WELDER AND BOILERMAKER JOBS
Welder and boilermaker jobs fall within a larger category of workers known broadly as structural steel and welding trades workers. The term metal fabricator is also used to describe these types of jobs. Workers use metal working tools to cut out shapes, join metal segments to make machine parts and equipment or to construct large iron and steel containers. Boilermakers do specialist work on boilers, tanks, and vats that hold fluids and gases under high-pressure forces. Welder and boilermaker jobs are needed in a wide range of engineering and manufacturing sectors, including mining, construction, shipbuilding, and aviation.
PROSPECTS BOILERMAKER JOBS:
The structural steel and welding trades sector is large, employing more than 70,000 workers across Australia. Australian Tax Office data collated by OpenWage, reports that more than 26,000 workers were employed as welders, and metal fabricators (including boilermakers) were employed in more than 47,000 jobs during 2014.
Forecasts by the Department of Employment show a strong demand for workers in the structural steel and welding trades up to at least 2019. Continued strong demand for jobs is dependent upon major infrastructure projects (both public and private) occurring in the near future.
Within the twelve months up to and including November 2016, the Department of Employment detailed more than 9,400 job vacancies across the structural steel and welding trades sector. Employment opportunities for welder and boilermaker jobs look strong for the next few years.
EMPLOYMENT PROJECTIONS BOILERMAKER JOBS:
Projections from the Australian Department of Employment, 2015 to 2020. Note data is '000.
Boilermaker, Metal Fabricator, Pressure Welder, Welder, Welder (first class), Fitter-welder, Plastics Fabricator or Welder, Structural Steel and Welding Trades Workers.
The general tasks that a welder could expect to perform on a daily basis include:
Using detailed specifications or pattern templates to cut and shape metal
Joining metal parts by using welding and other fusing techniques (e.g. heat, melting and electric currents)
Repairing structural faults in equipment and machinery
Maintaining cutting and welding equipment and tools in good working condition
While acetylene torches have been (and still are) commonly used equipment by welders, technology advances now include welding tools that apply laser and ultrasound processes.
Boilermakers work with pressure vessels and containers including boilers, tanks, and vats. Boilers heat water or other liquids under high pressure to generate heat and power. Liquids including oil, chemicals, and volatile compounds are stored and processed in tanks and vats. Working in environments with these types of structures means they must be highly skilled in working with specialised equipment and understanding how to work safely in risky environments.
The general tasks that a boilermaker could expect to perform include:
Marking metal for cutting out and shaping by following technical drawings and other specifications
Using metal working tools and equipment to cut, drill, curve and twist different types of metals and other materials to specifications
Making products and parts by joining metal parts together using welding and other fusing techniques, and using bolts, rivets, and other fasteners
Assemble and install boiler systems
Maintain boilers by regularly inspecting for faults and leaks, cleaning, repairing, replacing and upgrading parts
Boilermakers use a range of hand tools including flame-cutting equipment such as acetylene torches, vices, and clamps. They also need to be skilled in using metalworking machines such as guillotines, presses, and rollers.
Highly skilled boilermakers may work on a variety of technical or infrastructure projects that extend beyond working with boilers and storage containers. These may include working with blast furnaces, at water treatment plants and with the massive pipes used in dams to generate hydroelectric power.
PAY BOILERMAKER JOBS:
Data reported by OpenWage shows an average annual salary of:
$63,000 for welders, and
An annual average salary of $77,000 for boilermakers/metal fabricators.
Pay levels vary significantly across the States for welder and boilermaker jobs. For welders, average annual wages range from $53,000 in Tasmania to $83,000 in Western Australia. Specialisations within the welding trades, however, can command more than this with fitter-welders earning an average of $75,000 per year and pressure welders making an average $98,000 per year. Boilermakers/metal fabricators start at an average annual wage of $64,000 in Tasmania and rise to an average of $95,000 in Western Australia.
Wage levels in these trades should remain substantially above the average Australian wage of $57,000 for the next few years.
QUALIFICATIONS FOR WELDERS AND BOILERMAKERS:
Workers normally enter into welder and boilermaker jobs via an apprenticeship or a school-based traineeship.
Intending boilermakers who start at traineeship level generally pursue a Certificate II in Engineering – Engineering Production (Boilermaking). Most employees start as apprentices and are expected to gain a Certificate III or IV during their four year apprenticeship. For boilermakers this is usually a Certificate III in Engineering – Fabrication Trade (Boilermaking).
Welders follow a similar path to boilermakers also usually starting in the trade by taking up a four year engineering trades fabrication apprenticeship. They also are expected to gain a Certificate III in Engineering – Fabrication Trade with an emphasis on welding units.
Both trades can upgrade their qualifications by obtaining a Certificate IV in Engineering. Details for the Metal and Engineering Training Package are available on the Department of Education and Training website. This package lists the subjects included in a Certificate III or IV qualification. Higher qualifications can be gained by completing Diploma or Advanced Diploma training.
The Workpac Group recommends training provided by Gold Training. Where Gold Training does not provide the required course, details of national and state training providers are available from the Department of Education and Training. State Government sites also provide details of trade education and training requirements, along with traineeship and apprenticeship information.
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