Welders are skilled workers who cut, shape and join metal and pipework in a range of industries. They also carry out repairs on manufacturing equipment and machinery. Welders are frequently employed in the construction, engineering, transport, aeropspace and oil and gas industry sectors.
Welding is precision work – you will need to understand technical plans and have good mathematical skills. The ability to solve problems is required to identify and repair flaws in existing metal structures. You need good hand-to-eye coordination and vision. The metal pieces are often heavy so strength and stamina are also required.
Entry requirements and training
Most training would be work-based (most commonly apprenticeship) and cover topics such as reading technical drawings, how to select the right tools for the job and learning the different welding methods relevant to the industry or application that you will be working in. Qualifications include Level 2 NVQ in performing engineering operations, Level 3 NVQ in fabrication and welding engineering, Level 3 diploma in engineering technology, Level 3 diploma in high integrity welding.
Courses in mechanical drawing, physics, chemistry and metallurgy are also useful if you want to become a welder. For jobs involving the use of automated welding machines and lasers, knowledge of computers is important. Although the machines do the welding, the operator must understand welding processes to properly program job instructions.