Sheet Metal Working

Sheet Metal Worker

Sheet Metal Worker – Apprenticeships

Sheet metal workers work with thin metal sheets (up to 3mm thick) which they bend, cut and shape using hammers, small presses, roller machines and guillotines.

Sheet metal workers work with sheet steel, galvanised steel, stainless steel, aluminium, copper, etc. and their work includes the cutting of these metals by using patterns or templates as guides, as well as shaping the metal by forming, bending, beating or rolling by means of manual and CNC (Computer Numerical Control) machinery.

Some sheet metal workers specialise in more complex techniques or in operating one or more of the machines.

Sheet metal workers are usually employed by firms manufacturing such articles as ventilation equipment, catering and food processing equipment, computer and data communications hardware and can also be involved in vehicle manufacture.

Sheet metal workers require many skills including:

  • Working with a variety of specialised hand and power tools to cut and shape the metal and to drill or punch holes
  • Knowledge of a range of piping systems
  • Interpreting technical drawings and diagrams
  • Understanding the scientific uses and properties of metals
  • Using mathematics to solve technical or scientific problems
  • Marking out and measuring
  • Operating CNC equipment
  • Hammering down (planish) excess surface weld metal

Note: Experience has shown that higher grades of entry than those suggested by SOLAS are preferred for certain apprenticeships, due to the technical nature of the trade.

Employers typically seek applicants who have completed Leaving Cert including Maths (with at least a grade C3 in Ordinary Level Maths) and preferably Physics.

Work Aspects

  • Learning and developing new practical craft-related skills, knowledge and competence
  • Working with and learning from experienced craftspersons
  • Seeing a job through from start to finish
  • Comply with Health and Safety requirements
  • Using tools and operating machinery
  • Being responsible for controlling or adjusting equipment
  • Demonstrate good analytical and troubleshooting skills
  • Understanding technical drawings and diagrams
  • Being accurate with numbers in counting, measuring and arithmetic
  • Being well organised and careful with practical tasks
  • Keeping up to date with changing technologies
  • Being physically active
  • Taking responsibility for own learning, including the allocation of study time
  • Working in a noisy environment
  • Passing all your phase exams (theory, practical skills demonstration)
  • Earning as you learn

Phase 1: With Employer

  • Induction Training
  • Introduction to Health & Safety
  • Introduction to Tools & Equipment
  • Introduction to Basic Skills
Phase 2: Delivered in Training Centre (20 weeks)
Course Content:
  • Induction
  • Sheet Metal Fundamentals
  • Geometry & Pattern Development
  • Thermal Processes
  • General Sheet Metalwork
  • Ductwork
  • Decorative Metalwork
  • Introduction to CNC (Computer Numerical Control) Sheet Metal
  • Manufacturing

Phase 3: With Employer
Work Based Training and Assessments

Phase 4: Delivered in Educational Colleges (11 weeks)
Course Content:

  • Geometry & Pattern Development
  • Cladding
  • Precision Sheet Metalwork
  • Stainless Steel
  • General Sheet Metalwork
  • Metal Roof Work
  • Panel & Double Curvature Work
  • Thermal Processes
  • CNC Programming and Operating

Phase 5: With Employer
Work Based Training and Assessments

Phase 6: Delivered in Educational Colleges (10 weeks)
Course Content:

  • Geometry & Pattern Development CAD/CAM (Computer Aided Design and Computer Aided Manufacturing)
  • IT (Information Technology)
  • Stainless Steel
  • General Sheet Metalwork
  • Metal Roof Work
  • Thermal Processes
  • Special Areas

Phase 7: With Employer
Work Based Training and Assessments

The overall duration of this apprenticeship is a minimum of 4 years provided all phases are successfully completed.

On successful completion of the programme the learner is awarded aLevel 6 Advanced Certificate Craft – Sheet Metalworking.

As a Sheet Metal Worker you will need to be physically active and to be able to work with your hands.

An awareness of health and safety and good housekeeping is essential as well as attention to detail.

The Sheet Metal Worker must have the ability to:

  • Plan and organise
  • Communicate effectively
  • Solve problems
  • Work independently and as part of a team
  • Show a positive attitude
  • Recognise the need for good customer relations
  • Demonstrate good work practices including time keeping, tidiness, responsibility, quality awareness and safety awareness

The minimum age at which the employment of an apprentice may commence is 16 years of age.
The minimum educational requirements are:
1. Grade D in five subjects in the Department of Education & Skills Junior Certificate Examination or an approved equivalent,
or
2. The successful completion of an approved Pre-Apprenticeship course
or
3. Three years’ work experience gained over sixteen years of age in a relevant designated industrial activity as SOLAS shall deem acceptable

Note: These are the current approved minimum educational requirements for apprenticeship programmes, however, previous experience of the following subjects would be an advantage but not essential:

  • Metalwork
  • Mathematics
  • Physics
  • Technical Drawing/Graphics
  • Engineering
  • Technology

 

Note: Experience has shown that higher grades of entry than those suggested by SOLAS are preferred for certain apprenticeships, due to the technical nature of the trade.

Employers typically seek applicants who have completed Leaving Cert including Maths (with at least a grade C3 in Ordinary Level Maths) and preferably Physics.

 

You must obtain employment as an apprentice in your chosen occupation.

  • The employer must be approved to train apprentices.
  • The employer must register you as an apprentice within two weeks of recruitment.

On successful completion of the apprenticeship programme, apprentices are qualified to work within the recognised trade or profession.

Where apprentices and craftspersons have the necessary ability, initiative and basic qualifications, opportunities are available for advancement. These include advanced technology courses and management courses which are available in Institutes of Technology, Schools of Management and Professional Institutes.

Many craftspersons use their apprenticeship qualification as a platform to launch careers such as engineers, managers, owners of businesses, teachers and instructors amongst others.