Welding and fabrication careers

They also carry out repairs on manufacturing equipment and machinery.

Welding roles join materials and require good practical skills.

Fabricators and platers cut, bend and prepare materials prior to welding.

Coded welders join material where safety and integrity is essential.

More theoretical roles include programming and setting of spot welding robots and structural engineering.

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What skills do I need
  • Good hand-to-eye coordination
  • Accuracy skills
  • Good concentration levels
  • Ability to work without direct supervision
  • Ability to understand plans and drawings
  • Creative approach of how to make something
  • Good maths skills to work out measurements
  • Understanding of safe working practices.
Below are Case Studies of successful people who followed this path.
Kevin Webster – Supervisor / Manufacturing Engineer
Apprenticeship > Employment

Kevin went from school onto a four year apprenticeship and worked his way up while he was learning. By the age of 21, Kevin was a Supervisor. He is always keen to carry on training believing the key to progression is ‘lifelong learning’.

Why choose this route?

Kevin chose engineering as there are a wide variety of disciplines within the sector and there are lots of opportunities to progress. Apprenticeships mean you can ‘earn and learn’ at the same time – as you get all the practical skills you need on the job. ”

What happened?

Kevin completed four years of an engineering apprenticeship after leaving school.

He has continued to train and learn all through his working life – all training has been vocational ‘learning on the job’. “I used to think that engineers built bridges – I didn’t realise all the other aspects of the sector.”

Kevin has worked for three companies in his working life including the steel industry, raw materials / manufacturing, manufacturing of military tanks and nuclear engineering.

“There are so many diverse and interesting roles in manufacturing and engineering – I have never had a day that I have been bored at work – how many people can say that?”
Mike James – Welding Inspection Engineer
Apprenticeship > Employment > Degree

Mike followed the apprenticeship route and has continued to study throughout his career. He is a highly qualified Welder and focusses now on the quality / inspection in his current role.

Why choose this route?

Mike decided to choose the apprenticeship route for financial reasons, preferring the option where he could ‘earn and learn’ at the same time as he didn’t want the financial burden of college and university fees.

What happened?

Mike left school after completing his GCSE’s and began paid employment at a fabricating company. He attained good grades and could have gone to sixth form – but preferred the idea of earning while he learnt. After starting work – the company supported Mike with an apprenticeship he completed Level 2 and 3 in Engineering as well as MIG Welding to Level 2.

After 10 years, Mike decided to expand his experience and moved to work for an aerospace company where he did further training taking him up to welding inspection level.

Mike joined NES in 2012. Tony Baldassarra, Manufacturing Process Manager, said “Mike is one of the most experienced Technician Welders we have in the company.”

In his current role, Mike has completed further training in liquid penetrant inspection and magnetic particle welding inspection. “Now my role is more of a Quality Inspector / testing role – but I started on the tools and have worked my way up.”

Mike is now doing his Open University degree.

In his previous role, Mike has also been a STEM Ambassador and feels it is critical to try and get young people engaged at a young age. “The industry needs new people coming into it and therefore this is critical.

Nuclear Engineering Services Ltd (NES Ltd) - Wolverhampton

NES Ltd employ over 300 people in Wolverhampton. They design and manufacture a diverse range of lifting, mechanical handling and fluid movement equipment used in most UK nuclear power stations and in the UK nuclear submarine fleet. These products are manufactured and assembled, and utilise many hand welded joints. These welded joints have to achieve the highest levels of quality standards and integrity to prevent radiation leakages.

Production processes and methods in the Black Country
Welding and Fabrication is one of the Black Country traditional strengths. These skills are used in a wide variety of products and Black Country companies including:- AJT Equipment Ltd, Apton Partitioning Ltd, Bilston Engineering Ltd, Coded Welding Ltd, Cutting Edge Manufacturers, Exterran, Extraction Services Ltd, GFSA Ltd, Lift Engineering Services Ltd, Metal Assemblies Ltd, The Angle Ring and United Technologies.
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