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Job Photographs

  • A man, wearing a blue boiler suit and a face mask, is looking at a piece of metal, to check that it has been welded correctly.

    Checking a completed weld.

  • A man, wearing a boiler suit, is reading a technical manual.  He is in a garage.

    Referring to a technical manual for a vehicle.

  • A man, wearing a blue boiler suit and a face mask, is preparing and cleaning the surface of a piece of metal, to be welded.

    Preparing and cleaning the surface to be welded.

  • A man, wearing a blue boiler suit and a face mask, is welding a piece of metal.  Sparks are coming from the welding site.

    Carrying out MIG welding.

  • A man is holding the nozzle of a weld torch.  He is wearing a blue protective suit.

    Checking the weld torch nozzle before fitting it.

  • A man, wearing a boiler suit and a face mask, is welding underneath a car.  Sparks are coming out of the welding site.  He is in a garage.

    Different positions and angles are often required for welding.

  • A man, wearing a boiler suit and a face mask, is standing in a workshop, beside a car.

    Welders need to wear protective clothing.

  • A man, wearing a boiler suit, is looking at a sheet of paper showing instructions to set up some spot welding equipment.

    Setting up spot welding equipment.

  • Welder

Welder

Introduction

Welders use intense heat to join pieces of metal together. They are responsible for preparing the metal and looking after the tools that they use.

Also known as

  • MIG Welder
  • Fabricator Welder
  • Fitter Welder

Work Activities

Welders use intense heat to join pieces of metal together. The heat melts the metal to form a liquid pool, which then solidifies as a tight join.

As a Welder, you may have to set up the pieces to be welded on a bench, workshop floor or maybe at a construction site. These may be held in position by jigs, or pre-positioned and tack welded by a Plater, Pipefitter or Sheet Metal Worker.

You could be using manual or mechanised techniques. Usually you'll use an electric arc (the bright, hot area between the electrode tip and the metal) or a gas flame to melt the metal in the joint. In manufacturing and production, electrical resistance, high energy beams (such as electron beams and lasers) or friction may be used.

You will need to carefully follow technical drawings or instructions.

Safety is vital to welding, so inspectors may check completed welds by using X-ray, ultrasonic or dye-testing techniques. If they discover cracks or other flaws, you will have to do the job again!

Being able to read, write and speak Welsh may be an advantage when you’re looking for work in Wales.

Personal Qualities and Skills

To become a Welder, you'll need:

  • good practical skills
  • to be able to work with great accuracy
  • to understand and follow technical information and diagrams
  • to be able to write reports, describing the repairs and services you have carried out
  • to understand and follow health and safety regulations
  • the ability to work under pressure and meet deadlines.
  • to be able to work as part of a team and to be able to work on your own

Pay and Opportunities

Pay

The pay rates given below are approximate.

  • Starting: £20,500 - £22,000
  • With experience: £24,000 - £28,000
  • Senior Welders earn £30,000 - £32,500

Many Welders are paid an hourly rate, usually ranging from the national minimum wage to £17 per hour.

Hours of work

Welders usually work a 39-hour week, Monday to Friday. Overtime, including Saturday working, may be available.

Where could I work?

Employers are firms in manufacturing or construction concerned with metal fabrication, in heavy engineering and related industries such as shipbuilding/repair and engineering construction.

Opportunities for Welders occur with employers throughout the UK.

Where are vacancies advertised?

Vacancies are advertised in local/national newspapers, on recruitment and employers' websites, and on Find a Job (www.gov.uk/jobsearch).

Social media websites, such as LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook, are a great way to network, find vacancies and get in contact with possible employers. Make sure that your profile presents you in a professional manner that will appeal to potential employers.

Take a look at our General Information Article 'Finding Work Online'.

Entry Routes and Training

Entry routes

You can get straight into this career as a school leaver with GCSEs. You will train on-the-job, and might be able to work towards gaining a work-based qualification, such as a:

  • National Vocational Qualification (NVQ)
  • Vocationally Related Qualification (VRQ)
  • National Vocational Qualification (NVQ).

These can form part of an Intermediate or Advanced Level Apprenticeship.

You will learn the skills and get the experience you need to become a skilled Welder.

See the subjects section, for a list of relevant GCSE subjects, that could help you to get in.

