Half of the nation’s welders are due to retire by 2027, are we prepared for these shortages?

The last 5 years have seen a dramatic fall in the number of welders in the construction industry and
like with so many other construction jobs, we are experiencing a skills crisis with an ageing
workforce. The UK expect to see 50% of the UK welders retire by 2027, this is expected to create
over 35,000 new jobs.
The number of available welders in the UK has shrunk by 25% and we are seeing around 100
vacancies on Indeed each month. Welding has evolved over recent years with advances in
technology and safety equipment, Welding is a safer and cleaner job than it has been in the past.
The actual job of a welder remains the same, joining two metals together to create a lasting bond,
originally a welder would have been a blacksmith, hammering two heated metals, it is a job with
ancient roots.

Today there are basically 4 different types of welding processes and job adverts for welders will
always include the skills needed for the specific welding job.

Those 4 welding processes include:
MIG (Metal Inert Gas) is an arc welding process and is sometimes known as wire welding. MIG
Welders often are employed in the Construction, Aerospace and Engineering Industries.
TIG Welders (Tungsten Inert Gas) are often found doing pipe and pipeline welding, these welders
can be found welding various metals, but can also include gold.
SMAW (Shielded Metal Arc Welding) Informally known as ‘stick welding’ this is mainly used by
amateurs and DIY’s.
FCAW (Flux Core Arc Welding) This is like the MIG process of welding but can often be found on
construction sites, which may be windy and have adverse weather conditions.
Employers would be looking for any of the above skills but also probably expecting an NVQ Level 2 as
a minimum in Welding Skills.

London recently launched a new provision for welding apprenticeships at CONEL, this is a
collaboration with industry and the new Enfield Centre is a partnership with Ardmore Construction
hosting 20 apprentices who began this January. There are other initiatives around the UK but its
good to see London leading the way.

Axiom Personnel are a specialist recruiter in construction, for more information contact our team in our Romford offices.