Steel erectors create the strong skeleton of a building or temporary structure by installing and fixing together steel girders, pipework and beams.
Qualifications and Training
There are no formal requirements to enter training as a steel erector but it helps when looking for work to have GCSEs (grades A-E) or equivalent in subjects such as maths, English, science and technology. Employers often look for people with some on-site experience, so if you haven’t worked in construction before you could work as an assistant to start with. Then your employer might train you in steel erection.
Construction apprenticeships are a common way into this career. Getting on to an apprenticeship scheme usually involves taking a selection test. As an apprentice, you study towards NVQ/SVQ Level 2 and 3, including:
- NVQ in Steel Erecting Level 2
- NVQ in Constructing Capital Plant Steel Structures (Erecting) Level 3
- NVQ in Constructional Steelwork Site Operations Level 2 (with options in Erecting Structural Steelwork and Installing Metal Floor Decking).
- Controlling Lifting Operations L2 Slinger Signaller and L3 Supervising Lifting Operations
Apprentices learn a range of techniques and procedures relating to steel erecting, ranging from cutting and shaping steel; installing in-situ and/or prefabricated steel; using power tools; operating powered access equipment (mobile platforms and cherry pickers); and safe working practices. They work towards Functional Skills Level 1 (application of numbers and communication) and the ConstructionSkills Health and Safety Test.
A Powered Access Licence (PAL) is useful for this kind of work. Contractors recognise it as proof that you can operate mobile elevated work platforms on site. Most construction and engineering firms now insist that site workers have a CSCS card or are part of a related scheme. The card is proof of your skills and competence. Getting a card means passing a health and safety assessment and having a relevant NVQ (or equivalent qualification).
If you’re working without qualifications, you might be able to do On-Site Assessment and Training (OSAT) or Experienced Worker Practical Assessment (EWPA) to get your NVQ and card.