Training

If you would like some training, City & Guilds offer a qualification in welding, fabrication and thermal cutting skills. This course has a range of units, which could include:

  • Manual Metal Arc (MMA) welding
  • oxy-acetylene welding
  • metal fabrication
  • thermal cutting techniques
  • flux cored arc welding

Other courses could be available in your area.

Work Experience

Some people enter after working in other jobs that involved some welding, for example, plating.

People who want to change careers need to get the basic skills of welding before applying for employment.

A knowledge of and/or qualifications in metal work and technical drawing can be an advantage.

Progression

As a Welder, you might be able to progress to a specialist posts or to Team Leader/Supervisor positions after further training and experience.

Qualifications

To get onto an Intermediate or Advanced Level Apprenticeship, you’ll usually need five GCSEs at grade C/4 or above, possibly including English and maths.

The usual entry requirements for the Engineering Construction Industry Training Board (ECITB) Advanced Level Apprenticeship are GCSEs at grade C/4 or above, in maths, English and science or a technical subject.

However, the selection process may include aptitude tests, and more emphasis may be placed on the results of these than on your academic achievement.

Adult Opportunities

Age limits

It is illegal for any organisation to set age limits for entry to employment, education or training, unless they can show there is a real need to have these limits.

Skills/experience

Some people enter after working in other jobs that involved some welding, for example, plating.

People who want to change careers need to get the basic skills of welding before applying for employment.

A knowledge of and/or qualifications in metal work and technical drawing can be an advantage.

Courses

Evening classes are available at further education colleges, providing training in practical skills and an understanding of welding principles - you should contact local colleges or The Welding Institute (TWI) for more information. There are a number of relevant City & Guilds qualifications.

Further Information

Apprenticeships: Get In. Go Far

National Apprenticeship Service (NAS)

Tel: 0800 015 0400

Email: nationalhelpdesk@findapprenticeship.service.gov.uk

Website: www.apprenticeships.org.uk

Skills Development Scotland - Modern Apprenticeships

Tel: 0800 9178000

Email: info@skillsdevelopmentscotland.co.uk

Website: www.myworldofwork.co.uk/modernapprenticeships

City & Guilds

Address: 1 Giltspur Street, London EC1A 9DD

Tel: 020 7294 2468

Email: learnersupport@cityandguilds.com

Website: www.cityandguilds.com

CITB-ConstructionSkills

Skills for the construction industry

Address: Bircham Newton, Kings Lynn, Norfolk PE31 6RH

Website: www.cskills.org

CITB NI

Northern Ireland Enquiries

Address: Nutts Corner Training Centre, 17 Dundrod Road, Crumlin, County Antrim BT29 4SR

Tel: 028 9082 5466

Email: info@citbcsni.org.uk

Website: www.citbcsni.org.uk

Construction Employers Federation (CEF)

Irish enquiries

Address: 143 Malone Road, Belfast BT9 6SU

Tel: 028 9087 7143

Email: mail@cefni.co.uk

Website: www.cefni.co.uk

Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS)

Address: Bircham Newton, Kings Lynn, Norfolk PE31 6RH

Tel: 0844 5768777

Website: www.cscs.uk.com

bConstructive

Publisher: CITB-ConstructionSkills

Tel: 0344 994 4010

Email: myapprenticeship@citb.co.uk

Website: www.bconstructive.co.uk

Scottish Building Apprenticeship and Training Council (SBATC)

Scottish enquiries

Address: Crichton House, 4 Crichtons Close, Holyrood, Edinburgh EH8 8DT

Tel: 0131 5568866

Email: registrar@sbatc.co.uk

Website: www.sbatc.co.uk

Construction Industry Training Board (CITB)

Address: Blue Court, Church Lane, Kings Langley, Hertfordshire WD4 8JP

Tel: 01923 260000

Email: ecitb@ecitb.org.uk

Website: careers.ecitb.org.uk

TWI Training & Examination Services

Address: Granta Park, Great Abington, Cambridge CB21 6AL

Tel: 01223 899500

Email: trainexam@twi.co.uk

Website: www.twitraining.com

The Welding Institute (TWI)

Address: Granta Park, Great Abington, Cambridge CB21 6AL

Tel: 01223 899000

Email: professional@twi.co.uk

Website: www.twiprofessional.com

Careers Wales - Welsh Apprenticeships

Tel: 0800 028 4844

Website: ams.careerswales.com/

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