Plate Welder

Ocupation Overview

Manually weld plates and structural components to high standards of quality

Occupation summary

This occupation is found in a wide range of sectors associated with the Fabrication, Construction and upgrade of major capital plant items and facilities. This will include Structural Steel fabrication and construction (e.g. Buildings, Stadia, Bridges, Piers, Jetties etc.), Marine fabrication, construction and upgrade (Ships, Submarines, Wind Turbine Towers), Defence fabrication (armoured vehicles), Process Plant (structures and storage tanks), Engineering Construction (Lifting Beams, Cranes, Construction Vehicles etc.), Mining & Mineral Processing (Shuttering, Structural Supports, Wear Plates, Chutes, Mills, Pulverisers), Transport (Aerospace, Rail and Automotive), and Manufacturing of machinery & equipment. Plate Welders may be employed in any size of organisation from small companies to large multi-national organisations. The broad purpose of the occupation is to  manually  weld  plate  and  structural  components  to  high  standards  of  quality.  This  will  involve  fabrication,  construction  or  repair  of  fabricated  plate  assemblies,  extrusions  and  structural  components  (e.g.  Channel,  H-Beams,  I-Beams  etc.)  used  often  used  to  fabricate  larger  components  and  assemblies.  Plate  welders  will  weld  to  internationally  recognised  quality  standards  using  more  than  one  manual  arc  welding  process  from  Tungsten  Inert  Gas  (TIG),  Plasma  Arc  Welding  (PAW),  Manual  Metal  Arc  (MMA),  Metal  Inert  Gas  (MIG)/Metal  Active  Gas  (MAG)  and  Flux  Cored  Arc  Welding  (FCAW)  on  more  than  one  material  group  from  Carbon  Steel,  Low  Alloy  Steel,  High  Alloy  Ferritic/Martensitic  Steel,  Austenitic  Stainless  Steel,  Nickel  &  Nickel  Alloys,  Aluminium  &  Aluminium  alloys,  Titanium  &  Titanium  Alloys,  Copper  &  Copper  Alloys.  For  example,  a  Plate  Welder  might  use  Manual  Metal  Arc  (MMA)  and  Flux  Cored  Arc  Welding  (FCAW)  to  join    both  Carbon  Steel  and  Low  Alloy  Steel  materials.  The occupation requires production of  welds  in  plate  and  structural  components  covering  three  plate  welding  positions  which  must  include  Vertical  (either upward or downward progression) and Overhead,  and the three main joint configurations (Single or Double Sided Butt, Single or Double  Sided T-Butt & Fillet).  Each  welding  process  requiring  significantly  different  welding  equipment,  assemblies,  controls,  skills  and  techniques,  and  represents  an  individual  production  process.  Each  material  type  requires  specific  controls  and  techniques  to  achieve  a  satisfactory  weld.  Plate  welding  is  contributes  to  the  UK  economy  through  the  fabrication,  construction  and  upgrade  of  major  infrastructure  projects,  defence  assets  and  exported  goods.  Plate  welders  are  employed  by  the  supply  chain  organisations  or  the  direct  owner/operator.. In their daily work, an employee in this occupation interacts with a  wide  range  of  people  and  organisations  including  Platers,  Metal  Fabricators,  Erectors,  Riggers,  Stores  Operatives,  Supervisors,  Engineers,  Inspectors,  Non-Destructive  Technicians  and  Quality  personnel.  Plate  welders  may  need  to  work  shifts  and  flexible  work  patterns.  They  can  work  in  organisations  ranging  from  multi-national  organisations  to  very  small  businesses.  They  work  in  a  range  of  environments  across  the  world  including  Fabrication  Shops,  Assembly  Yards,  Construction/Building  Sites,  Factories  and  Operational  Facilities  requiring  maintenance  &  upgrade.  This  occupation  may  involve  working  at  height,  and  beside  or  over  water.  Plate welders’ work  will  be  regularly  assessed  to  ensure  continued  quality  of  welding  and  overall  integrity  of  the  component  being  welded,  as  specified  in  the  applicable  component  design  code.  This  could  include  visual  inspection,  non-destructive  testing  and  destructive  testing  of  production  test  pieces.. An employee in this occupation will be responsible for the safety, quality and accuracy of their own work whilst ensuring it conforms to a relevant plate welding specification. They work autonomously, or on occasion as part of a wider team, reporting to a workplace supervisor.

