Agriculture plays a critical role in South Africa’s economy. It is a key employer and provides food, fibre and fuel for domestic use and further production of goods and services. Agriculture is becoming increasingly mechanised to maximise production yield and keep pace with demand. Highly specialised equipment and machinery used in agricultural production requires competent and skilled operators.
Agricultural equipment operators spend majority of their time in farming fields and work long hours in peak seasons. They can also be exposed to dangerous chemical and equipment and are required to work in all types of weather conditions.
Agricultural equipment operators must have a strong understanding of how to operate and monitor heavy machinery. They need to have good physical stamina and strength, also benefitting from:
Operate tractors, combines, irrigation and other farm equipment
Attach farm implements such as sprayers to harvesters or tractors
Monitor, repair, and service farm machinery when machines malfunction
Load hoppers, containers, or conveyors to feed machines with products, using forklifts, transfer augers, suction gates, shovels, or pitchforks
Agricultural equipment operators will benefit from a National Certificate in Plant Production or Mixed Farming Systems at National Qualifications Framework Level 1 to 5 offered at Ekurhuleni Agricultural College, OTAB, Peritum Agri Institute and Petra Institute of Development. However, most training will take place on the job with mentoring by experienced operators.
Commercial farming organisations.
Private farming operations.