Helping you find a career in the metalwork industry
Metalworking is a hugely varied career, with metalworkers working with a broad range of metals (from gold ornaments and silver jewellery, to steel girders, copper wiring and cast-iron fences), and also in a number of other industries (including construction, manufacturing, energy and even in the armed forces!).
The metalworking industry in the UK involves 11,100 companies, employs around 230,000 people, and directly contributes £10.7bn to UK's economy. The majority of UK metalworking businesses are small, with an average of just 21 employees. The steel industry is Britain's largest single metalworking sector, with 600 businesses employing 32,000 workers accounting for £1.6 billion in economic output. Historically the UK metalworking industry has been male-dominated, but there are now organisations such as the Women's Engineering Society and WISE](https://www.wisecampaign.org.uk/) which offer support to women interested in engineering and metalworking.
Alongside variety in industry or materials, metalworkers can work in various functions within different industries: a metalworker might focus on welding, or precision tooling (using a variety of tools to precisely shape metals in order to produce parts for machinery), or designing bespoke metal products for individual customers.
Many larger employers in metalworking will offer structured apprenticeship recruitment programmes designed to give you the skills and experience to work in the industry. These can involve time spent working with metals hands-on in a foundry or on a construction site, as well as time spent studying toward a qualification in the industry. Smaller employers may offer less structure but will give you more responsibility earlier on in your career.
Metalworking is a highly-safety conscious industry, for very good reason: metalworkers will work with materials at very high temperatures (the melting-point of steel is over 1,300 degrees!), and will use large, powerful machines. Safety on site is an absolute priority for metalworkers, no matter how large or small the company or project they are working on.