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Welder Pipe welder, MIG welder, TIG welder

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

Salary, a pound sign Salary: £16,000 to £35,000 average per year
Hours, a clock face Hours: 35 to 40 per week

1. Entry requirements

You could get into this job through an apprenticeship. You could then apply for jobs as a trainee welder.

You'll usually have to pass competency tests for the type of welding work you do. These show that your work meets welding standards (codes).

2. Skills 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

3. What you'll do

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.

4. Salary

Starter: £16,000 to £19,000

Experienced: £20,000 to £30,000

Highly Experienced: £35,000

These figures are a guide.

5. Working hours, patterns and environment

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.

6. Career path and progression

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.

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Last updated: 07 December 2016