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Metalwork Apprenticeships (0 found)

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Helping you find a career in the Metalwork industry

Metalworking is a hugely varied career, with metalworkers working with a broad range of metals (from gold ornaments and silver jewellery, to steel girders, copper wiring and cast-iron fences), and also in a number of other industries (including construction, manufacturing, energy and even in the armed forces!).

The metalworking industry in the UK involves 11,100 companies, employs around 230,000 people, and directly contributes £10.7bn to UK’s economy. The majority of UK metalworking businesses are small, with an average of just 21 employees. The steel industry is Britain’s largest single metalworking sector, with 600 businesses employing 32,000 workers accounting for £1.6 billion in economic output in 2016. Historically the UK metalworking industry has been male-dominated, but there are now organisations such as the Women’s Engineering Society and WISE which offer support to women interested in engineering and metalworking.

Alongside variety in industry or materials, metalworkers can work in various functions within different industries: a metalworker might focus on welding, or precision tooling (using a variety of tools to precisely shape metals in order to produce parts for machinery), or designing bespoke metal products for individual customers.

Many larger employers in metalworking will offer structured apprenticeship recruitment programmes designed to give you the skills and experience to work in the industry. These can involve time spent working with metals hands-on in a foundry or on a construction site, as well as time spent studying toward a qualification in the industry. Smaller employers may offer less structure but will give you more responsibility earlier on in your career.

Metalworking is a highly-safety conscious industry, for very good reason: metalworkers will work with materials at very high temperatures (the melting-point of steel is over 1,300 degrees!), and will use large, powerful machines. Safety on site is an absolute priority for metalworkers, no matter how large or small the company or project they are working on.

Skills & interests required for a career in Metalwork
No matter which area of specialisation you choose, as a metalworker you will need to be:

  • Precise and good at basic maths (for calculating measurements, etc.)

  • Good at working on practical, hands-on problem solving

  • Able to follow, and create, technical plans

  • Responsible and capable of following rigorous safety requirements

  • Able to work to high standards of accuracy

Depending on your area of specialisation, you may also be required to have experience:

  • Working with Design software (such as CAD programs)

  • Using machinery

It may also be beneficial for aspiring metalworkers to have an interest in working with clients, understanding their requirements and being able to offer them expert guidance.
Metalwork apprenticeships & other career progress routes for school leavers
While you complete your apprenticeship in metalworking or metallurgy, you will complete either an Advanced Apprenticeship qualification (Level 3) or a Higher/Degree Apprenticeship (Level 4-6). You will complete these qualifications while you gain hands-on experience working on a construction site or in a foundry.

An entry-level apprenticeship in metallurgy offers progression to technical supervisor, consultant or manager of a multidisciplinary team of engineers and scientists. If you are looking to work in metalworking without an engineering background, there may be opportunities to start at more junior technician positions and receive on-the-job training.

Applicants looking to work with precious metals must be aware that salaried, permanent roles in metalwork design are few and far-between, with the majority of designers working independently for themselves as freelancers.
Tips for getting into the field
Book a session with your Careers Advisor to talk through your interest in metalworking or metallurgy and for details of any events or partnerships they might offer for you to get to know the sector better.
What do Metalwork professionals get paid?
While larger firms may offer metalworking apprentices an annual salary (usually £10,000 to £15,000 per annum), many smaller businesses will start apprentices off on National Minimum Wage of £3.70 per hour. Once you have completed your training you can expect a salary of between £15,000 and £22,000 per annum.
What qualifications do I need for a career in Metalwork?
Some larger employers will specify that you need at least 5 GCSEs, A-C passes, including maths and English to be eligible for an apprenticeship scheme.

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