Drafting is a popular and highly relevant career in South Africa. If it’s something you’ve been considering, here’s a breakdown of the ins and outs of a qualification in Drafting.
So, what is drafting all about? Well, a draftsman translates an engineer or architect’s initial product or construction idea into technical drawings, otherwise known as blueprints. Drafting engineers, or draftsmen, form an integral part of any manufacturing or construction process. They work on projects, ranging from buildings and bridges to home appliances and aerospace. Draftsmen have to ensure that these diagrams (and occasionally scale models) meet exact specifications so that the actual construction can be based exactly on the blueprints that the drafting engineer provides. Architectural engineering draftsmen will often be required to build physical models of the building or other construction projects.
Computer-Aided Design (CAD)
As a draftsman, you will often use computer programs to complete your technical drawings. These programs are collectively called computer-aided design (CAD). The use of CAD computer programs is essential for a successful drafting engineer. It is used to help create blueprints for almost any engineering or architectural project in both 2-D and 3-D. These computer programs are widely used throughout the world in engineering arenas. This means that the benefits of knowing CAD are not only relevant in South Africa. Learning how to use AutoCAD programs o effectively and efficiently compile accurate technical drawings, will be highly beneficial to any individual wanting to pursue a drafting career.
A drafting engineer will be required in most engineering-related projects and will be able to find a job with a design or construction engineering company. The average salary for a draftsman in South Africa is R12 000 per month, with salaries reaching as high as R29 000 per month. Certain skills can be developed to increase pay for this job, namely, proficiency in Autodesk AutoCAD. Additionally, experience has a fairly strong influence on your pay. You could even further your studies after obtaining a Higher Certificate by studying a Diploma in different Information Technology related areas and potentially even a Bachelor degree. Opportunities are plentiful as it is a set of very necessary skills that have a very broad practical application.
If you would like to pursue a drafting qualification, consider Rosebank College. Rosebank College is the brand of The Independent Institute of Education (The IIE). The IIE is registered with the Department of Higher Education and Training as a private higher education institution under the higher education act. The Higher Certificate in Construction and Engineering Drafting is accredited by Council of Higher Education (CHE) and registered by SAQA on NQF level 5 (SAQA ID No: 58666). Various accredited IIE qualifications are also offered at Rosebank College campuses.
To obtain an IIE Higher Certificate in Construction and Engineering Drafting at Rosebank College, you must complete a full-time one-year (or part-time 18 months) qualification. In this year, you will become proficient in certain subject areas that are relevant to drafting. You will learn:
- Principles of Building Construction
- Computer-Aided Drafting (AutoCAD) Introduction
- Computer – Aided Drafting (AutoCAD) Intermediate
- Basic Drawing Skills
- Introduction to Personal Computing
- Business Communication C
- Civil and Structural Drafting Skills
- Introduction to Academic and Digital LiteraciesWork Integrated Learning 1
- Work Readiness Programme Workshop 1
To pass, you must achieve a final mark of at least 50% for each of the modules throughout the year. To do this, you will have to pay very close attention to detail (as very precise and accurate measurements are required), and be able to use spatial reasoning to gain 3-D perspective. In general, a higher certificate in drafting will include these general learning areas at any reputable institution.
- To be accepted into An IIE Higher Certificate in Construction and Engineering Drafting at Rosebank College, you must meet one of the following requirements:
- A NSC with Higher Certificate admission – a minimum of 30% for English is required; OR
- A NC(V) with Higher Certificate admission – a minimum of 40% in English on either First Additional Language or Home Language level, with a minimum of 30% in either Mathematics or Mathematics Literacy, a minimum of 40% in Life Orientation and a minimum of 50% in four vocational subjects; OR
- A SC (without endorsement) or equivalent – A minimum of five subjects must be passed.
The IIE Higher Certificate in Construction and Engineering Drafting aims to equip the student with the theoretical background and practical know-how of a combination of drawing skills to enable the student to function well in a drafting office in the business environment. The qualification also aims to familiarise the student with the necessary computer literacy skills to handle computer aided drafting effectively.
Also, if you are better at practical work than theoretical and mathematical work, drafting is a good idea for you. It is diverse, dynamic and can lead you into a fulfilling and rewarding career. Studying though a reputable and established institution, such as The IIE’s Rosebank College is a good idea to advance your career a step further. Kyle has completed a drafting qualification. He shares his reasons for choosing drafting and why he thinks it is a good idea to study it:
“I chose drafting because I really enjoy working with a team of other draftsmen and engineers to complete a task or challenge. It’s great fun and feels really good when you have designed something on the computer and can see it in 3D all connecting together – then watching it being built on site. It’s really cool to see how an idea that started in someone’s head goes through all the physical stages and then can be seen in person. Having a 3D printer is a lot of fun as well, because I can draw objects in my CAD program and print a model to show the engineers before we go ahead with a full scale project.”
– Kyle Bennett
Be sure to check the accreditation of the institution through which you plan on studying a Higher Certificate in drafting. There are fake institutions offering Higher Certificates that are not accredited by the Council of Higher Education. This would mean that your qualification is not credible. Look up your institution to ensure they are who they say they are. Then, you can enjoy drafting up a storm!