A career in the metal and engineering trade offers a wide range of specialised opportunities that are hands-on, tough and often a bit greasy. Above all, this trade requires determination and grit to deliver highly accurate work in varied and often extreme working environments.
As part of National Apprenticeship Week, we're shining a light on the types of metal and engineering trade roles available in the industry and talk through the qualifications you'll need to make it in this trade – which you can gain through an Australian Apprenticeship.
Engineering specialisations are grouped into three main areas: Fabrication Engineering, Mechanical Engineering and Electrical Engineering. These areas often overlap with Electrical Trades and Mechanical Trades with some offering dual trades opportunities.
What’s a dual trade you ask? It’s when you can learn two trades at once, doubling your career opportunities and demand.
Some examples of the types of trade certificates you might complete with an engineering outcome include:
- Certificate III in Engineering – Fabrication Trade (Boilermaker)
- Certificate III in Engineering – Fabrication Trade (Sheet Metal)
- Certificate III in Engineering – Mechanical Trade (Fitting and Turning)
- Certificate III in Engineering – Mechanical Trade (Air Conditioning and Refrigeration)
- Certificate III in Engineering – Mechanical Trade (Diesel Fitting)
- Certificate III in Electrotechnology (Electrical Fitter)
- Certificate III in Mobile Plant Technology
- Certificate III in Automotive Manufacturing Technical Operations – Bus, Truck and Trailer
These are just a few of the nationally accredited qualifications in the Metal and Engineering space. There are other more specialised trade certificates that you can undertake as an Australian Apprentice, depending on the industry you work within and the materials you work with. It’s more often highly specialised work that is currently in demand across the globe.
Boilermaking is a metal fabrication trade often considered the modern-day equivalent of the blacksmith. As a Boilermaker Apprentice, you will find yourself working in a variety of environments depending on your specialisation and your employer.
Boilermakers often have the opportunity to specialise as either a Boilermaker Welder or Boilermaker Marker Off, each focusing on a specific stage of the metal fabrication process. This allows you the opportunity to work with some exciting metals across a broad cross-section of industrial, mining and manufacturing industries and makes this one of the hottest apprenticeships currently available.
Fitting and Turning Apprenticeships
Fitters and Turners manufacture, fit and assemble parts and components for a variety of machinery, working with a range of materials including plastics and metals. Specialising as a Fitter and Turner can take you places. Depending on your employer you might find yourself equipped to work as a Diesel Fitter Mechanic, Fitter Machinist, Maintenance Fitter, Services Fitter, Fitter Welder, Sewing Machine Mechanic or Bench Fitter.
Sheet Metal Apprenticeships
Sheet Metal Workers mark out, cut, shape and join ‘sheets of metal’ (hence the name) using hand and power tools, or assemble and install sheet metal products like those used in fitting out large commercial buildings with ducted temperature control systems.
There are typically two streams of specialisation for Sheet Metal apprentices to consider: First Class, who can go on to qualify as sheet metal pattern makers; and Second Class, who specialise in the operation of certain sheet metal working machinery.
Mechanical Engineering Apprenticeships
A qualified Mechanical Engineering tradesperson performs a variety of mechanical work on machinery and manufactured parts. Common mechanical engineering trades include Toolmakers and Machinists. These roles often overlap and usually work alongside each other to complement the overall work being completed. Tool Makers and Machinists play a vital role in any manufacturing workshop and can be found working in the automotive, mining, food and beverage manufacturing industries.
Did you find any of these Metal and Engineering Career options interesting? Why not start searching for Metal and Engineering Trade Apprenticeships? Click here to view our latest opportunities and apply today!