Fabricators manufacture steel components and structures 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. But not all fabricators are alike, so 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 & 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.

IMG Fabrication AAA2985 cropped

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.

IMG Fabrication 20160308 Competenz NZ Steel 049 cropped

How much could I earn?

  • 2 years experience

    $42k- $52k

  • 5 years experience

    $53k- $80k

Career pathway

SchoolEntry level jobsAdvancing jobsSenior 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 schoolsApprenticeshipHigher learningHigher learning