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Steel Erector

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

Steel Erector

The Work

Steel erectors work in the construction and engineering industries, installing and fixing together the steel girders, pipework and beams that make up the framework of buildings and structures.

As a steel erector you might work on projects of all sizes, including office developments, factory units, housing, sports stadiums and bridges. Your duties would include:

  • working out how to fit the steelwork together following engineers' instructions
  • lifting and guiding components into position with tower cranes
  • lining up and levelling steelwork before bolting or welding it in place
  • working from mobile elevated work platforms (MEWPs) to gain safe access to sections off the ground
  • working on the structure itself, at heights beyond the reach of MEWPs
  • laying down metal decking, and fixing safety netting and edge rails as you build up the structure.

You would normally work in a small team. Health and safety is very important and you would be expected to follow safe working practices at all times.

Your work would also involve dismantling steel on demolition jobs. With training, you might also carry out steel fabrication and fixing work on site.

Hours and Environment

You would normally work around 40 hours a week, Monday to Friday. Overtime at weekends may be necessary to meet deadlines.

Most of your work would be outdoors at heights and may be physically demanding. Your employer would usually provide you with personal safety equipment.

Skills and Interests


  • the ability to follow engineering instructions and plans accurately
  • a good head for heights
  • a sense of balance
  • the ability to work in a team
  • good fitness levels
  • a high level of practical skill
  • an awareness of health and safety practices.

Entry

Although there are no set entry qualifications, it would be useful when looking for work if you have GCSEs (grades A-E) in subjects like maths, English, science and technology. Equivalent work-based qualifications in construction or engineering may also be acceptable to employers.

You could get into this career through an Apprenticeship scheme with a building or engineering company. The range of Apprenticeships available in your area will depend on the local jobs market and the types of skills employers need from their workers. For more information on Apprenticeships, visit www.apprenticeships.org.uk.

You may need a driving licence to travel between jobs.

See ConstructionSkills or the Engineering Construction Industry Training Board (ECITB) for more details about steel erecting as a career.

Training

You would do most of your training on the job. You could also work towards various NVQs, including:

  • NVQ in Steelfixing Occupations Level 2
  • NVQ in Constructing Capital Plant Steel Structures (Erecting) Level 3
  • NVQ in Constructional Steelwork Site Operations Level 2 (has options in Erecting Structural Steelwork and Installing Metal Floor Decking).

The NVQs contain units on:

  • cutting and shaping steel
  • installing in-situ and/or prefabricated steel
  • using power tools
  • operating powered access equipment (mobile platforms and cherry pickers)
  • safe working practices.

A Powered Access Licence (PAL) would be useful for this kind of work. Contractors recognise it as proof that you can operate mobile elevated work platforms on site. For more information about PALs and details of training providers, see the International Powered Access Federationís (IPAF) website.

Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS)
Most construction and engineering firms now insist that you have a CSCS card or be part of related scheme to work on their sites. The card is proof of your skills and competence. To get your card you must:

  • pass a health and safety assessment
  • have a relevant NVQ (or equivalent qualification).

If you are working without qualifications, you may be able to use On-Site Assessment and Training (OSAT) or Experienced Worker Practical Assessment (EWPA) to get your NVQ and card. Contact CSCS and ECITB for further details.

Opportunities

You are likely to find most job opportunities with engineering construction companies, and steel fixing and steel erecting firms. Jobs are advertised in the local press, through Jobcentre Plus, on company websites and Directgov (Jobseekers page).

With experience, you could move into supervisory roles, or set up your own business.

Annual Income


  • Starting salaries can be between £12,000 and £16,000 a year.
  • Experienced steel erectors can earn between £19,000 and £30,000 a year.

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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