Maintenance

Welder

Welders work in different industries, cutting, shaping and joining sections of metal plate and pipes.

Annual Salary

£16,000 to £35,000

Average UK salary in 2018 was £29,588 (source Office for Statistics)

Working hours

35 to 40

What's it all about?

You'll work with metals and alloys, and cut and join composite materials, such as plastics, using specialist welding methods. You'll need an understanding of safe working practices.

Your day-to-day tasks may include:

  • setting out the materials to be cut or joined
  • following engineering instructions and drawings
  • inspecting and testing cuts and joins, using precision measuring instruments
  • operating the semi-automatic spot-welding equipment used in high volume production lines

You'll usually work in the construction and engineering, transport, aerospace and offshore oil and gas industries.

College

You could take a welding qualification at college before applying for a job as a trainee welder. Relevant courses include:

  • Level 1 Award in Introductory Welding Skills
  • Level 2 Certificate in Fabrication and Welding Practice
  • Level 3 Diploma in Fabrication and Welding Engineering Technology

You may need:

  • 2 or fewer GCSEs at grades 3 to 1 (D to G) for a level 1 course
  • 2 or more GCSEs at grades 9 to 3 (A* to D) for a level 2 course
  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) for a level 3 course

Apprenticeship

You can get into this career through an intermediate or advanced apprenticeship in welding or engineering manufacturing.

You'll usually need:

  • some GCSEs, usually including English and maths, for an intermediate apprenticeship
  • 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), including English and maths, for an advanced apprenticeship

Other Routes

You could take a course in welding techniques or inspection work through The Welding Institute. You'll normally be working in engineering to do this.

You could join The Welding Institute for professional development and training opportunities.

£16,000 to £35,000

Starter salary: £16,000 to £19,000

Experienced salary: £20,000 to £30,000

These figures are a guide.

35 to 40

38 hours a week is usual, but you may be expected to work shifts and overtime.

You might be repairing manufacturing equipment and machinery. You'll wear protective clothing, an apron, face-shield and gloves.You'll use breathing apparatus for underwater welding work or a safety harness when working at height.

You may have to work in cramped conditions or bad weather, like when making repairs underneath a ship or if working on an offshore pipeline.

With experience, you could be promoted to a supervisory role or be a workshop manager.

You could also work in welding inspection, testing and quality control or, with commercial diver training, underwater welding.

You can find out more about welding careers through the Engineering and Construction Industry Training Board and The Welding Institute.

Skills required and how your skills match up

What skills are required?

You'll need:

  • to understand technical plans
  • to be able to concentrate for long periods
  • maths and measuring skills
  • technical skills like knowing how to choose the right welding method for the job
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