Typical job titles

Typical job titles include Plate Welder, Structural Welder, Class B Welder, Coded Multi-positional Plate Welder

Occupation duties


Duty 1 Plan and prepare for the welding of plate, structural components before commencing work


K1 K2 K3 K4 K5 K6 K7 K8 K9 K10 K11 K12 K13 K14 K16 K18 K19 K20

S1 S2 S3 S4 S5 S6 S7 S9 S10

B1 B2 B3 B4 B5 B6 B7 B8

Duty 2 Check  materials  conform  to  the  specified  grades,  dimensions  and  thicknesses.


K1 K8 K9 K10 K11 K12 K13 K14 K16 K18 K19 K20

S1 S2 S3 S5 S7 S9

B1 B2 B3 B4 B5 B6 B7

Duty 3 Inspect weld preparations, surface conditions and cleanliness


K1 K2 K5 K7 K8 K9 K10 K11 K14 K16 K18 K19 K20

S1 S2 S3 S9

B1 B2 B3 B4 B5 B6 B7

Duty 4 Assemble  and  position  plate  and  structural  components  to  be  welded,  including  attachment  of  bracings,  strong-backs,  alignment  aids,  run-on  and  run-off  tabs  and  backing  materials  (e.g.  ceramic,  metallic  etc.).


K1 K2 K4 K5 K6 K7 K8 K9 K10 K11 K12 K13 K14 K16 K18 K19 K20

S1 S2 S3 S5 S8 S9

B1 B2 B4 B5 B6 B7

Duty 5 Assemble  equipment  to  be  used  in  the  preparation  and  welding  of  plate  and  structural  components  and  check  its  performance  and  condition,  including  any  component  heating  and  monitoring  equipment.


K3 K6 K8 K12 K13 K14 K16 K18 K19 K20

S1 S2 S3 S4 S5 S8 S9

B1 B2 B4 B5 B6 B7

Duty 6 Adjust  and  maintain  the  equipment  to  be  used  during  the  welding  of  plate  and  structural  components.


K3 K4 K5 K6 K7 K8 K9 K10 K11 K14 K16 K18 K19 K20

S1 S2 S3 S4 S5 S7 S8 S9

B1 B2 B4 B5 B6 B7

Duty 7 Interpret  technical  specifications  &  drawings  to  establish  detailed  welding  process  controls,  consumable  selection,  and  dimensional  limitations  imposed  to  control  distortion.


K2 K3 K4 K5 K6 K7 K8 K10 K11 K12 K13 K14 K16 K18 K20

S1 S2 S9

B1 B2 B3 B4 B5 B6 B7

Duty 8 Make the joints to specified dimensional accuracy using appropriate welding techniques.


K1 K2 K3 K4 K5 K6 K7 K8 K9 K10 K11 K12 K13 K14 K16 K17 K18 K19 K20

S1 S2 S3 S4 S5 S6 S7 S8 S9 S10 S11 S12 S14 S15 S16 S17

B1 B2 B3 B4 B5 B6 B7

Duty 9 Identifying areas for improving the  production process where possible through the monitoring of performance


K10 K11 K12 K13 K14 K15 K17 K20

S1 S2 S8 S9 S12

B1 B3 B4 B5 B6 B7

Duty 10 Monitor  associated  parameters  throughout  the  welding  of  plate  and  structural  components  (e.g.  Preheat, Interpass  Temperature, Heat Input).


K2 K10 K11 K13 K14 K16 K20

S1 S2 S8 S9 S12

B1 B2 B3 B4 B5 B6 B7 B8

Duty 11 Remove  material  using  manual  powered  and  non-powered  hand  tools,  before  and  during  welding  to  remove  defects  within  the    preparation  and  weld  deposit.


K9 K10 K11 K16 K18 K19 K20

S1 S9 S10 S11 S12

B1 B2 B4 B5 B6 B7

Duty 12 Visually  inspect  alignment  and  distortion  of  component  and  apply  techniques  to  ensure  compliance  with  specification.


