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Welder

Kaihonohono Maitai

Alternative titles for this job

Welders make, join and repair metal parts for machinery and equipment using welding techniques.

Pay

Welders usually earn

$26-$40 per hour

Welders who supervise others can earn

$40-$45 per hour

Source: Rob Law Max, 2022.

Job opportunities

Chances of getting a job as a welder are good due to a shortage of workers.

Pay

Pay for welders varies depending on experience, qualifications and skills.

  • Apprentice welders may start on training minimum wage, with their pay increasing as they gain experience and unit standards.
  • Unqualified welders usually earn between $26 and $31 an hour.
  • Qualified welders usually earn between $30 and $40 an hour.
  • Welders who supervise others can earn $40 to $45 an hour.

Sources: Rob Law Max and careers.govt.nz research, 2022.

(This information is a guide only. Find out more about the sources of our pay information)

What you will do

Welders may do some or all of the following:

  • study plans and drawings
  • cut and bend and fit steel or metal parts
  • make jigs (of wood or metal) that hold parts in place for welding
  • weld parts together
  • repair and maintain equipment and machinery
  • construct metal objects according to instructions.

Skills and knowledge

Welders need to have:

  • knowledge of metals and their properties
  • welding skills, including an understanding of different welding processes and equipment
  • ability to interpret technical drawings
  • knowledge of health and safety regulations.

Working conditions

Welders:

  • usually work regular business hours but may have to do overtime and weekend work to meet deadlines
  • work in industrial and engineering workshops, factories, and on building sites, boats or oil rigs
  • may work in dirty and noisy conditions, and may be required to work at heights.

Entry requirements

There are no specific requirements to become a welder. However, many employers prefer to hire welders who have or are working towards a qualification.

To become a qualified welder you need to complete an apprenticeship and gain a New Zealand Certificate in Engineering - Fabrication (Level 4). For this certificate, you choose to specialise in light fabrication, heavy fabrication or steel construction.

Industry training organisation Competenz oversees welding apprenticeships.

A driver licence may also be useful.

Secondary education

There are no specific secondary education requirements to become a welder. However, NCEA Level 2 maths, physics, English and technology are useful.

For Year 11 to 13 learners, trades academies and the STAR and Gateway programmes are good ways to gain relevant experience and skills.

These programmes may help you gain an apprenticeship, but do not reduce the amount of time it takes to complete it.

Personal requirements

Welders need to be:

  • practical and adaptable
  • able to make good judgments
  • accurate, with an eye for detail
  • responsible and safety-conscious
  • good at basic maths.

Useful experience

Useful experience includes:

  • welding experience
  • other mechanical engineering or construction work
  • work in an engineering workshop.

Physical requirements

Welders need:

  • to be fairly strong, as there can be some heavy lifting involved
  • to have good eyesight (with or without corrective lenses)
  • steady hands.

Find out more about training

Competenz
0800 526 1800 - info@competenz.org.nz - www.competenz.org.nz
Check out related courses

What are the chances of getting a job?

Welders in high demand

Chances of getting a job as a welder are good because:

  • many existing welders are nearing retirement age
  • not enough people are being trained to meet the demand for workers
  • trained welders are leaving New Zealand to work overseas for higher pay rates
  • New Zealand manufacturers need welders to build machinery components for export.

Welders needed for construction boom

Welder and fitter-welder appear on Immigration New Zealand's construction and infrastructure skill shortage list. This means the Government is actively encouraging skilled welders from overseas to work in New Zealand.

According to the Census, 3,048 welders worked in New Zealand in 2018.

Welders work in a variety of industries

Welders can work for businesses in a wide range of industries, including:

  • automotive engineering
  • marine construction
  • building and construction
  • machinery and equipment manufacturing
  • specialised craft and equipment making and repair.

Ten percent of welders are self-employed.

Sources

  • Book, S, 'Manufacturing Bounces Back in September', NBR, 13 October 2016.
  • Competenz website, accessed March 2017, (www.competenz.org.nz).
  • Hartley, B, engineering tutor, Southern Institute of Technology, Careers New Zealand interview, March 2017.
  • Immigration New Zealand, 'Construction and Infrastructure Skill Shortage List', 27 May 2019, (www.immigration.govt.nz).
  • Stats NZ, '2018 Census Data', 2019.

(This information is a guide only. Find out more about the sources of our job opportunities information)

Progression and specialisations

Welders may progress to set up their own welding business, or move into management, training or education roles.

They may specialise in welding roles in:

  • building and construction
  • oil and gas
  • marine construction.
A person wears protective clothing, uses welding equipment producing bright lights and sparks

Welders work in conditions that may be dirty and noisy

Last updated 9 August 2022