Welders make, join and repair metal parts for machinery and equipment using welding techniques.
Welders usually earn
$39K-$70K per year
Source: Trade Me Jobs, 2017.
Pay for welders varies depending on experience and specialisation.
- Apprentice welders may start on training minimum wage, with their pay increasing as they gain experience and unit standards.
- Welders with less than two years' experience may earn between minimum wage and $40,000 a year.
- Welders with experience usually earn between $40,000 and $70,000 a year.
Source: Trade Me Jobs Salary Guide, 2017.
- PAYE.net.nz website – use this calculator to convert pay and salary information
- Employment New Zealand website – information about minimum wage rates
(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.
- 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.
What's the job really like?
For Cam Taylor, the decision to become a welder was an easy one. "When I was at school, I always did pretty well in my engineering class. Then we had this orientation day where you go out on work experience, and I did it with a friend's dad who owned a welding business. He just so happened to offer me an apprenticeship, so I took it!"
Business owner at 23
It was a decision that paid off. At age 23 Cam owns his own engineering business, which specialises in structural welding. "I was pretty lucky with this one - not too many engineering businesses come up for sale, and because you've got to have so much equipment, it would be a massive thing to get going from scratch."
"Just go for it!"
"There's such a variety of work in welding – from beams for houses, to trailers and go-karts. Welding can be good money too, especially once you've been at it for a while."
So Cam's advice if you're thinking about welding is to: "Just go for it. It's good fun, it can take you lots of places, and you gain skills that can be transferred to heaps of different jobs."
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's licence may also be useful.
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.
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 includes:
- welding experience
- other mechanical engineering or construction work
- work in an engineering workshop.
- 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
- 0800 526 1800 - firstname.lastname@example.org - www.competenz.org.nz
What are the chances of getting a job?
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.
- 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).
- Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, '2006-2014 Occupation Data' (prepared for Careers New Zealand), 2015.
- Manning, B, 'Gloombusters: Bringing Manufacturing Home,' New Zealand Herald, 6 August 2015.
- 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.
Last updated 18 September 2020