top of page

Should You Obtain the GCC Factories?


Table of Contents


Introduction


The Certificate of Competency as a Mechanical/Electrical Engineer (GCC Factories) is not for everyone.


The high-paying jobs that require the GCC Factories serenade many Engineers, Technicians, and Artisans from pursuing the GCC Factories.

Your GCC Factories ambitions should not be influenced predominately by the possibilities of a high-paying job. With money being your motivation, you will experience many frustrations:

  • You will struggle to meet the Department of Employment & Labour (DOL) GCC Factories entry requirements. Some Engineers, Technicians, and Artisans do not know why they are pursuing the GCC Factories. The struggle becomes apparent in the GCC Factories DOL application and rejections.

  • If you meet the DOL requirements, you will be frustrated by the GCC Factories Exam Preparation. The is a level of passion you need to have when preparing for the GCC Factories Exams. GCC Factories Exam Preparation is a tedious process that requires you to apply your mind and have the right mentality & context. The frustration becomes apparent in the low motivation to prepare for the GCC Factories Exams and continuously failing.

  • If you pass the GCC Factories Exams, you will be frustrated with getting the high-paying GMR 2.1 role that was your initial motivation. You will feel confused about why you are not getting the opportunities promised to you when you started the GCC Factories journey. The frustration becomes apparent when I start resenting the GCC Factories.


Suppose you do not want to go through all the frustration above. In that case, you need to consider these five factors before deciding if you should obtain the GCC Factories:

  • Qualification

  • Experience

  • Industry

  • Job Functions

  • Age

Now, let's discuss these five factors.

Factor 1: Qualification


Your Academic Qualification is the first important factor in deciding if the GCC Factories is something you should get.


It would help if you remembered that the Department of Employment and Labour issues the

  • Certificate of Competency as Mechanical Engineer, and

  • The Certificate of Competency as Electrical Engineer.


The GCC Factories Mechanical and GCC Factories Electrical are the familiar colloquial terms for many persons in the Industry.


The fact that the Department of Employment and Labour issues the GCC Factories in Mechanical and electrical gives you a clue on the academic qualification you should have.


Yep, you have guessed it - you need to have a mechanical or electrical engineering qualification.


The great thing about the GCC Factories is that it offers Engineers, Technicians, and Artisans the opportunity to obtain it. The eligible academic qualification for the GCC Factories are:

  • The Bachelors in mechanical or electrical engineering,

  • The National Diploma in mechanical or electrical engineering, and

  • The National Technical Diploma in mechanical or electrical engineering.


The Department of Employment and Labour does allow persons with other qualifications to apply. These are qualifications such as chemical engineering, instrumentation, and industrial engineering, amongst others.


For other qualifications, you will have to complete some mechanical/electrical modules. The DOL will advise on which modules to complete when submitting your application.


I do not usually advise persons with other qualifications to pursue the GCC Factories unless:

  • they are gaining the relevant experience,

  • working at the relevant Industry,

  • working in the relevant Job Functions, and

  • they are of a suitable Age.


One significant factor that may assist in being considered a suitable GCC Factories Candidate is the type of experience you have.


GCC Factories applicants with mechanical or electrical engineering qualifications will also need to have the correct type of experience. And this leads us to the second consideration that will help you decide if you should pursue the GCC Factories - Your Experience.


Factor 2: Experience


Securing a role as the Engineer in Charge of providing supervision of machinery in terms of the General Machinery Regulation (GMR) 2.1 should be the motivation to obtain the GCC Factories. The GMR 2.1 is the colloquial term we use to refer to the Engineer in Charge.

The requirements of the GMR 2.1 are as follows:

  • According to GMR 2.4, the GMR 2.1 must have the GCC Factories if the sum of the power generated by machinery is above 3000 kW.

  • In the case where machinery is used solely for electricity distribution - According to GMR 2.5, the GMR 2.1 must have the GCC Factories if the maximum demand over any continuous period of 30 minutes is above 10 000 kVA.

  • Alternatively, the GMR 2.1, for the above cases, must have a Bachelor's degree in Mechanical/Electrical engineering, passed the GCC Factories OHS Act Exam, and has the relevant experience for the facility in needs to supervise.


In short, you can not run away from the GCC Factories if you want to be the Engineer in Charge for facilities with ratings above 3000 kW or 10 000 kVA.


The GMR 2.1 is responsible for ensuring that the machinery at the workplace complies with the Occupational Health and Safety Act. Therefore, GMR 2.1 must ensure safe operation and maintenance of machinery.


When applying to write the GCC Factories Exams, the DOL will expect you to have some experience related to the function of the GMR 2.1. It does not mean you must have had a GMR 2.1 appointment. It means that:

  • You must have been working in the relevant Industry which operates under the auspices of the OHS Act. These are all workplaces apart from mines and marine. However, the workplace needs to be specifically a facility where the sum of the power generated by machinery is above 3000 kW, or the maximum demand is above 10 000 kVA. There are some exceptions to this rule - for example, shopping malls that only have elevators & large HVAC systems are exempt from appointing a GMR 2.1. There many other exemptions, and you should read GMR 2.10 for a complete list of exempt workplaces.

  • You must have been working in Job Functions that partially or fully cover the GMR 2.1 scope of work.


The number of years of experience you need will depend on the qualification that you have. For instance:

  • Bachelor's in engineering applicants need to have at least two years post-graduate experience in mechanical or electrical machinery maintenance and operation.

