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Foundry process operator

Foundry process operators make metal castings and parts for a range of industries.

Salary, a pound sign Salary: £15,000 to £25,000 average per year
Hours, a clock face Hours: 37 to 40 per week

1. Entry requirements

There are no set entry requirements, but you’ll need a reasonable level of fitness.

Experience in engineering, production work, or forklift truck driving could give you an advantage.

You could take a college course in engineering, but this isn’t essential.

You could also get into this job through an apprenticeship.

Tomorrow's Engineers has more information about engineering.

2. Skills required

You’ll need:

  • communication skills
  • the ability to follow instructions
  • the ability to work on a range of different tasks

3. What you'll do

You could work in a range of roles like:

  • sand mill operator – making the mixtures for moulds
  • cupola attendant (also melter or furnaceman) – controlling the furnaces that melt the metal
  • wax assembler – putting together the wax patterns used in 'investment' casting
  • ladleperson (or caster) – transferring molten metal from the furnace to the moulds
  • die caster – operating die casting machines
  • burner (also radiac operator) – removing excess metal from the castings
  • fettler – grinding surplus metal off castings with abrasive wheels
  • shot blaster – using shot blasting machinery to clean castings

4. Salary

Starter: £15,000

Experienced: £18,500

Highly Experienced: Up to £25,000

These figures are a guide.

5. Working hours, patterns and environment

You’ll usually work around 37 to 40 hours a week on a shift system, including nights and weekends.

You could work overtime.

Conditions can be hot and dusty. 

You’ll wear protective overalls, a hard hat, safety footwear, ear-plugs and goggles.

6. Career path and progression

With experience, you could progress to supervisory jobs or into more skilled foundry work, like pattern making, moulding, or coremaking.

With further training, you could move into to other areas of engineering, like welding or fabrication.

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Last updated: 08 December 2016