Computer-aided design (CAD) draughtspeople communicate ideas and designs using drawings that include all the technical engineering specifications which the artisans and tradesmen understand and need in order to build or manufacture the design.
Early drawings were produced using a drawing-board, paper and drawing tools. These days, the drawings are produced using very advanced computer programs (CAD programs) to communicate the dimensions, materials, and technical elements that are required to produce a wide range of products and components, from buildings to fabric. Almost everything that is manufactured or built started with an idea that was communicated using the skill of draughting; the computer, phone or tablet you’re using to view this website had to be drawn before it could be manufactured. Your desk, the chair you’re sitting on, your house, your school, the pen you’re holding… EVERYTHING has to be drawn before it can be built.
A draughtsperson’s skills are used to produce plans and technical drawings for a wide range of products and components, from buildings to fabric. They may also update and make amendments to existing CAD drawings or convert previous inked drawings into computer drawings.
such as architectural, mechanical or plant and piping manufacturing or design. Depending on their employer, they could produce drawings and designs for:
with other draughtspeople and professionals including architects, engineers, product designers and engineering designers. It is usual for each draughtsperson to work on a different part of the project.
A junior draughtsperson may work on technical drawings for components or small sections of a product or project. This can sometimes be fairly routine work with little creative input, but works towards improving their ability to visualise and improve their speed and accuracy. It is important that they have a good grounding as they may, at any stage be required to take over work, or pass on work from or to another draughtsperson.
Senior draughtspeople may have responsibility for major sections of the project or the overall design, and could have the opportunity to contribute to decisions about the project. In smaller consultancies, CAD work may be carried out by designers themselves.
Depending on the size of the company and its design section, it may be possible to progress to senior draughtsperson or team leader. Draughtspeople who do further study leading to a degree may be able to progress to positions such as architect or engineer.
CAD draughtspeople usually work between 37 and 40 hours a week, from Monday to Friday. Some employers operate shift working. Additional hours may be required at busy times. There may be some opportunities for part-time work. They are usually based in a design or drawing office, or in a design section of a larger open plan office. Locations could range from a modern office block to a factory, or to temporary offices on a construction site. They spend most of their time working at CAD workstations or PCs. A lot of concentration is required to do this job, so the environment is usually quiet. Senior draughtspeople may need to visit sites, so a driving license could be useful.
These figures are only a guide, as actual rates of pay may vary, depending on the employer and where people live. New CAD draughtspeople may start at around R70 000 a year. With more experience, this could rise to between R140000 and R300000. Senior CAD design draughtspeople may earn around R400000 or more. Self-employed or contract CAD draughtspeople may be paid an hourly, daily or at the project rate.
Skills and personal qualities that make a successful CAD Draughtsperson
A CAD draughtsperson should:
It is important to enjoy:
All manufacturing and construction companies work from designs and technical drawings, so there are opportunities for CAD draughtspeople throughout Southern Africa. Due to CAD being a universal language, CAD draughtspersons are able to work anywhere in the world. Employers include organisations involved in
Vacancies may be advertised in local newspapers, employment portals, by word of mouth through recruitment agencies and in specialist publications. Opportunities may exist for adults with a background in engineering or design. There may be opportunities to work overseas. Freelance work may also be possible, either independently or through an agency.
The qualifications required are certificates and diplomas in CAD software and Draughting. Diplomas in engineering, construction and the built environment and manufacturing and product design may be relevant for this area of work
Training may combine on-the-job training with academies such as the Academy of Inventive Design and Technology. Students work towards the NQF Level 4 qualification: National Certificate Multi-Disciplinary Drawing Office Practive N4-N5.
When they commence their training, CAD draughtspeople are encouraged to apply for membership with the South African Institute of Draughting (SAID).