  • National diploma applicants also need to have at least two years of post-graduate experience in mechanical or electrical machinery maintenance and operation. One year of the 2-years' experience must have been in a factory.

  • National technical diploma applicant's experience depends on their trade. For example, boilermakers must have at least three years of post-apprenticeship experience. You will need to read our other article that covers the specific years of experience for different trades.


In other words, your experience in maintenance and operation needs to be in the proper Context and Industry. And this brings us to consideration number three - The Industry.


Factor 3: Industry


As I mentioned earlier, the whole intention of getting the GCC Factories is to secure a role as the Engineer in Charge (aka GMR 2.1). More specifically, you want to be the GMR 2.1 where the sum of power generated by the machinery is above 3000 kW, or the maximum demand is above 10 000 kVA.


However, complying with the General Machinery Regulations does not apply to all industries and workplaces. For instance, General Machinery Regulation 2.10 states that an employer or user of machinery is not required to appoint a GMR 2.1 for:

  • elevators,

  • escalators,

  • electrical installation in any shop or office,

  • domestic premises, and

  • HVAC systems

For the above equipment, the workplaces need to ensure that a qualified person maintains the machinery.

GMR 2.10 then excludes several businesses that may be generating power outputs close to or above 3000 kW, such as commercial buildings, retail spaces, and in certain instances, hospitals.


The industries that you need to be working at for you to consider pursuing the GCC Factories are:

  • Food & beverages,

  • Oil & energy,

  • Utilities, and

  • Manufacturing amongst others.

So, you need to be working in maintenance and operation at companies such as Ab-Indev, Coca Cola, Sasol, Engen, Eskom, Tongaat Hullet, and other similar companies. But, the job function that you have is also essential. And this takes us to our next consideration – Job Function.

Factor 4: Job Function


You could have mechanical or electrical engineering qualifications, with maintenance & operation experience in the right Industry. Still, the GCC Factories might not be the proper certification to pursue.


For example, you could be a proposals engineer, expediter, or draughtsperson. In short, these types of Job Functions will not help you gain the required experience, which could eventually lead to obtaining the GCC Factories.


So, what type of maintenance & operation work is considered appropriate? Examples of proper maintenance & operation work include:

  • Planning and executing preventative maintenance activities, e.g., vibration monitoring, oil monitoring, periodic plant visual inspections, ensuring machinery is operated within agreed parameters, etc.

  • Locating sources of problems by observing mechanical or electrical devices in operation, listening for problems, using precision measuring and testing instruments,

  • Planning and execution of removal of defective parts or machinery from the plant,

  • Carrying out quality control during the repair or manufacture of parts or machinery, and

  • Developing parts or machinery specifications, amongst many other job functions.

  • Developing, planning, implementing, and maintaining a safety management system that ensures achieving OHS Act objectives. Meaning, you must define processes, draft procedures, put control measures in place, and continuously review OHS Act performance.

So, you can consider pursuing the GCC Factories if you hold a position such as

  • maintenance engineer,

  • maintenance technician,

  • maintenance supervisor,

  • section engineer,

  • millwright, and

  • many other maintenance-type roles.

Even if you have the above roles, you must involve yourself in the relevant activities that will help you gain relevant experience.

Now, let's talk about age.


Factor 5: Age


There are two things I want to discuss when it comes to age.


Firstly, you need to be at least 23 years when applying to write the GCC Factories Exams. The age thing is usually an issue for persons who finish their qualifications and gain the right experience early in their career.


For the second part, I am going to be a little controversial. I don't think persons above 40 years who do not meet the Experience, Industry, and Job Function requirements should pursue the GCC Factories.


For example, say you are a mechanical engineer and have worked as an HVAC design engineer since you graduated until you are 40 years of age. At this point of your career, you could be occupying a very senior role and earning quite a lot.


Suppose you were to pursue the GCC Factories. In that case, you will need to take a big life-changing decision which may lead to accepting a junior role and taking a salary cut. Many 40-year-olds have families and have accustomed to a specific lifestyle. I think it is too big of a change.


What I am saying is, if you do not meet the experience, Industry, and Job Function requirements and you above 40 years, please consider other options. For example, you can consider getting your professional registration with ECSA or getting your PMP and pursue the project management route.


Conclusion


So, should you get your GCC Factories?


I will say yes. You must get it if:

  • Qualification: you have a mechanical or electrical engineering qualification.

  • Experience: you work in or are planning to work in maintenance and operation

  • Industry: you work in or are planning to work for employers such as Ab-Indev, Coca Cola, Sasol, Engen, Eskom, Tongaat Hullet, and other similar companies

  • Job Function: The job function you work in or plan to work in includes core maintenance and operation outputs.

  • Age: you will be at least 23 years of age when submitting your application to write the GCC Factories exams. And you are less than 40 years of age and meet the Qualification, Experience, Industry, and Job Function requirements.


____


Are you preparing for your GCC Factories Exams?

Check out our industry-leading GCC Factories Study Material that has been helping GCC Factories Candidates pass the Plant Engineering & OHS Act Exams since 2017.


Looking for a course?

No worries, check out our industry-first GCC Factories Exam Preparation Accelerator which has been helping GCC Factories Candidates pass the Plant Engineering & OHS Act Exams since 2019.


Recent Posts

See All

Comments


bottom of page