K1 K8 K9 K10 K11 K20

S1 S2 S9 S10 S11 S12 S14 S15 S16 S17

B1 B2 B3 B4 B5 B6 B7

Duty 13 Visually inspect completed weld and component geometry


K8 K10 K11 K14 K17 K20

S1 S2 S9 S10 S11 S12 S14 S15 S16 S17

B1 B2 B3 B4 B5 B6 B7

Duty 14 Remove and dress bracings, strong?backs, run-on/run-off tabs and  alignment aids, and dress finished external weld surfaces using manual powered and  non?powered hand tools


K1 K2 K8 K9 K10 K11 K12 K13 K14 K16 K18 K19 K20

S1 S2 S7 S9 S10 S12 S13

B1 B2 B3 B4 B5 B6 B7

Duty 15Restore the work area and equipment to a safe and reliable condition on completion of welding including the remediation and recycling of bracings, strong?backs and alignment aids.


K8 K9 K10 K12 K13 K14 K16 K18 K19 K20

S1 S7 S9 S10 S13

B1 B2 B3 B4 B5 B6 B7

Duty 16 Monitor  the  use  of  consumables  and  adjust  quantities  issued,  and  return  unused  consumables  for  re-conditioning,  re?use  or  disposal.


K8 K10 K12 K13 K14 K15 K16 K19 K20

S1 S2 S7 S8 S9

B1 B2 B3 B4 B5 B6 B7 B8

Duty 17 Complete production documentation and reporting at the appropriate stages of the work activity


K8 K14 K15 K20

S1 S2 S9

B1 B2 B3 B4 B5 B6 B7 B8


S1 Work safely at all times, comply with health, safety and environmental legislation, regulations and organisational requirements.

S2 Can obtain, check and use appropriate documentation (such as job instructions, drawings, quality control documentation).

S3 Plan and prepare welding activities before commencing the work.

S4 Obtain, position and assemble welding equipment and associated safety protection needed for activity.

S5 Prepare, check and protect materials and work areas ready for welding.

S6 Inspect assembly to be welded and undertake remedial work to comply with specification, or implement quality steps if rejected.

S7 Receive, inspect, condition and maintain consumables.

S8 Set, test and monitor key welding parameters as detailed within the Welding Procedure Specification.

S9 Deal promptly and effectively with problems within the limits of their responsibility using approved diagnostic methods and techniques and report those which cannot be resolved to the appropriate personnel.

S10 Use manual processes and equipment to remove material (powered and non?powered).

S11 Achieves  a  quality  of  work  to  meet  international  standards e.g. ISO5817, ISO9606, ASME IX, AWS D1.1  for  dimensional,  surface  inspection  (e.g.  Visual, Magnetic Particle, Dye  Penetrant)  and  volumetric  inspection  (e.g.  Radiography, Ultrasonic  inspection).

S12 Complete  progressive  and  final  checks  on  the  weld  prior  to  release  for  formal  inspection  and  report  into  the  production  control  system  at  the  appropriate  stages  of  the  work  activity.

S13 Restore the work area on completion of the activity and where applicable return any resources and consumables to the appropriate location.

S14 Produce  welds  in  plate  and/or  structural  components  using  two  welding  processes  from  TIG,  PAW,  MMA,  MIG/MAG,  FCAW.

S15 Produce  welds  in  plate  and/or  structural  components  using  two  materials  from  Carbon  Steel,  Low  Alloy  Steel,  High  Alloy  Ferritic/Martensitic  Steel,  Austenitic  Stainless  Steel,  Nickel  &  Nickel  Alloys,  Aluminium  &  Aluminium  alloys,  Titanium  &  Titanium  Alloys,  Copper  &  Copper  Alloys.

S16 Produce  welds  in  plate  and/or  structural  components  covering  three  plate  welding  positions  which  must  include  Vertical  (either  upward  or  downward  progression)  and  overhead.

S17 Produce plate welds in 3 main joint configurations (Single or Double Sided Butt, Single or Double Sided T?Butt & Fillet)



K1: Dimensional and mechanical properties (strength, toughness, thermal expansion etc.) of materials to be welded.

K2: Fundamentals  of  welding  metallurgy  (weld  solidification  and  Heat  Affected  Zone)  and  how  this  can  affect  the  weldability  of  materials  and  final  joint  integrity.

