- Welders use specialist equipment and techniques to cut and join metalwork
- Work can be physical and in a variety of environments, including at heights
- You could specialise in technical roles like underwater welding, or move into management or quality inspection
As a welder, you'll do practical work with metals and alloys, or cutting and joining composite materials, such as plastics, using specialist welding methods. You might be repairing manufacturing equipment and machinery, cars, or helping create new products, machines or buildings.
- 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
Most welders work in the construction and engineering, transport, aerospace, or offshore oil and gas industries.
You'll need to understand technical plans, to be able to concentrate for long periods, maths and measuring skills, and technical skills like knowing how to choose the right welding method for the job.
When working, you'll need to wear protective clothing, an apron, face-shield and gloves. You might also train to 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.
You'll need to be able to concentrate for long periods, have good practical ability, good maths and measuring skills, and the ability to follow procedures and regulations.
With training you'll also learn how to understand technical plans and build up the technical skills to know how to choose the right welding method for the job.
To get started you could take a welding qualification at college before applying for a job as a trainee welder. Relevant courses include a Level 1 Award in Introductory Welding Skills, Level 2 Certificate in Fabrication and Welding Practice, or Level 3 Diploma in Fabrication and Welding Engineering Technology. Or you could take a welding course run by the Welding Institute.
You could also get into welding by doing an intermediate or advanced apprenticeship in welding or engineering manufacturing.
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.