Note: Completion of a TAFE SA course does not guarantee an employment outcome. Formal requirements other than educational qualifications (eg licensing, professional registration), may apply to some occupations.

Job Prospects
With the total number of people working as welders expected to grow to 82,700 by 2023 (Australia wide) there is a projected 9,400 job openings each year
Median weekly earnings: $1,541 per week
Source 2020
Boilermakers and welders both work with their hands. Boilermakers are often responsible for ongoing maintenance, upkeep, and operation of boilers or other units. Welders solely work with metal parts in a variety of applications.

A Welder is a skilled tradesperson who joins metal together or fills and repairs holes on metal constructions through the use of intense heat and gas. Welders work on all types of industrial, manufacturing, and construction applications; some even work underwater to repair oil rig foundations, ship hulls and other types of subaquatic structures. Due to the almost universal need for their skills, welders are in high demand worldwide.
  • Boilermakers are tradespeople who cut, shape, assemble and weld steel to construct and repair metal products and structures for boilers, ships, iron and steel structures and other vessels. They also test completed boilers and perform routine maintenance. Boilermakers are also often required to upgrade boilers to meet environmental standards and increase their efficiency.
    Job responsibilities of a boiler maker include:

    · analyzing blueprints

    · installing boilers

    · evaluating the performance of boiler systems

    · repairing boilers

    A welder’s primary duty is to join metal parts together. They may also fix holes in metal objects as well. They work on the metal components of various structures to include pipelines, bridges, power plants, buildings, refineries, automobiles, or ships. There is also more to welding than most people may realize. For instance, there are more than 100 different welding processes a welder can use, but the most common is arc welding.

    Job responsibilities of a welder include:

    · using electricity to generate heat

    · following safety processes for dealing with materials at high temperatures

    · inspecting welding materials

    · preventing overheating during welding

  • Workers normally enter into welder and boilermaker jobs via an apprenticeship.

    Intending boilermakers who start at apprenticeship level generally pursue a Certificate III in Engineering –Fabrication Trade. Most employees start as apprentices and are expected to gain a Certificate III or IV during their four year apprenticeship

    Welders follow a similar path to boilermakers also usually starting in the trade by taking up a four year engineering trades fabrication apprenticeship. They also are expected to gain a Certificate III in Engineering – Fabrication Trade with an emphasis on welding units.

  • These tradespersons find employment in the construction, shipbuilding, mining and oil and gas industry. Boilermakers trained in structural fabrication may be involved in fitting, assembling and joining aluminium and steel in the construction or repair of towers, bridges, structural supports, girders and ships. Welder - First Class who constructs or repairs metal products by joining parts either manually (using a variety of welding methods including electric arc, MIG and TIG welding or oxy-acetylene welding) or by machine. These parts are used to complete structures and equipment (e.g. ships, bridges, pipelines, vehicles and domestic appliances). First class welders may specialise as special class welders, welding a range of metals (e.g. mild steel, stainless steel, cast iron, aluminium, copper, brass, diecast metal and magnesium). After further assessment, first class welders may specialise as pressure welders, assembling, welding and repairing pressure vessels such as storage tanks, pipelines and gas cylinders to special test standards.

  • Using engineering drawings, Boilermakers and Welders fabricate from a flat piece of steel to create structural forms using measuring, cutting, rolling, heating, forming and welding. A Welding and Boilermaking Apprenticeship will give you the opportunity to gain hands on experience in this exciting field while you work towards a nationally recognised qualification.

  • A boilermaker performs physically demanding and high risk work and must be strong enough to move heavy vat components into place. They must have high endurance because they spend many hours on their feet while lifting heavy boiler components.

    They often work outdoors in all types of weather, including extreme heat and cold. Dams, boilers, storage tanks, and pressure vessels are usually large. Therefore, boilermakers often work at great heights. When working on a dam, for example, they may be hundreds of feet above the ground. A boilermaker can also work in smaller quarters.

    Typical Occupational Example

    Boilermaker, Metal Fabricator, Pressure Welder, Welder, Welder (first class), Fitter-welder, Plastics Fabricator or Welder, Structural Steel and Welding Trades Workers

  • Craig, a First Class boilermaker/welder and workshop manager says that among the various welding methods used, manual metal arc welding (or stick welding as its known in the industry) is a commonly used method. Arc welding involves two large metal alligator clips carrying a strong electrical current. One clip is attached to any part of the work piece (metal part) being welded while the second clip is attached to a thin welding rod. When the rod touches the metal part a powerful electrical circuit is created. Craig also recommends that people interested in this occupation demonstrate excellent hand eye coordination and that they be able to perform an ongoing high standard of work. They should also like to work with their hands and be able to concentrate on detailed work for a long period of time. According to industry representatives the demand for welders is currently strong and anticipated to remain so for several years.

    For further information, contact:

    Manufacturing Skills Australia
    Phone: 1800 358 458

    Australian Manufacturing Workers' Union (SA)
    Phone: (08) 8366 5800

    Engineering Employers Association, South Australia
    Phone: (08) 8300 0133