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Steel fixer

  • Hours

    40 per week

  • Starting salary

    £16,000 + per year

If you want to use your practical skills and work as part of a team, this could be the job for you.

As a steel fixer, you would install and tie together reinforcement bars used to strengthen building and engineering projects from housing to bridges.

You will need a good level of fitness, be able to work at heights and understand the importance of health and safety.

You do not need particular formal qualifications although previous site experience and some GCSEs might help. You may also be able to get into this career through an Apprenticeship scheme.



 

The work

As a steel fixer you would fit and secure the steel bars and mesh used to make reinforcements for concrete buildings and structures.

You would work on various developments including commercial and industrial units, multi-storey housing and civil engineering projects like roadworks, tunnels and bridges. On most jobs, your tasks would include:

  • setting out the work area, following engineering plans
  • using hand and power tools to cut and bend bars or mesh
  • tying rebar (reinforcement bars) together with wire, clips or welds to build up cages or sections
  • fitting spacers and ‘chairs’ (supports)
  • fixing the formwork and shuttering used to hold setting concrete in place
  • joining cages and sections
  • fixing steel to concrete bases
  • installing beams and pre-cast slabs.

You may use hydraulic jacks and tensioning equipment to reinforce the steel before and after fixing it.

You would work closely with engineering designers, steel erectors and other construction tradespeople.


Hours

You would usually work around 40 hours a week, Monday to Friday. Overtime at weekends may be necessary to meet deadlines.

Most of your work would be outdoors and at heights, and the job can be physically demanding. Your employer would usually provide you with personal safety equipment.


Income

Starting salaries for trainees can be between £11,000 and £15,000 a year. Qualified steel fixers can earn between £16,000 and £27,000.

Fixers with supervisory duties can earn up to £30,000 a year.

Figures are intended as a guideline only.


Entry requirements

There are no set entry qualifications, although some employers may prefer you to have GCSEs (A-C) in maths, English, science and technology. Equivalent work-based qualifications in construction or engineering, or site experience, may also be accepted by employers.

You could get into this job through an Apprenticeship scheme with a building or engineering company. The range of Apprenticeships available in your area will depend on the local jobs market and the types of skills employers need from their workers. To find out more about Apprenticeships, visit the Apprenticeships website.

You may need a driving licence for travelling between jobs.

See the CITB and the Engineering Construction Industry Training Board (ECITB) for more details about careers in steel fixing.


Training and development

You would do most of your training on the job. There are also various work-based qualifications you could take, including:

  • Level 2 Diploma in Steelfixing (Construction)
  • Level 2 (NVQ) Diploma in Steelfixing Occupations (Construction).

These qualifications cover:

  • cutting and bending steel
  • positioning and installing reinforcing steel
  • making steel sections
  • health and safety.

A Powered Access Licence (PAL) could be useful for this kind of work. Contractors recognise it as proof that you can operate mobile elevated work platforms on site. For more information about PALs and details of training providers, see the International Powered Access Federation’s (IPAF) website.

Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS)

Many building contractors will want you to have a CSCS card before you can work on their sites. The card is proof of your skills and ability to carry out the job safely. To get your card, you must:

  • pass the CITB Health, Safety and Environment test
  • prove your occupational competence (by holding appropriate qualifications).

If you are working without qualifications, you may be able to use the On-site Assessment Workshop or Experienced Worker Practical Assessment (EWPA) schemes to gain a qualification and qualify for a CSCS card. See the Assessment Workshop and EWPA websites and contact CSCS in the More information section for details.


Skills, interests and qualities

As a steel fixer, you would need:

  • a good head for heights
  • excellent practical skills for using tools
  • a good level of fitness
  • good teamworking skills
  • the ability to follow engineering instructions and diagrams accurately
  • an understanding of health and safety issues.

More information

Industrial Rope Access Trade Association (IRATA) (Opens new window)
Kingsley House
Ganders Business Park
Kingsley
Bordon
Hampshire
GU35 9LU
Tel: 01420 471619
www.irata.org

International Powered Access Federation (IPAF) (Opens new window)
Head Office
Bridge End Business Village
Crooklands
Cumbria
LA7 7NU
Tel: 01539 566084
www.ipaf.org

Engineering Construction Industry Training Board (ECITB) (Opens new window)
Blue Court
Church Lane
Kings Langley
Hertfordshire
WD4 8JP
Tel: 01923 260000
www.ecitb.org.uk

Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS) (Opens new window)
Tel: 0344 994 4777
www.cscs.uk.com

CITB (Opens new window)
Tel: 0344 994 4400
www.citb.co.uk


 

Opportunities

You would find most job opportunities with engineering construction companies and steel fixing or steel erecting firms. Vacancies are advertised in the local press, through Jobcentre Plus offices, on company websites and through the Jobcentre Plus job search.

As an experienced steel fixer, you could progress to supervisory roles, or set up your own business.


 

Related industry information

Industry summary

The craft industry is part of the creative and cultural industries, represented by the Creative and Cultural Skills Sector Skills Council, which also includes: cultural heritage; design; literature; music; performing arts; and visual arts. The creative and cultural industries currently employ 678,480, people, of which 24% are based in London. There are 74,640 businesses in the creative and cultural industries, of which 87% employ less than 10 people.

