Foundry Operatives carry out a variety of tasks to make products from metal. There are many jobs in the different stages of the work process. These include, preparing moulds, operating furnaces, dealing with molten metal and finishing work.
Also known as
- Metal Worker, Foundry
As a Foundry Operative, you will produce cast metal products, such as:
- car parts
- ships' propellers
- parts for mobile phones
- aeroplane parts
Metal is melted in a furnace and the molten metal is poured into moulds made out of sand or metal. Once the metal casting has cooled/solidified, the mould is removed.
There are a number of different jobs within the foundry industry, because there are so many different processes involved. These include:
- Sand Mill Operators, who mix the sand mixture used for moulding, or operate sand mixing machinery
- Cupola Attendants, who use the furnace where the metal is melted
- Casters, who move the molten metal from the furnace and pour it into the mould
- Machine Moulders, who operate automated or hand-operated moulding machinery
- Die Casters, who operate machines used in die casting
- Fettlers, who remove excess metal from the castings using abrasive wheels
- Wax Assemblers, who assemble wax shapes in investment casting
- Shot Blasters, who clean the castings
You may have to work in hot, noisy, and sometimes dark and dirty conditions. You might have to wear protective clothing as well.
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 Foundry Operative, you'll need:
- to work carefully and accurately, following safety procedures
- an understanding of metal
- some physical strength for any lifting and carrying
- to be able to work well with others as part of a team
Working conditions may be dusty, so the job may not be suited to you if you have allergies or conditions such as asthma.
Pay and Opportunities
The pay rates given below are approximate.
- Starting: £16,000 - £17,500
- With experience: £18,500 - £22,000
- Senior Foundry Operatives earn £23,500 - £26,500
Hours of work
Foundry Operatives usually work 39 hours a week, which may include late finishes, weekend and shift work.
Where could I work?
Employers throughout the UK are foundries, large and small.
Opportunities for Foundry Operatives occur in foundries in towns and cities throughout the UK.
Where are vacancies advertised?
Vacancies are advertised on all the major job boards, on Find a Job, and at Jobcentre Plus.
Entry Routes and Training
One route into this job is through a metal processing Intermediate Level Apprenticeship. However, you don't usually need qualifications to enter this type of work.
Training is usually provided on-the-job by experienced staff.
Progression is often to supervisory positions within a company. Some people in this job become Patternmakers following training.
Previous experience gained in metal production and fabrication would be really useful for this career.
You don't usually need qualifications to enter this job. Employers look for the kind of people who like practical work.
To get on to a relevant Intermediate Level Apprenticeship, you'll need to either have some relevant work experience, or show you can cope with a level 2 course.
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.
People often enter this job with a background of work in a similar type of industry.
Skills gained in metal production and fabrication, can be useful.
One route into this job is through a Metal Processing Intermediate Level Apprenticeship.
Apprenticeships: Get In. Go Far
National Apprenticeship Service (NAS)
Tel: 0800 015 0400
Skills Development Scotland - Modern Apprenticeships
Tel: 0800 9178000
Skills for science, engineering and manufacturing technologies
Address: 14 Upton Road, Watford, Hertfordshire WD18 0JT
Tel: 0845 6439001
Worshipful Company of Founders
Address: Founders' Hall, Number One, Cloth Fair, London EC1A 7JQ
Tel: 01273 858700