Working with metals, fabricators make everything from steel parts to structures that are used anywhere - from a kitchen sink to a skyscraper.

Careers information

What does it involve?

Fabricators (or sheet metal workers, boiler makers, steel construction workers, and fitter-welders) all need to be trained in a common foundation of engineering and fabrication skills.

Not all fabricators are alike, there are specialised ‘strands’ of training are available depending on the type of work you are likely to do. 


Heavy Fabricators work with heavier gauge plate, sections, and pipes, to produce a wide variety of products including, truck and trailers, earthmoving machinery, manufacturing equipment.

Light Fabricators typically work with sheet metals and lighter gauge plate, sections, and pipes to produce a large variety of metal products used commercially and in private such as dairy equipment, architectural fixtures, and balustrading.

Steel Construction training is for fabricators who manufacture and install structural steel components for buildings and civil engineering projects such as warehouses and stadiums.

Typical day

Normally an 8-hour day; sometimes working longer may be required.

Fabrication work is varied and can include;

  • working with metals to create specific products;
  • working from design engineer’s drawings;
  • measuring, cutting, bending and welding metals; and
  • testing the finished products.

Training is tailored to the type of work you do; Heavy Fabrication, Light Fabrication or Steel Construction.

How could I get into the industry

Does this sound like you?

Study areas

Attributes Helpful experience Preferred work environments
  • English or Media Studies or History
  • Maths or Accounting or Economics 
  • Sciences or Workshop Technologies
  • Computing / ICT / Information Management
  • Good at precision work
  • Good literacy and numeracy
  • Good organisational skills
  • Good work habits/time management
  • Making or fixing things
  • Working with machinery
  • Working with computers
  • Inside (workshop or plant)
  • Outside (outdoors)
  • Different places from time to time

How much could I earn?

  • 2 years experience

    $42k- $52k

  • 5 years experience

    $53k- $80k

Career pathway

School Entry level jobs Advancing jobs Senior jobs

Ideally, NCEA Level 2 passes in:

  • Maths
  • Science (Physics)
  • Technology (Metal Work)
  • English
  • Fabricator (light, heavy or steel construction)
  • Specialist Fabricator
  • Supervisor
  • Leading Hand
  • Workshop Supervisor
  • Welding Supervisor
  • Foreman
  • Site Supervisor
  • Business Manager
  • Business Owner
 Unit/Achievement standards in schools Apprenticeship Higher learning Higher learning