Welder (first class) (Aus)

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Welder (first class) (Aus)

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Summary of occupation

Welders shape, join and repair metal parts for use in machinery and other metal products and structures. They may use any of a range of welding processes to apply heat or electrical current to the metal parts to join them together. They consult drafting designs or plans to decide on the best way to join or shape a part, clean the surface of the part they are welding, choose the appropriate weld torch nozzle or electrode for the job, and set up and operate welding equipment. They may also operate larger, computer controlled welding machinery. Welders work mostly in the manufacturing industry, but may also work in construction.

ANZSCO description:
Fabricates and repairs metal products using
 various welding techniques.
Alternative names:
Welder (NZ)
Specialisations: Special Class Welder
Job prospects: Good 
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Knowledge, skills and attributes

A welder needs:

  • manual and practical skills
  • physical fitness, strength and stamina
  • problem-solving skills
  • good hand-eye co-ordination
  • to be able to follow instructions well
  • a patient and methodical approach to their work
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Working conditions

Welders work in workshops, factories, marine fabrication and boat building yards, and a range of other industrial production and manufacturing environments. Conditions may be hot, dirty and noisy, although these spaces are usually required to be spacious and well-ventilated and lit. They often spend a significant amount of their time standing or crouching, and are often exposed to harmful light rays, corrosive chemicals or extremely hot materials. They may be required to work in confined spaces or at heights. Welders usually work regular hours, but may be required to work longer hours at times. Due to the hazardous nature of their work environment, welders are required to wear safety gear and follow strict safety guidelines. They usually work regular hours, but may be required to work longer hours at times.

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Salary details

Structural steel and welding trades workers, which include welders, can expect to earn up to $1.320* per week, depending on their level of experience and the organisation that they work for.

*ABS Census (2006)

The award wage for first class welders is $663.50 for a 38 hour week. The award wage for a junior employee under the age of 16 is $227.90, but this increases to $545.35 for those over 20 years of age. The award wage for a first year welding apprentice is $278.67, but this increases to $583.88 by the third year.*

* Wageline award rates of pay and conditions

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Tools and technologies

Welders need to be familiar with a number of different welding techniques and equipment. They may perform manual arc welding using metal rods, oxy-acetylene welding using the combustion of oxygen and acetylene, spot or seam welding using copper electrodes, and MIG and TIG welding using inert gas and tungsten inert gas respectively. They work with a number of different metals, hand tools like hammers and pliers, and a range of power tools and heavy machinery. They are also required to wear protective gear such as leather gloves or welding gauntlets, safety glasses, and welding masks or helmets.

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Education and training/entrance requirements

To become a first-class welder you usually need to complete an Engineering Tradesperson (Fabrication) - Welding apprenticeship.

As an apprentice, you enter into a formal training contract with an employer. You spend most of your time working and learning practical skills on the job and you spend some time undertaking structured training with a registered training provider. They will assess your skills and when you are competent in all areas, you will be awarded a nationally recognised qualification. Visit the ApprentiCentre to find out more. A welding apprenticeship usually takes forty two months full-time to complete.

If you are still at school
You can access a apprenticeship through your school. You generally start your school based apprenticeship by attending school three days a week, spending one day at a registered training organisation and one day at work.

Talk to your schoolʼs VET Coordinator to start your training now through VET in Schools.

If you get a full-time apprenticeship you can apply to leave school before reaching the school leaving age.

If you are no longer at school you can apply for an apprenticeship and get paid while you learn and work.

Related courses

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Apprenticeships and traineeships

As an apprentice or trainee, you enter into a formal training contract with an employer. You spend most of your time working and learning practical skills on the job and you spend some time undertaking structured training with a registered training provider of your choice. They will assess your skills and when you are competent in all areas, you will be awarded a nationally recognised qualification. Visit the ApprentiCentre to find out more.

If you are still at school you can access an apprenticeship through your school. You generally start your school based apprenticeship by attending school three days a week, spending one day at a registered training organisation and one day at work. Talk to your school's VET Co-ordinator to start your training now through VET in Schools. If you get a full-time apprenticeship you can apply to leave school before reaching the school leaving age.

If you are no longer at school you can apply for an apprenticeship or traineeship and get paid while you learn and work.

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Recognition of prior learning

If you think you already have some of the skills or competencies, obtained either through non-formal or informal learning, you may be able to gain credit through recognition of prior learning.

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