Overview of the role

Manually weld plates and structural components to high standards of quality.

Details of standard

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 include:

Class b welder Coded multi-positional plate welder Plate welder Structural welder

Occupation duties

Duty KSBs

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 15 Restore 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



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

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

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) Back to Duty

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). Back to Duty

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. Back to Duty

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. Back to Duty

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). Back to Duty

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

S3: Plan and prepare welding activities before commencing the work. Back to Duty

S4: Obtain, position and assemble welding equipment and associated safety protection needed for activity. Back to Duty

S5: Prepare, check and protect materials and work areas ready for welding. Back to Duty

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

S7: Receive, inspect, condition and maintain consumables. Back to Duty

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

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. Back to Duty

S10: Use manual processes and equipment to remove material (powered and non‐powered). Back to Duty

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). Back to Duty

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. Back to Duty

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

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

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. Back to Duty

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. Back to Duty

S17: Produce plate welds in 3 main joint configurations (Single or Double Sided Butt, Single or Double Sided T‐Butt & Fillet) Back to Duty


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. Back to Duty

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

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. Back to Duty

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

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

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

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

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. Back to Duty


English and Maths

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.

Professional recognition

This standard aligns with the following professional recognition:

  • The Welding Institute for Engineering Technician

Additional details

Occupational Level:


Duration (months):



this apprenticeship will be reviewed in accordance with our change request policy.

Status: Approved for delivery
Level: 3
Reference: ST0852
Version: 1.1
Date updated: 14/06/2024
Approved for delivery: 19 July 2019
Route: Engineering and manufacturing
Typical duration to gateway: 36 months (this does not include EPA period)
Maximum funding: £27000
LARS Code: 486
EQA Provider: Ofqual
Employers involved in creating the standard: BAE Systems, Hutchinson Engineering, Severfield, TEI, Doosan Babcock, GE, Rolls Royce, Pall UK, Hudson Swan, Graham Engineering, QA Weld Tech

Version log

Version Change detail Earliest start date Latest start date Latest end date
1.1 End-point assessment plan revised 14/06/2024 Not set Not set
1.0 Approved for delivery 19/07/2019 13/06/2024 Not set

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