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Sheet Metal Worker Profile


This Section of the site details information that you might find useful if you are looking to secure employment or require further details regarding working as a Sheet Metal Worker. This page details the following Information:-

  • Finding Suitable Work as a Sheet Metal Worker
  • Working Duties Expected
  • Hours and Environment
  • Working Skills Required
  • Training Requirements
  • Salary Expectations
  • Trade Information
  • Other useful Sheet Metal Worker Work Information

Finding Suitable Work

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Working Duties Expected

Sheet metal workers, also known as platers, make objects from metal and prepare them for assembly or use. This could include making panels for cars, aeroplanes and ships, or components for constructions such as oil rigs.

Sheet metal workers work with thin sheets of metal for light products, while platers work with heavier, thick plates which are cut, bent and joined to form the required shapes.

They may have to follow diagrams, engineering drawings, blueprints or written instructions. They cut and shape the metal either using hand tools or machines.

Computer-controlled equipment is starting to replace or supplement these manual methods.

Hours and Environment

Sheet metal workers usually work a 37- to 39-hour basic week, which may include shifts. Overtime is very common, however, and most sheet metal workers and platers work much longer hours.

They wear protective clothing and equipment, such as ear protectors and boiler suits.

Sheet metal workers work alone or in small teams. Their workshops are usually relatively small. Platers work in workshops or on construction sites outdoors in all weather conditions. They can also work in a team with other craftspeople.

Skills and Interests

To become a sheet metal worker you should:

  • have practical hand skills for using tools and equipment
  • have a good level of concentration for cutting, welding and using tools safely and accurately
  • be numerate and have computer skills
  • be able to understand technical drawings and visualise the appearance of finished products
  • be able to work without direct supervision and to co-operate as part of a team
  • have a good level of general fitness
  • have normal eyesight (with glasses if worn)
  • preferably have good colour vision.


For a National Apprenticeship Scheme for Engineering Construction (NASEC) apprenticeship, you need GCSEs (A-C)/S grades (1-3) in maths, English and a science. If you have engineering drawing, metalwork or other practical subjects as well you may have an advantage. Applicants without the required entry grades may also be considered.Most apprentices begin training at 16 to 18, but you can join at up to 24. You will complete up to three years on-the-job training working alongside experienced sheet metal workers. The resulting qualification is an NVQ/SVQ in Engineering Production at Level 3.


Craft training as a sheet metal worker is usually on-the-job, combined with part-time study at a college or, in the case of the larger employers, in company training centres.

Foundation and Advanced Modern Apprenticeships (MAPPs) may be available for people aged 16-24.
For details see: MAPPs (England); Skillseekers MAPPs (Scotland); National Traineeships MAPPs (Wales); and MAPPs (Northern Ireland).

You will complete up to three years on-the-job training working alongside experienced sheet metal workers. The resulting qualification is an NVQ/SVQ in Engineering Production at Level 3, plus an Advanced Modern Apprenticeship Certificate.

NASEC apprentices do 20 months off-the-job training in a training centre, followed by on-the-job training on actual engineering construction sites. The resulting award is NVQ/SVQ in Engineering Construction Level 3 and an Advanced Modern Apprenticeship Certificate.


Sheet metal workers and platers work in manufacturing industries such as car, aircraft, ventilation equipment and office furniture manufacture. They also work for engineering and civil engineering companies involved in projects that require the fabrication of large metal structures, such as oil rigs and storage tanks.

Most sheet metal work is available in the Midlands, North East, South Wales, London and the South East of England.

Heavy engineering companies and bases of engineering construction companies, which employ platers, tend to be in Scotland and the north of England. There are also opportunities to work abroad.

Promotion is usually to supervisor or foreman/woman, and from there to middle management. It is possible for platers and sheet metal workers who have completed their craft training to move on to train as engineering technicians.

It is possible for sheet metal workers to start their own business.

Annual Income

The annual income section is intended as a guideline only.

Salary rates for sheet metal workers and platers can vary widely depending on the location and responsibilities.

Starting pay for trainees is around £12,000.
Experienced workers earn up to £20,000.
Skilled workers using computer-controlled equipment may earn up to £25,000.

Shift work and overtime may increase these rates considerably.

Further information

SEMTA (Science Engineering and Manufacturing Technologies Alliance) *
14 Upton Road
WD18 0JT
Tel: 0808 100 3682

NASEC Administration
Engineering Construction Industry Training Board (ECITB) *
Blue Court
Church Lane
Kings Langley
Tel: 01923 402111

The Welding Institute (TWI)
Granta Park
Great Abington
Tel: 01223 891162

National Training Organisations (NTOs) ceased to be recognised by the government on 31 March 2002. However, some are continuing to operate in their respective fields. Please contact individual NTOs with queries regarding their current status.

The Secretary of State for Education and Skills is licensing new Sector Skills Councils - charged with boosting skills and productivity in business sectors. For information about Sector Skills Councils, their roles and responsibilities, please visit the Sector Skills Development Agency website:

Other Useful Sheet Metal Worker Work Information

We have a section available at this site on Sheet Metal Worker job interview tips that you may find of interest should you wish to brush up your skills in this area and we also have number of career articles that may also be of use to you from within our guides and documents section.

Locations where we feature Jobs include:-
Aberdeen, Berkshire, Aberdeen, Bath, Bedfordshire, Berkshire, Birmingham, Bradford, Bristol, Cambridgeshire, Cardiff, Central London, Cheltenham, Cornwall, Coventry, Derby, Devon, Docklands, Dorset, Dundee, Durham, East Midlands, East Sussex, Edinburgh, Essex, Glasgow, Gloucester, Hampshire, Hertfordshire, Kent, Lancashire, Leeds, Leicester, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, Liverpool, London, Manchester, Middlesbrough, Midlands and in various parts of the West Midlands

Details of other Sheet Metal Worker Jobs can also be found in other UK wide areas including:-
Milton Keynes, Newcastle, Newcastle Upon Tyne, Norfolk, North London, North Midlands, Northampton, Northamptonshire, Northern Ireland, Northumberland, Norwich, Nottingham, Nottinghamshire, Oxford, Oxfordshire, Plymouth, Salisbury, Scotland, Sheffield, Shropshire, Somerset, South East, South London, South Midlands, Southampton, Staffordshire Surrey, Swansea, Swindon, Telford, Wales, Warwickshire, West End, West London, West Midlands, Worcestershire, York and throughout Yorkshire.

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