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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

$34K-$70K per year

Source: Trade Me Jobs, 2017.

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 and specialisation.

  • Apprentice welders may start on training minimum wage, with their pay increasing as they gain experience and unit standards.
  • Those with less than two years' experience may earn between minimum wage and $37,000 a year.
  • Welders with experience usually earn between $37,000 and $70,000 a year.

Source: Trade Me Jobs Salary Guide, 2017.

(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
  • ablity 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.

What's the job really like?

Cam Taylor

Cam Taylor

Welder

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."

Entry requirements

There are no specific requirements to become a welder. However, some employers prefer you to have a qualification. 

To become a qualified welder you need to complete an apprenticeship and gain either a:

  • New Zealand Certificate in Engineering - Fabrication (Level 4), which is the new qualification 
  • or a National Certificate in Engineering - Fabrication (Level 4), which is being replaced by the New Zealand Certificate.

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.

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 students, the Gateway programme is a good way to gain industry experience.

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?

 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.

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 intervew, March 2017.
  • Immigration New Zealand, 'Construction and Infrastructure Skill Shortage List', 17 December 2018, (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.

(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 wearing protective clothing, using welding equipment producing bright lights and sparks

Welders work in dirty and noisy conditions

Last updated 16 February 2019