K3: Common manual arc welding processes and the relative merits for a given application, including Manual Metal Arc (MMA),Metal Inert Gas (MIG), Metal Active Gas (MAG), Flux Cored Arc Welding (FCAW), Tungsten Inert Gas (TIG),  Plasma Arc Welding (PAW)

K4: Common  joint  types  associated  with  welding  plate  and  structural  components  (Fillet,  Butt,  T-Butt,  Corner/Lap;  Single-Sided,  Double-Sided,  Metallic  Backed,  Ceramic  Backed).

K5: Welding  positions  and  progressions  associated  with  plate  and  structural  components  and  their  international  designations  including  Flat;  Horizontal-Vertical;  Horizontal;  Vertical  (upward  and  downward  progressions);  Overhead.

K6: The  major  components  of  welding  equipment,  ancillary  equipment,  cabling  and  their  assembly,  including  Power  Source,  Wire  Feed  System,  TIG  &  PAW  Arc  Initiation  Systems,  interconnecting  communications  cables,  torches,  tongs,  gas  equipment  etc.

K7: Set, modify and monitor welding controls (e.g.  Current,  Arc  Voltage,  Wire  Feed  Speed,  Gas  Flow  Rates,  Polarity)  and  secondary  controls  (e.g.  Heat Input, Interpass Temperature).

K8: Welding Procedure Specification requirements, contents, and information derived to establish specific production information

K9: The relative merits, applications and limitations of material preparation methods and manual material removal processes including powered and non?powered tools.

K10: Performance  success  factors  in  production,  inspection  reporting,  productivity  including  time  and  duration,  dimensional,  Non-Destructive  Examination,  defect  rates  etc.

K11: Causes  and  detection  of  typical  welding  defects  and  how  their  occurrence  can  be  reduced.

K12: Types  and  functions  of  welding  consumables,  fluxing  systems  and  the  requirement  for  correct  identification,  storage,  conditioning,  handling,  recycling  and  disposal.

K13: Requirements for correct storage, handling and segregation of materials and tooling to prevent cross contamination.

K14: Organisational quality documentation, reporting systems, procedures and their role within the overall quality process

K15: Continuous  improvement  processes,  performance  review  and  how  this  is  undertaken  within  their  organisation.

K16: The importance of only using approved processes, procedures, documentation and the potential implications for the organisation if this is not followed.

K17: Non-destructive testing reports and radiographs to identify particular defect types and the associated improvements to process and technique needed to prevent recurrence.

K18: Risks and mitigation measures associated with welding and the working environment, and the organisational risk management processes.

K19: The importance of complying with statutory, quality, organisational and health, safety and environmental regulations.

K20: Typical problems that may arise within their normal work activities/environment.


B1: Takes responsibility for decision-making, without autonomy and within the guidelines of the work instruction, for their workplace, the application of welding processes, and for their productivity.

B2: Enquires and to seeks guidance, in order to understand the processes and associated industrial applications.

B3: Committed  to  maintaining  competence  through  Continuing  Professional  Development  planning,  preparation  and  reflection  to  ensure  safety,  quality  and  production  and  ensuring  Continuing  Professional  Development  goals  are  achieved.

B4: Intervene  and  challenge  poor  practices  and  have  confidence  to  channel  feedback  to  the  appropriate  authorities  to  implement  change.

B5: Consistently and reliably delivers in accordance with expectations in safety, production, quality, ethics and self-development.

B6: Encourages  and  supports  the  development  of  others  and  completes  point  of  work  risk  assessments.

B7: Follows the specified procedures and controls and be personally responsible and accountable for their production work and personal development.

B8: Reflects  on  current  and  past  performance  and  provide  information  and  recommendations  for  continuous  improvements  in  efficiency  and  effectiveness  of  working  practices,  and  training  and  development  requirements.


English and Maths qualifications

Apprentices without level 2 English and maths will need to achieve this level prior to taking the End-Point Assessment.  For those with an education, health and care plan or a legacy statement, the apprenticeship’s English and maths minimum requirement is Entry Level 3. A British Sign Language (BSL) qualification is an alternative to the English qualification for those whose primary language is BSL. 

Occupational Level: 

Duration (months): 


Professional recognition

The Welding Institute / Engineering Technician


This standard will be reviewed after three years. 

Originally published on, this information has been re-used under the terms of the Open Government Licence.


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