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National Degree: Master Craftsmanship (Electrical) 
49060  National Degree: Master Craftsmanship (Electrical) 
SGB Manufacturing and Assembly Processes 
EWSETA - Energy and Water Sector Education and Training Authority  HEQSF - Higher Education Qualifications Sub-framework 
National First Degree  Field 06 - Manufacturing, Engineering and Technology  Engineering and Related Design 
Undefined  418  Level 6  Level TBA: Pre-2009 was L6  Regular-Unit Stds Based 
Passed the End Date -
Status was "Reregistered" 
SAQA 06120/18  2018-07-01  2018-12-31 
2019-12-31   2024-12-31  

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. 

Why do we need a master craftsmanship qualification?

South Africa has a critical shortage of skilled practitioners in most technical occupations. A strong cadre of master artisans and craftspeople would have a significant impact on the ability of South African industry to build on the improved financial environment and create sustainable economic growth.
Many of those who took on this role originally came from overseas in the 1960's and 1970's. This generation of technically proficient people has by now either moved on to higher positions, retired, been retrenched, or is approaching retirement age. The reduction in the number of apprentices, from approximately 25 000 per annum in 1985 to approximately 5000 in 2002, has substantially reduced the pool of skilled people. Those apprentices have also been further reduced by emigration as the result of economic conditions locally and active recruiting by overseas countries.

The decline in the number of people taking up practical and technical occupations has meant that many such functions are performed by superficially trained workers and those gravitating to the work through redeployment and retrenchment. This has resulted in a significant reduction in the quality of workmanship and levels of service. Large organisations report that up to 70% of the work being done during annual maintenance shutdowns has to be redone (so called re-work). Some component manufacturers, for instance, have found it easier to order their tooling from Portugal:
  • Delivery was quicker and more reliable.
  • The quality was better.
  • It was more cost-effective.
    The master craftsmanship series of qualifications could be used to improve those very aspects (quality, quick delivery and cost-effectiveness) to create sustainable economic activity. The qualifications would also give past and current artisans and craftspeople a way of having their skills recognized and targeted to the needs of the economy. For industry, these skills would fill the gap between engineering design and shop floor operations; and between new systems and technological concepts, and practical implementation.

    The National Training Board investigation into the apprenticeship system in 1986 revealed that the category of persons most likely to succeed in a new business start-up were artisans and craftspeople. The decline in the number of artisans and craftspeople emerging from the training system has had a significant impact on the number of people who could successfully start up new businesses to provide general or specialised practical services to the industry or the public. This in turn has had a negative impact on economic growth and ultimately on employment opportunities. A further benefit of the master craftsmanship projects would be to assist new business start-ups to have a greater chance of success.

    Experienced artisans and craftspeople also played a role in developing the next generation of people in the occupation. The apprenticeship system in its strongest form was built on the transfer of knowledge and expertise from the artisans and craftspeople to the apprentices. A further function of master craftsmanship is to transfer skills, knowledge and values. This role will support the quality assurance of apprenticeship and learnership systems, ensuring the development of people with high quality and relevant skills, knowledge and values.

    This and related qualifications will act as a framework for providers, assessors and learners to plan, implement and measure the outcomes of suitable learning programmes, or the recognition of prior learning, in this new discipline.

    The specific purpose of this qualification, the third in the series, represents the skills, knowledge and understanding required by competent practitioners to:
  • Use a high level of technical expertise to develop new products or services.
  • Understand and apply relevant theory and knowledge, Mathematics, Statistics and Drawing included.
  • Run a sustainable business unit or small enterprise.
  • Upgrade the quality of products, services and materials.
  • Transfer skills and knowledge to develop the next generation of people in that occupation.

    This qualification is conceptualised as a generic qualification that can be used for a wide range of trades and technical and service occupations. However, current SAQA regulations do not permit the registration of generic qualifications. This qualification will, therefore, initially be focused only on electrical trades and occupations. This qualification can be obtained in the context of a variety of electrical, maintenance, installation and manufacturing processes.

    This qualification together with the National Certificate and the National Diploma in Master Craftsmanship are conceptualised as an integrated set of building blocks. The credits for the National Diploma qualification are required to fulfil all the requirements for this National First Degree.

    Rationale for the qualification:

    The concept of master craftsmanship represents a career path for people involved in practical and technical occupations. While the development of the Master Craftsmanship qualifications will initially use the traditional trades as a basis, the career path is equally appropriate for a range of other occupations, both for traditional occupations as well as for new occupations emerging as the result of changing technology.
    In South Africa there was previously no formal career path for artisans and craftspeople once they had acquired the initial trade qualification. Either they:
  • Took on a managerial role via positions such as foreman or supervisor.
  • Developed their theoretical knowledge via N3 - N6 and combined that with progressively more technical roles.
  • In isolated cases they continued via national diplomas and university degrees to become engineers, or they
  • Established their own businesses.
    The proposed series of master craftsmanship qualifications combines aspects of these career options into a fully-fledged qualification pathway, allowing master craftspeople to perform a variety of roles within industry or in the economy.

