Guillotine Operator



OFO No: 662306





Other name for Guillotine Operator:

  • Guillotine Cutter


Youtube clip – Guillotine Operator in Action

For training options in South Africa – scroll down


What is a Guillotine Operator?

Welcome to the exciting world of print!  A Guillotine Operator (also known as a Printer’s Cutter) is the person responsible for cutting down printed documents accurately so that the final product can be made, wrapped and delivered to customers.

They will be directly responsible for the quality of the final product – if it’s cut skew, the client will not be happy.

Being a Guillotine Operator, is therefore, a very responsible job!

Here are some examples of what kind of printing they would need to cut:

  • Pages of books
  • Brochures and flyers
  • Posters
  • Folders and annual reports
  • Business stationery like cards, letterheads etc
  • Menus, display and promotional items etc

A Guillotine Operator usually works with a large, electric-powered guillotine. 

They have to be very careful and responsible when using it otherwise the large, sharp blade (which cuts through 100’s of sheets of paper at one time) could cause a terrible accident.

What does a Guillotine Operator do?

  • keeps guillotine area as clean and dust-free as possible to prevent marks appearing on printed documents
  • stacks work to be cut, neatly so that paper or card does not get bent
  • systematically measures and cuts jobs accurately
  • keeps a count of amount cut
  • re-stacks cut work neatly for packers to wrap and deliver
  • takes pride in their work

Are you … ?

  • interested in the print industry?
  • extremely accurate?
  • a neat and clean worker?
  • good at measuring?
  • able to stand for long periods at a time?
  • willing to work shift, if necessary?
  • responsible and reliable?
  • safety conscious?

How do I become a Guillotine Operator?


  • Apprenticeship
  • Trade Test


  • Learnership – CTFL Manufacturing Processes: Printing NQF Level 2, 3 and 4
  • Trade Test


  • Learnership – CNC Production Machining NQF Level 2, 3 and 4
  • Trade Test


  • National Certificate in Printing and Manufacture of Packaging (NQF Level 2, 3 and 4)
  • Trade Test


  • National Certificate: Printer/Finisher: N1, N2 and N3
  • Workplace experience
  • Trade Test

One of the ways you can become a Guillotine Operator is to contact:


Each PIFSA course is broken into 3 sections:  TT1, TT2 and TT3. The duration of each TT modules is 4 weeks (20 days) and 3 days of examinations.

A minimum of 3 trainees would be required (per Trade) for a Guillotine Operator course to commence. Should there be less than 3 individuals, they will be advised to enrol for Distance Learning (Correspondence).

Please contact your local branch for further information. 
See link for contact details:

Another way is to:

Get an unskilled job in a printing company then, if you show that you’re hard working and ambitious, the printing company may send you for training . . . AND pay for it.  It’s up to you to show some passion and dedication.


  • CLICK HERE to check for a training institution near you to see what they offer.
  • Make sure you understand their entry requirements for each course.
  • To avoid scams, make sure your institution is registered with the Department of Higher Education. 
  • CLICK HERE to check accredited Private Higher Education Institutions. 


OTHER CAREERS TO CONSIDER:  Scale Fitter … or … Refrigeration and Air-conditioning Mechanic

Is becoming an Guillotine Operator the right career choice for me?