for Knowledge Modules: 46

    Practical Skill Modules
  • 711301-004-00-PM-01, Complete Fundamental Practical Activities, Level 2, 24 Credits.
  • 711301-004-00-PM-02, Carry out Pre-operational Activities, Level 3, 12 Credits.
  • 711301-004-00-PM-03, Operate the Mining System, Level 3, 28 Credits.

    Total number of credits for Practical Skill Modules: 64

    Work Experience Modules
  • 711301-004-00-WM-01, Operational Offshore Mining, Level 3, 120 Credits.

    Total number of credits for Work Experience Modules: 120 

    1. Conduct drilling operations, demonstrating understanding of the concepts and knowledge of the workplace and the drilling system, associated equipment operation, specifications, and standards, applying and ensuring occupational health, safety and environmental standards and procedures are met.
    2. Operate the offshore mining system and associated equipment, demonstrating understanding of the concepts and knowledge of the operation of the drilling system, procedures, performance parameters, controls and operating standards, the workplace, the mining system, associated equipment, specifications and operational standards and procedures, applying and ensuring occupational health, safety and environmental standards and procedures are met. 

    Associated Assessment Criteria for Exit Level Outcome 1:
  • Complete the pre-start, handover, start-off, end-off and post-shift procedures have been in accordance with operating requirements.
  • Carry out Operational checks according to procedures.
  • Meet all health, safety, and environmental requirements.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the purpose of all the checks.

    Associated Assessment Criteria for Exit Level Outcome 2:
  • Follow the correct procedures and sequence of operations, including rigging, working at heights and crane operations, as applicable
  • Operate the system, associated equipment and accessories using digital or analogue systems as applicable within specified limits.
  • Identify and report any defects, damage, or deviations the machine is shut down or isolated in accordance with operating requirements.
  • Complete servicing/ running maintenance as applicable.
  • Identify and report changes in environment or conditions - continuous risk assessment.
  • Control man-machine interfaces in accordance with operating requirements.
  • Ensure occupational health, safety and environmental requirements and production targets are met.
  • Compile and complete reports in accordance with operating requirements.

    Integrated Assessment:
    Integrated Formative Assessment
    The skills development providers 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 together with work experience leads to entrance into the integrated external summative assessment.

    Integrated Summative Assessment
    An external integrated summative assessment conducted through the relevant QCTO Assessment Quality Partner is required for the issuing of this qualification. The external integrated summative assessment will focus on the exit level outcome and associated assessment criteria.

    The assessment will be conducted through written assessment and the evaluation of practical tasks at decentralised approved assessment sites by a panel of assessors evaluated by assessor (s) registered with the AQP within a period of 1 day. 

    Drilling machines are used widely in the mining and construction sectors. The countries selected for comparison are Australia and New Zealand.
    Reference to offshore drilling machine operators were found in the qualifications below

    RII31915 - Certificate III in Drilling (Offshore): The certificate contains similar modules, namely:
  • Work effectively with diversity.
  • Maintain workplace safety.
  • Identify and minimise environmental hazards.
  • Communicate in the workplace.
  • Control emergencies and critical situations.
  • Operate and maintain ancillary equipment.
  • Conduct and maintain derrick operations.
  • Operate drilling fluids.
  • Maintain and monitor site quality standards.
  • Apply risk management processes and provide work skill instruction.

    The certificate III extends to the South African equivalent of NQF Level 3 Operators
    Recognised training organisations offering similar qualification include Harness and the Australian Well Control Centre with a timeframe for completion within two years.

    New Zealand
    New Zealand Certificate in Drilling (Level 4) and graduates will be qualified in the drilling environment in which they studied or trained.

    Qualified learners of this qualification will be able to:
  • Apply risk assessment procedures and workplace health and safety and environmental procedures,
  • Co-ordinate and apply emergency response,
  • Select appropriate drilling methodologies, systems and processes for specific drilling environment(s),
  • operate and monitor drilling systems and processes,
  • monitor hole condition and respond to down hole problems in a drilling environment,
  • move drill rig and associated equipment to safely meet workplace requirements,
    interpret and apply client/contract specifications to safely meet operational targets, provide mentoring and on-job training to drill crew, communicate with clients, internal staff and the general public as required to meet relevant workplace policies and procedures, lead reporting on drilling operations

    This qualification is intended to allow equivalency with RII31909 Certificate III in Drilling Offshore.
    Recognised training organisations offering similar qualification include the New Zealand Drillers Federation and MITO New Zealand (Motor Industry Training Organisation who offer training in automotive transport and logistics, drilling, mining and quarrying, gas, industrial textile fabrication, resource operations, and business skills), with a timeframe for completion within two and a half years.

    The content and complexity of the directly applicable components compare closely with this qualification and the conclusion is that the curriculum is comparable to international practice. 

    This qualification provides opportunities for horizontal and vertical articulation options.

    Horizontal Articulation:
  • Occupational Certificate: Driller (Directional Driller), NQF Level 3.
  • Occupational Certificate: Driller (Exploration Driller), NQF Level 3.

    Vertical Articulation:
  • Occupational Certificate: Manufacturing Production Process Controller, NQF Level 4.
  • Occupational Certificate: Mineral Beneficiation Process Controller (Material Handler), NQF Level 4. 

  • NOTES 
    Qualifying for External Assessment:
    To qualify for an external assessment, learners must provide proof of completion of all required modules by means of statements 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 QCTO website.

    The curriculum title and code is: Offshore Driller :711301-004-00-00 .

    Encompassed Trade:
    This qualification encompasses the following trades as recorded on the NLRD:
  • None. 


    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.