    The primary roles of master artisans or craftspeople are:
    1. Custodian of technology, ie solving problems, developing solutions, developing new products or services, introducing new technology, machinery, equipment or services.
    2. Custodian of quality, ie setting and maintaining standards of service and workmanship, acting as a role model for new entrants, applying quality as a strategic objective.
    3. Manager of a sustainable small or medium company or a business unit, ie managing resources, costing, estimating, scheduling, balancing workflow.
    4. Education, training and development practitioner, ie transferring skills and knowledge, coaching, mentoring, facilitating the learning and assessing of the staff and learners or apprentices. 

    The credits and the related unit standards assume that the learner is either formally qualified in an NQF Level 5 Diploma in Master Craftsmanship or has extensive experience in the installation, repair, maintenance or manufacture of electrical equipment, components and control systems and has some experience with instrumentation. If a learner does not have such experience or qualifications, the learning time will be increased.

    Recognition of prior learning:

    This qualification may be obtained through the process of RPL. The learner should be thoroughly briefed prior to the assessment and support should be provided to assist the learner in the process of developing a portfolio. While this is primarily a work-based qualification, evidence from other areas of endeavour may be introduced if pertinent to any of the exit level outcomes. 



    The exit level outcomes for this qualification reflect a combination of specific outcomes and critical cross-field education and training outcomes. The way in which the critical outcomes have been advanced through the learning required for this qualification is embedded in the way in which the unit standards have been constructed. Critical outcomes form the basis of acquiring the skills and knowledge and values. The application of these in a specific context results in the achievement of specific outcomes. The integration of specific outcomes from a variety of unit standards results in the ability to achieve the exit level outcomes.

    1. Apply technology to the development of a new product, service or material (the master piece).
    2. Manage an enterprise or business unit, the people and the processes related to the occupation.
    3. Develop and implement strategies which respond to changing customer or market needs and issues of quality, safety, health and the environment.
    4. Develop competent practitioners in his or her occupation and in related support functions. 

  • New product, service or material is an improvement on existing solutions or a response to a new need or market opportunity.
  • Technology and technical options are evaluated and adapted to new product, service or material.
  • Performance and quality criteria are developed and the new product, service or material is designed, built or implemented and evaluated against these criteria.
  • The new product, service or material is cost effective and is marketable.

  • The enterprise or business unit is sustainable and productive.
  • All resources, including human resources, are optimally utilised.
  • The quality of the products or service is maintained or enhanced.
  • Effective systems support business and technical processes.

  • Changes in the technology and markets are evaluated and their potential impact on the business is evaluated.
  • Business is appropriately positioned and resourced in order to respond to changes or to implement growth strategies.
  • Safety, health, environmental and quality considerations form part of the organisational strategy.

  • Appropriate strategy, plans and programmes are in place to develop competent practitioners.
  • Applicable incentives and grants are accessed to support the development processes.
  • Strategies, including retention strategies, and plans reflect an analysis of scarce skills, future needs and technical and business requirements.
  • Learning process and programmes are continuously evaluated.
  • Learners are supported and nurtured.

    Integrated Assessment:

    The integrated assessment must be based on a summative assessment guide. The guide must spell out how the assessor will assess different aspects of the performance and will include:
  • Evaluating evidence in a portfolio of evidence, particularly projects which integrate various aspects of the qualification and which demonstrate the integration of all aspects of learning: fundamental and core; knowledge and skills and values; the development of the critical outcomes
  • Observing and listening to the learner at work, both in primary activities as well as in other interactions, or in relevant simulations
  • Asking questions and initiating short discussions to test understanding and to verify other evidence
  • Looking at records and reports.

    The learner may choose in which language he/she wants to be assessed. This should be established as part of a process of preparing the learner for assessment and familiarising the learner with the approach being taken.

    While this is primarily a workplace-based qualification, evidence from other areas of endeavour may be presented if pertinent to any of the exit level outcomes.

    The assessment process should cover the explicit tasks required for the qualification as well as the understanding of the concepts and principles that underpin the activities. The assessment process should also establish how the learning process has advanced the critical outcomes.

    Assessors should also evaluate evidence that the learner has been performing consistently over a period of time. 

    The best-known master qualifications are those in German-speaking countries. The master qualifications are a requirement within these countries for:
  • Opening and running a small business.
  • Training apprentices/learners.
  • Registration with local chambers of business and commerce.

    The German system is however different and there is no qualification framework like the NQF. The master qualification is a single qualification and can only be acquired based on the following:
    1. Five - eight years of practical experience in the trade.
    2. Three years of part time classes and successfully passing the examinations.
    3. The completion of a master piece.

    The master qualifications in other countries such as the United Kingdom and New Zealand focus primarily on advanced technical skills and knowledge.

