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Construction, Architecture & Maintenance

Welder

Job Description

Welders are responsible for cutting, shaping and putting together a variety of different things related to metalwork and piping. They work across industries that spread across the world and beyond, from construction to offshore oil to space travel.

The key components of welding are the splitting and joining of objects using high powered tools and the carrying out of repairs on manufacturing machinery.

You’d be expected to be able to follow engineering drawings and accurately measure different measurements in order to guarantee your work was correct and to a high standard. If using the most powerful tools in the business and taking on high levels of responsibility appeals to you, read on. 

Salary & benefits

Starting salaries for trainee welders tend to be around £16,000 to £18,000 per year, and with experience, this can rise to between £24,000 and £33,000 per year. As a specialist in a particular field, a welder could earn more than £40,000 per year.

There is more money that can be earned within the profession, however. Jobs on offshore oil and gas rigs, as well as aerospace work with companies such as NASA are extremely well-paid roles, but they are also highly sought after and places are extremely competitive. 

Working hours

As a welder, you would tend to work a standard 38 hour week, although the dangerous nature of the work means that shift work is common, and the specialist equipment can only be used for a certain amount of hours at a time.

Rotas are therefore common amongst teams and are used to make sure no-one is exposed to the dangers of the job for too long a period.  

Entry

The most obvious route into the profession is through an Engineering Apprenticeship, which usually requires five GSCEs at grades A-C, including Maths and English.

Another entry route is to take a welding qualification, which would give you many of the skills required to successfully become a welder, and would tend to be offered at a College nearby. 

Training & progression

Training is obviously compulsory with such a technical and dangerous profession, and would instruct you on important issues such as reading technical drawings, managing the tools correctly and how to carry out the tasks associated with the job.

There are several qualifications associated with the job, including NVQ Diplomas in Welding Operations and High Integrity Welding, and these may allow you to be classed as a skilled welder.

You would also have to pass competency tests for the particular faction of welding you were going to carry out, and become a part of the Welding Institute to ensure that you were classed as a trained professional in the field.