careers welder

Welding Jobs

Welding jobs… did you know?

To weld something together means to join things up. As a welder you cut and join metals, plastics or alloys together using intense heat and gas. You’ll make the joined areas strong enough to form part of a building, car, machine or aircraft that people can trust with their lives.

Your skill with metal construction means you can work anywhere, from oil rigs and skyscrapers to offshore wind farms. The frequent need for welders means this is a super-hot opportunity to connect the career dots.

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Welding job trends

How much money can you make as a welder?

Welder: £16,000 – £35,000 (UK average)

Recent labour market information says you can earn on average between £16,000 and £35,000 a year as a welder in the UK.

Your starting salary can vary because of factors like level of experience, training, or location. Your salary as a welder will increase over time as you build skills, knowledge and experience.

What entry qualifications and training do you need for this job?

School, college and training

Although you don’t need formal qualifications to become a welder, many welders get their foot in the career door with an apprenticeship or some form of structured training, either full-time or while on the job.

You may find it easier to get work as a welder with a big employer if you can show you have a strong basic foundation in English and numbers, so around four GCSEs in grades 9-4 or A*-C (including at least one science, ideally physics) will help your progression.

A number of apprenticeship and training schemes are available in this field. A diploma in engineering could also be relevant to getting employed as a welder.

Apprenticeships

With a welding apprenticeship you’ll have a paid job with an employer that includes structured training and learning. This training leads to an official qualification that’s recognised by employers as an industry standard.

Lots of engineering, construction or manufacturing employers offer welding apprenticeships where you can train at a centre, or study at a college or training provider on day or block release while you do paid work with that employer.

You can seek out welding apprenticeships with organisations like Find an Apprenticeship.

Career progression

If you start off as a welding apprentice or junior welder, with time and experience you can become a team leader, supervisor or workshop manager.

You could also move into welding inspection, testing and quality control. You could even specialise in underwater welding if you take on commercial diver training. You would most likely use this to work on shipbuilding or offshore rigs. You might even be called in to explore new shipwreck discoveries under the sea.

What experience do you need for welding jobs?

Work experience

Aim to get relevant welding work experience to build your CV as early as you can. This can involve jobs, work experience or placements in a construction plant, factory or location where welding is carried out.

Work experience and placements can often be arranged through your training provider if you do a further education course.

What skills do you need for welding jobs?

What life and work skills do you need to be a great welder?

Useful skills to highlight to your employer when applying for a role like this include:

  • Ability to read and understand technical plans (this skill is built up with training)
  • Good concentration so you can focus on what you’re doing safely when intricate work and intense heat is involved
  • Number and measurement skills
  • Practical skills so you can operate equipment once you’re shown how
  • Technical skills – this knowledge is built up with training and experience as you learn how to choose the best welding method for each task.

Vocational qualifications and work experience will help you build these skills over time.

Start building these skills right now – sign up for free Young Professional training.

What does a welder do?

Your day-to-day job activities as a welder include choosing which type of welding process to use, out of three main processes including automatic, semi-automatic or manual welding.

With manual welding, you’ll often work alone, being quick to fix mistakes as you go, and your work will mainly be crafting or artistic work.

Automatic or semi-automatic welding is more likely to occur with big companies, big workshops and high volume production lines.

Example day-to-day job responsibilities

  • Setting out the metals, plastics or alloys you need to cut and join
  • Carrying out your welding by following engineering drawings and instructions
  • Using precision instruments to check, measure and test the cuts and joins you’ve made
  • Using semi-automatic spot-welding equipment.

Your first steps into welding jobs

To find jobs for young people in this role, search on job boards for engineering maintenance jobs with these words in the title:

  • Welding apprenticeship
  • Fabrication and welding engineering apprenticeship
  • Apprentice mechanical technician
  • Sheet metal fabrication apprentice
  • Machine controller apprenticeship

Useful organisations and links

Engineering/Manufacturing jobs you might like...

View job descriptions with average UK salary, useful qualifications and a variety of routes into this career. Or see our full list of careers in engineering and manufacturing!


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