Millwright Courses in South Africa: How to Become One and How Much You Would Earn

Millwrights are some of the most important workers in a factory or on construction sites. Their role is to install, dismantle or move heavy machinery. They have the crucial responsibility to repair and maintain big, complex machines. Becoming one takes time, dedication and hard work, but the salary is well worth it.

Millwright jobs in South Africa are difficult to get without prior qualifications. Proper education opens the door to a broad offer of well-paid positions in a wide variety of industries that include mining, recycling, food processing, and many more others.

Apply now

What qualifications do you need to become a millwright?

Manufacturing, Engineering and Related Services Sector Education and Training Authority

About the accreditation, courses & Seta


Seta Code: 2019-671202

NQF Levels: NQF 4

SAQA Code:

​97585  – Occupational Certificate

A millwright job involves plenty of manual labor, which is why it may seem rudimentary to some. However, applicants must have an extensive set of skills, training, and certifications to occupy this position.

Most employers require their millwrights to have at least a Matric and some millwright course in their resumes.

The most essential skills for a millwright include:

●Manual dexterity

●Physical strength

●Motor coordination

●Quick problem-solving capacity

●Agile decision-making ability

●Strong focus

●Attention to details

●Excellent organisation


Besides these important attributes, a millwright has to prove exceptional interpersonal skills. Working on construction sites requires clear communication and precise interpretation of job delegations.

Additionally, a millwright must have a solid knowledge of a vast variety of machinery and equipment. The ability to read blueprints and interpret welding manuals is imperative. Also, a quick learning skill will help them understand how a new machine works with minimal effort.

Applicants can acquire most, if not all of these skills through millwright online courses and apprenticeship programs.

What is a millwright’s job?

The term millwright comes from the times before the Industrial Revolution when people would rely on mills to obtain foods and other goods. Back then, millwrights were in charge of assembling and repairing the mill’s equipment.

Nowadays, millwrights have left the traditional mills and stepped into the power generation industry. As a result, you will find some of them in factories building and operating machinery. You will also encounter them in foundries and power plants where they install and dismantle special equipment.

On construction sites, millwrights would move gear and supplies from one site to another. In engine buildings, they would be taking care of dial indicators. And last, but not least, in manufacturing plants, they would maintain the good functioning of conveyor belts and assembly lines.

In all of these locations, a millwright courses will give you the skills to:

●Read and understand complex machinery manuals

●Have a set of hand tools on them at all times

●Prove excellent welding skills

●Have an outstanding control of power and precision tools

●Assemble and calibrate a wide variety of machines

●Dismantle equipment of various kinds

●Transport and store industrial machinery pieces in optimal conditions

●Inspect machinery and use advanced troubleshooting techniques

●Clean, repair and replace worn or damaged equipment

●Drive a wide range of vehicles ranging from trucks to backhoes

●Operate heavy machinery including cranes and loaders

●Read gauges, micrometers, and scales

Millwrights have to perform these tasks while wearing full safety gear that is appropriate to the job at hand. Also, they must have a solid understanding of safety procedures, hazard control, and emergency protocols regardless of their workplace.

How much do millwrights make a year?

Boasting a broad set of skills, millwrights become cornerstones of the companies that employ them. Therefore, they enjoy all the benefits of full-time contracts wherever they work. Additionally, they may also receive substantial bonus pay when a piece of crucial machinery suffers damage, and they have to come in and work on their free days.

Millwright salaries vary from one country to another. In Canada, for example, a professional in this position would earn as much as $84,000 per year depending on their experience. The entry-level annual pay is as low as $42,000, and on average millwrights make around $59,000.

In the United States, millwrights gain an average of $47,000 per year. They may also receive annual overtime pay of $9,000 at most. These figures change depending on the worker’s experience, skills and the industry in which he or she activates.

What is the difference between a millwright and a mechanic?

Quite often, people mistake millwrights for mechanics. Even employers mistake the two professions sometimes and end up giving mechanic tasks to employees with millwright qualifications and vice-versa. The results of this misunderstanding are rarely positive.

The difference between a millwright and a mechanic is in the purpose of their work. Millwrights have to work on industrial machinery in various ways. They have to operate it, transport and store it. In extreme situations, they also must know how to assemble, disassemble and repair it on the spot.

On the other hand, mechanics only need to know how to repair machinery in various industries. Their work is mostly related to maintenance, and most of the time they are only equipped with a set of hand and power tools for it.

Apply now

How much does a millwright earn in South Africa?

To work as a millwright in South Africa, you need to have all of the skills and qualifications of the above. Fortunately, you can get them after graduating from professional millwright courses that give you a comprehensive understanding of the requirements for this job.

Classroom education and fabrication courses give you a competitive advantage over other applicants. They also teach you important information on metal work, handling special equipment, assembly lines in power plants and safety work procedures.

Through hard work and commitment, you may earn a decent millwright salary in South Africa, which now averages at R127.67 per hour. In a full year, you can get between R152k and R494k only from your salary, plus a bonus that may range from R5k to R41k depending on your skills, experience and the industry of your choice.

Leave a Comment:

1 comment
Russel Neal and says September 5, 2021

I am 55 years of age and have been in construction most of my life working in workshops, refineries and power stations. I met many Millwriters, and want to be one. I don’t have money to do the courses, but hope I can find someone who will help me become a Millwriter

Add Your Reply