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Electricity Construction Craftworker

Source of Information: Next Step / DirectGov / Careers Advice Service

Engineering Construction Craftworker

The Work

Engineering construction craftworkers fit and repair machinery and equipment, on structures ranging from oil rigs to sports stadiums.

As a craftworker, you would normally specialise in one of the following areas:

  • steel erecting putting up and fixing the girders and sections that make up a structure
  • pipefitting positioning, shaping and fixing pipework in line with design plans
  • welding using a variety of methods to cut, shape and join metal plates and pipework
  • plating cutting, shaping, assembling and inspecting sheets of metal
  • mechanical fitting assembling, installing and repairing machinery
  • electrotechnical installation fitting, testing and repairing control panels, motors, valves and pumps.

You would use hand and power tools to carry out tasks, and would be expected to follow strict health and safety guidelines at all times.

Hours and Environment

You would normally work 37 to 40 hours a week, but this could vary depending on your exact job and deadlines. Overtime may be available.

On an offshore rig, you are likely to work twelve-hour shifts over a two-week period, followed by two to three weeks' shore leave.

Your workplace could range from a fabrication workshop or construction site to an offshore rig. Depending on your job, you may be away from home for weeks or months at a time. The work can be physically tough.

Skills and Interests

  • good practical ability
  • strong problem-solving skills
  • the ability to work well as part of a team and alone
  • accuracy and attention to detail
  • a reasonable level of fitness
  • good maths and IT skills
  • the ability to follow technical drawings and plans
  • a head for heights (for some jobs)
  • an awareness of health and safety.


Your main route into this career is by starting as an apprentice with an engineering or construction firm. See the ECITB website for details about apprenticeships in the engineering construction industry.

To get on to an apprenticeship, you would have to pass an interview and skills tests. You may have an advantage if you have some GCSEs (A-C), such as maths, English, science, engineering, design and technology, or equivalent qualifications like the BTEC First Certificate or Diploma in Engineering or the new  Diploma in Engineering . However, enthusiasm for the industry can be as important as having specific qualifications.

See the Engineering Construction Industry Training Board (ECITB) website for more details about this career. The Engineering Training Council has information about careers and a course database for local colleges in Northern Ireland.


You would usually train on the job for between 12 and 24 months, combining supervised work experience with class-based learning. Your training would include:

  • general engineering skills
  • health and safety
  • using and interpreting mechanical engineering drawings
  • identifying engineering materials
  • cutting and shaping metals
  • mechanical assembly.

You would take a work-based qualification like an NVQ in your specialist area, for example mechanical fitting or welding.

Visit the ECITB website for more information about qualifications and a range of work-based training programmes, including CAD design, supervisory management and maintenance planning.

Health and safety is extremely important in this job and you can find information about training providers for the Safety Passport (CCNSG - Client/Contractor National Safety Group) at


You can find opportunities throughout the UK, offshore and overseas.

With experience, you could move into a chargehand or supervisory management job. With further training you could move up to engineering technician level. See the technician roles in the Related Profiles section for more details.

You may find the following useful for job vacancies and general reading: (links open in new window)

Engineering Jobs
Engineering Jobs Network
Oil and Gas 4U

We do not accept responsibility for the content of external sites.

Annual Income

  • Starting salaries can be between 15,000 and 18,000 a year.
  • Experienced craftworkers can earn between 19,000 and 26,000.
  • Senior craftworkers can earn over 30,000.

Figures are intended as a guideline only.

Further information

If you would like to discuss your career options with a learning advisor at the Careers Advice Service advice line, call 0800 100 900 or use our online enquiry form.


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