Share this page

Select an icon:

Job Photographs

  • Somebody, wearing a protective suit and face mask, is standing in a workshop, next to a little table.  They are working on a large piece of metal.

    Foundries produce metal products for ships, cars and other machines - as well as church bells!

  • A man is standing in a workshop.  He is unloading sheets of metal from a small crane.

    The moulds can be very heavy - needing to be moved by crane.

  • Two men, wearing protective clothes and face masks, are pouring molten metal into a mould, on the ground.

    Pouring molten metal into a mould. Once the metal has cooled and set, the mould can be broken away.

  • A man is standing in a cluttered workshop.  He is pouring metal into a large mould.

    Moulds and patterns are made out of materials such as clay and wood. They are then packed tight with sand. The mould is removed, leaving a hollow for the metal to be poured into.

  • Foundry Worker

  • Foundry Worker

Foundry Operative


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

Work Activities

As a Foundry Operative, you will produce cast metal products, such as:

  • car parts
  • ships' propellers
  • parts for mobile phones
  • fridges
  • 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

Entry routes

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.

Work Experience

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.

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.


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.

Further Information

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



Institute of Cast Metals Engineers (ICME)

Address: 47 Birmingham Road, West Bromwich, West Midlands B70 6PY

Tel: 0121 6016979



Careers Wales - Welsh Apprenticeships

Tel: 0800 028 4844


Croeso i Gyrfa Cymru

Dewiswch iaith


Welcome to Careers Wales

Please select your language