The craft industry comprises individual designer makers and small businesses from a diverse range of disciplines spanning the contemporary, traditional and heritage spectrum. Designer‐made traditional and contemporary craft covers a wide range of individual disciplines including:

  • basket‐making
  • bookbinding
  • candle‐making
  • ceramics
  • fashion accessories
  • furniture
  • glass
  • jewellery
  • leather working
  • lettering and calligraphy
  • metal working
  • mosaic
  • musical instrument making
  • recycled textiles
  • stone carving
  • taxidermy
  • textiles
  • toys and automata
  • wood turning and sculpture
  • heritage and traditional crafts
  • paper crafts

Key facts:

  • There are 88,250 people working in the craft industry, of which:
    • 37% work in graphic crafts
    • 15% textiles
    • 13% jewellery
    • 8% heritage and rural crafts
    • 8% potter and ceramics
    • 7% stone
    • 5% iron and metals
    • 5% wood
    • 2% glass
    • Less than 1% taxidermist
  • There are 13,060 businesses, of which 98% employ less than 50 people.
  • Craft contributes £2.9 billion to the UK economy.
  • 37% of the craft workforce is self‐employed, 21% work part‐time.
  • Women in the industry are generally more highly qualified than men (43% have an above level 4 qualification as their highest qualification compared with 27% of men).
  • Women are likely to earn less money than men (67% of women in craft earn less than £20,000 per year, compared to 50% of men).
  • The industry is made up of a large number of makers operating in the same, small and localised market places.
  • 33% of those working in craft have at least a level 4 qualification.

Jobs in the industry include: blacksmith, engraver, gemmologist, glassmaker, hair makeup and wigs, heritage and historical skills, illustrator, joiner and cabinet maker, leatherworker, musical instrument maker, potter, sculptor, stone mason, toymaker, and woodworker.


National and regional data

Northern Ireland – There are 11,640 people working in the Northern Ireland creative and cultural sector. Craft in Northern Ireland contributes £39.9 million to the UK economy. 2% of the UK craft workforce is located in Northern Ireland. 99% of the craft workforce is white and 72% of the workforce is male. 30% of the craft workforce in Northern Ireland is self‐employed.

Scotland – There are 45,420 people working in the Scottish creative and cultural sector. 6% of the UK craft workforce is located in Scotland. Craft in Scotland contributes £131 million to the UK economy. 99% of the craft workforce is white and 63% of the workforce is male. 36% of the craft workforce in Scotland is self‐employed.

Wales – There are 24,060 people working in the Welsh creative and cultural sector. 4% of the UK craft workforce is located in Wales. Craft in Wales contributes £73 million to the UK economy. 99% of the workforce is white and 68% of the workforce is male. 36% of the Welsh craft workforce is self‐employed.

[N.B. The data for the following regions are for the creative and cultural sector as a whole.]

East Midlands – There are 44,380 people in the sector workforce in the region, representing 7% of the UK sector workforce. There are 3,950 creative businesses in the region, of which 92% employ less than 50 people. 35% of the workforce is self-employed. 63% of the workforce is male. 95% of the sector workforce is white and 54% are under 40 years.

East of England – There are 63,700 people in the sector workforce in the region, representing 9% of the UK sector workforce. There are 6,710 creative businesses in the region, of which 93% employ less than 50 people. 37% of the workforce is self-employed. 66% of the workforce is male. 95% of the sector workforce is white and 46% are under 40 years.

London – There are 164,690 people in the sector workforce in London, representing 24% of the UK sector workforce. There are 21,600 creative businesses, of which 93% employ less than 50 people. 51% of the workforce is self-employed. 58% of the workforce is male. 84% of the sector workforce is white and 56% are under 40 years.

North East – There are 19,680 people in the sector workforce in the region, representing 3% of the UK sector workforce. There are 1,330 creative businesses in the region, of which 90% employ less than 50 people. 38% of the workforce is self-employed. 63% of the workforce is male. 96% of the sector workforce is white and 53% are under 40 years.

North West – There are 59,580 people in the sector workforce in the region, representing 9% of the UK sector workforce. There are 5,660 creative businesses in the region, of which 91% employ less than 50 people. 34% of the workforce is self-employed; the majority of who are in arts and music. 62% of the workforce is male. 95% of the sector workforce is white and 55% are under 40 years.

South East – There are 98,170 people in the sector workforce in the region, representing 14% of the UK sector workforce. There are 12,300 creative businesses in the region, of which 93% employ less than 50 people. 43% of the workforce is self-employed. 59% of the workforce is male. 97% of the sector workforce is white and 47% are under 40 years.

South West – There are 60,690 people in the sector workforce in the region, representing 9% of the UK sector workforce. There are approximately 5,000 creative businesses in the region, of which 93% employ less than 50 people. 47% of the workforce is self-employed in arts, design and music. 59% of the workforce is male. 98% of the sector workforce is white and 46% are under 40 years.

West Midlands – There are 40,300 people in the sector workforce in the region, representing 6% of the UK sector workforce. There are approximately 5,000 creative businesses in the region, of which 91% employ less than 50 people. 31% of the workforce is self-employed, which is the lowest regional figure. 58% of the workforce is male. 91% of the sector workforce is white and 49% are under 40 years.

Yorkshire and the Humber – There are 45,900 people in the sector workforce in the region, representing 7% of the UK sector workforce. There are fewer than 4,000 creative businesses in the region, of which 90% employ less than 50 people. 40% of the workforce is self-employed. 60% of the workforce is male. 97% of the sector workforce is white and 53% are under 40 years.


Career paths


Further sources


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