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Sheetmetal trades worker

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Summary of occupation

Sheet metal workers use drawings and specifications to determine materials and tools needed to fabricate various products. They work with thin sheet metal such as steel, aluminium, copper or brass. They use a variety of hand and power tools to cut, shape, bend and join the sheet metal to form the final product. They may use hammers, grinders or cutting torches to cut and shape the material; then join using bolts, rivets or welding. They may also be involved in finishing the final product by filing or polishing. Increasingly they are involved in the setting up and use of Computer Numerically Controlled (CNC) machines.

ANZSCO description: Marks out, shapes, forms and joins sheetmetal  and other materials to make products and components.
Alternative names: Boilermaker, Engineering Tradesperson - Fabrication, Metal Fabricator, Sheet Metal Worker
Specialisations: Aircraft Components, Marine Components, Metal Spinner, Sheetmetal Patternmaker
Job prospects: Average
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Knowledge, skills and attributes

A Sheet metal worker needs:

  • to be physically fit
  • good hand-eye coordination
  • to be able to handle a variety of materials, tools and machines
  • to be interested in computer programmable machinery
  • to enjoy technical activities
  • to be able to work individually and/or in a team.
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Working conditions

Sheet metal workers may work in an environment that is hot, noisy and dusty, usually in a workshop or production area. They must be safety-conscious and will usually have to wear protective clothing and equipment. They may be required to stand all day, or work in confined spaces or at heights.

Sheet metal workers work 38 hours per week; this could be normal hours or shift work. If employed by a mining company, for example in the Pilbara, they may work on a Fly In/Fly Out basis.

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Salary details

On average, sheetmetal trades workers can expect to earn between $1 000 and $1 249 per week ($52 000 and $64 999 per year), depending on the organisation they work for, and their level of experience.

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Tools and technologies

Sheet metal workers need to become proficient with hand and power tools relevant to the trade. They may also be involved in the programming, setting up and use of Computer Numerically Controlled (CNC) machines.

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Education and training/entrance requirements

To become a qualified sheetmetal trades worker, you usually need to complete an apprenticeship. The sheetmetal worker (first class) apprenticeship usually takes 48 months to complete and is available as a school-based apprenticeship.

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.

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.

Related apprenticeships

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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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