Welders operate welding equipment to join or sever metals in beams, vessels, girders, piping and other ferrous and non-ferrous components. Machine operators who operate previously set up production welding, brazing, and soldering equipment are also included as part of this occupation.

Welding usually involves fusing and melting pieces of metal together by applying heat. In gas welding, the flame from the combustion of burning gases melts the metal. In electric arc welding, heat is created as an electric current and flows through an arc between the tip of the welding electrode and the metal. Both produce the same result: filler materials are melted to fill the join or seam and make the metal stronger.

  • Read and interpret blueprints, drawings and other welding specifications.
  • Operate welding equipment to fuse metal segments using processes such as gas tungsten arc welding (GTAW), gas metal arc welding (GMAW), flux-cored arc welding (FCAW), plasma arc welding (PAW), shielded metal arc welding (SMAW), oxy-acetyline welding (OAW), resistance welding and submerged arc welding (SAW).
  • Clean, inspect, repair and shape component parts, often with the use of a cutting torch.
  • Develop patterns for projects or flow directions given in layouts, blueprints and work orders.
  • Repair worn parts of metal products by reinforcing them through welding on extra layers.
  • You have great vision and good hand-eye coordination.
  • You are patient, can envision the final product and enjoy putting things together.
  • You consider yourself a master metal craftsman and have steady hands.
  • You enjoy physical labour and working with different metals and welding processes.


Careers in the BC shipbuilding & ship repair industry usually begin with an apprenticeship in Red Seal trades or with a job directly at a shipyard. Many get their start in shipbuilding as a shipyard labourer prior to being accepted into an apprenticeship program.

Discuss possible career steps with your school counsellor, career counsellor, or a union hall representative and consider high school trades programs and post-secondary pre-apprenticeship programs as a great place to start learning about the trades. 

ACE-IT High School Program (Welder)



Most apprenticeships require you to have a high school diploma and to complete a foundations certificate as a prerequisite prior to starting your apprenticeship. Check with available training providers to learn their specific eligibility requirements. 

There are different pathways you can take in order to become a welder. In order to be eligible for industry certification as a welder, you can complete a three to five-year apprenticeship program or you can apply a combination of over four years of practical work experience as a welder, plus some high school, college or other industry courses.


Red Seal trade certification allows for movement between provinces.

The Interprovincial Standards Red Seal Program


Employer sponsored apprentices are selected and sponsored through an application process. Union sponsored apprentices are selected and sponsored through their trade union and can be recruited by employers based on the needs of a shipyard.


Apprentices can receive up to $4,000 in grants to pay tuition, travel, tools or other expenses. If you are considering an apprenticeship, visit the Red Seal program for information on how to get started.