    The development of these qualifications was largely based on the contextualisation of the German qualifications in South Africa. German-qualified master artisans who operate in both small and large companies in South Africa assisted in the process to ensure the qualifications would have the same value as those in German-speaking countries. 

    This qualification has been designed and structured so that qualifying learners can move from one context to another. Employers or institutions should be able to evaluate the outcomes of this qualification against the needs of their context and structure top-up learning appropriately. Equally, holders of other qualifications may be evaluated against this qualification for the purpose of RPL.

    Overview of the proposed qualifications pathway and articulation possibilities:
    NQF level----Other Specialisations
    7---Engineer-Quality assurance or Education, Training and Development, Technical sales and marketing, General management
    6--First Degree Master Craftsmanship-Engineering technologist or equivalent-
    5--Nat Diploma Master Craftsmanship-Engineering technician or equivalent-
    5--Nat Certificate Master Craftsmanship--
    4-NQF technical or supervisory qualification-NQF 4 trade--
    3-NQF 3 trade---

    Note: the actual articulation will be determined by the institutional and professional entry requirements. The articulation to engineering qualifications is being explored with the Engineering SGB but has not yet been finalised. 

    Moderators for the qualification should be qualified and accredited with an appropriate ETQA.
    To assure the quality of the assessment process, the moderation should cover the following:
  • Assessor credentials.
  • The assessment instrument.
  • The assessment process.
    Moderators should be qualified assessors in their own right. 

    The following criteria should be applied by the relevant ETQA:
    1. Appropriate qualification in the field of electrical engineering, maintenance or manufacture with a minimum of 2 years' experience in a small business environment. The subject matter expertise of the assessor can be established by recognition of prior learning.
    2. Appropriate experience and understanding of assessment theory, processes and practices.
    3. Good interpersonal skills and ability to balance the conflicting requirements of:
  • Maintaining national standards.
  • The interests of the learner.
  • The need for transformation and redressing the legacies of the past.
  • The cultural background and language of the learner.
    4. Registration as an assessor with a relevant ETQA.
    5. Any other criteria required by a relevant ETQA.

    Since this is a new field, it may be some time before there are sufficient qualified assessors. The relevant ETQAs should allow interim arrangements to be made. It is envisaged that holders of this and related qualifications will eventually form a professional association. The members of this association will then support the quality assurance and assessment processes. Assessors would then be required to be registered members of this association. 

    As per the SAQA Board decision/s at that time, this qualification was Reregistered in 2012; 2015. 


    Core  12999  Contribute to the management of costs and the enhancement of value  Level 5  Level TBA: Pre-2009 was L5  10 
    Core  15220  Set, monitor and measure the achievement of goals and objectives for a team, department or division within an organisation  Level 5  Level TBA: Pre-2009 was L5 
    Core  116784  Design, prototype, test and refine products or services  Level 6  Level TBA: Pre-2009 was L6  20 
    Core  116788  Develop and implement a manufacturing, installation or service plan  Level 6  Level TBA: Pre-2009 was L6  10 
    Core  116780  Ensure compliance with legal provisions, regulations and standards  Level 6  Level TBA: Pre-2009 was L6  12 
    Core  116792  Evaluate the financial implications of changes to sustain future growth of small or medium business or autonomous business unit  Level 6  Level TBA: Pre-2009 was L6  10 
    Core  116789  Identify a gap in the market and propose solutions  Level 6  Level TBA: Pre-2009 was L6  15 
    Core  10608  Manage a quality assurance system in a sensitive consumer product manufacturing environment  Level 6  Level TBA: Pre-2009 was L6 
    Core  10604  Manage skills, training and development within a team in a manufacturing unit  Level 6  Level TBA: Pre-2009 was L6 
    Core  7888  Monitor staff performance  Level 6  Level TBA: Pre-2009 was L6 
    Fundamental  15216  Create opportunities for innovation and lead projects to meet innovative ideas  Level 5  Level TBA: Pre-2009 was L5 
    Fundamental  15219  Develop and implement a strategy and action plans for a team, department or division  Level 5  Level TBA: Pre-2009 was L5 
    Fundamental  10049  Identify financial implications for making decisions  Level 5  Level TBA: Pre-2009 was L5 
    Fundamental  14505  Apply the principles of ethics and professionalism to a business environment  Level 6  Level TBA: Pre-2009 was L6 
    Fundamental  14510  Demonstrate knowledge and insight into the impact of HIV/AIDS on financial products, markets and the workforce  Level 6  Level TBA: Pre-2009 was L6 
    Fundamental  7887  Develop and Manage Marketing Plans and Strategies  Level 6  Level TBA: Pre-2009 was L6  12 
    Elective  12674  Perform auditing activities  Level 5  Level TBA: Pre-2009 was L5  12 
    Elective  114926  Develop plans for implementing Learnerships and Skills Programmes within a learning organisation  Level 6  Level TBA: Pre-2009 was L6 


    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.