Sheet metal worker


Career outlook for

Figures and forecasts for roles at the same level, which require similar skills and qualifications.

Average UK salary


Currently employed in Scotland


Five year job forecast


"LMI for All" supplies our salary and employment status information. "Oxford Economics" supplies job forecasts and employment figures.

What's it like?

You would use specialised equipment to cut and join metal sheets to make products for engineers, builders and factory staff.

You might work on anything from street signs to panels used in vehicle or aircraft production.

You would:

  • Follow drawings and instructions to mark out sections
  • Cut metal using hand tools and computerised machines like laser cutters, presses and rollers
  • Smooth down edges with grinders, polishers and other tools
  • Join sections using riveting, welding and bolting

In heavy industry you would use thicker metal plate sections to build up structures such as ship hulls or drilling rig platforms.

Working conditions


You would usually work 37 to 39 hours a week, which may include shift work.


Most of your time would be spent in a workshop or factory where conditions could be noisy, hot and dirty. You would wear protective clothing at all times and use safety equipment for tasks like cutting and welding.

UK employment status





Self employed


Here are some of the skills needed for this job. Sign in to see how your skills match up.

  • Taking initiative
  • Attention to detail
  • Reading
  • Cooperating
  • Observation
  • Problem solving

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Getting in

Entry requirements for courses can change. Always contact the college, university or training provider to check exactly what you’ll need.

Foundation Apprenticeships

Choosing a Foundation Apprenticeship as one of your subjects in S5 and S6 can help you get a head start with this type of job.

You'll get an SCQF level 6 qualification (the same level as a Higher) plus valuable work placement experience and skills you can't learn in a classroom.

Interested? Find out what's on offer at your school on


There are no formal qualifications required to enter this role but most employers value a good general education including English and maths. Some employers may ask for qualifications at SCQF level 4/5.

Entry is usually through a Modern Apprenticeship where you gain a relevant qualifications such as a Scottish Vocational Qualifications in Fabrication and Welding Engineering (SVQ level 2/3).

You usually have to take an aptitude test as part of the entry process.

Useful subjects

  • English
  • Maths
  • A relevant science subject
  • A relevant technologies subject

You will also need

  • Good colour vision - it is important for some jobs
  • Good fitness

Helpful to have

Qualifications and experience that show practical skills such as Skills for Work Construction Crafts (SCQF level 4/5).