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Essential skills profile

This profile contains a list of example tasks that illustrate how each of the 9 essential skills is generally performed by most workers in this occupation. The levels of complexity estimated for each task are ranked between 1 (basic) and 5 (advanced).

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Welders(7237)

Welders operate welding equipment to weld ferrous and non-ferrous metals. This group also includes machine operators who operate previously set-up production welding, brazing and soldering equipment.

Reading Help - Reading
  • Read short text entries on forms, such as logbooks and job orders. (1)
  • Read short instructions and warnings written on signs, labels and packaging. (1)
  • Read workplace safety materials, e.g. read Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) and hazard assessment forms to learn safe handling instructions and potential hazards. (2)
  • Read a variety of memos to learn about changes to policies, safety concerns and upcoming meetings. (2)
  • Read safe work permits and equipment lock-out procedures to learn about repairs and how to de-energize and re-energize equipment. (2)
  • Read occupational health and safety standards, e.g. read rules to learn how to comply with working in confined spaces. (3)
  • Read written instructions for the set-up, operation and maintenance of equipment, such as welders, presses and breaks. (3)
  • Read brochures and magazine and website articles to learn about new products and stay informed about industry practices. (3)
  • Read regulations, codes and detailed welding procedures, e.g. read procedures developed by governing bodies, such as the Canadian Welding Bureau, to learn about acceptable welding practices. (4)
Document use Help - Document use
  • Use legends, symbols and abbreviations found on technical drawings to determine job requirements. (1)
  • Observe signs to learn about safety concerns, such as noise and electrical hazards, e.g. read signs to note the location of noisy equipment. (1)
  • Identify the capacity of rigging equipment by referring to markings, such as stamps and tags, on equipment. (1)
  • Locate the grade of metals and their alloys using colour code charts. (2)
  • Locate devices, such as switches and relays, in schematics. (2)
  • Complete a variety of forms, e.g. complete invoices to record tasks completed, materials used and hours worked. (2)
  • Locate information, such as the position of parts, using assembly drawings, e.g. refer to drawings to determine the location and assembly of project components. (3)
  • Locate data, such as classifications, times, temperatures, metals and tolerances, in complex specification tables. (3)
  • Locate data, such as dimensions and the types, sizes, locations and starting positions of welds, using complex scale drawings. (4)
Writing Help - Writing
  • Write reminders and short notes to customers and co-workers, e.g. write short notes to inform supervisors about tasks to be completed. (1)
  • Write short comments in forms and logbooks, e.g. write comments in order forms to request delivery information. (1)
  • May write descriptions, e.g. write detailed descriptions of dangerous conditions on hazard-assessment forms. (2)
  • Write text entries in forms to describe events leading up to incidents or accidents, e.g. write about injuries and events when completing workers' compensation board forms. (2)
Numeracy Help - Numeracy
  • Measure distances, temperatures and angles using basic measuring tools, such as tape measures, thermometers and digital protractors. (1)
  • Compare measurements of angles, dimensions, clearances and temperatures to specifications. (1)
  • May create project timelines. For example, welders may create timelines to record significant events, such as start and completion dates for large projects. (2)
  • Convert measurements of pressure, distance and temperature, e.g. convert measurements from feet to metres and pounds per square inch to bars. (2)
  • Calculate the volume, diameter and circumference of tanks when fabricating pieces for them. (2)
  • Estimate the quantity of consumables, such as welding rods or wire, required to complete jobs based on the volume of welding to be done. (2)
  • Estimate the weight of loads for rigging by considering their size and density. (2)
  • May calculate amounts for estimates and invoices. They multiply hours worked by labour rates and add amounts for parts, materials and supplies. They calculate applicable taxes and subtract pre-paid payments. (3)
  • Calculate material requirements by making allowances for wastage and take-off and make-up measurements. (3)
  • Take measurements using specialized measuring tools, e.g. take measurements of dimensions and elevations using calipers and builder's levels. (3)
  • May estimate the cost of work by considering the amount of material and labour required and their prices per unit. The complexity of the estimation is influenced by factors, such as ease of access to the weld locations, the type of materials and the welding process used. (3)
  • Lay out materials for cutting, bending and welding, e.g. use geometric construction methods to scribe flat metal pieces for cutting and bending into three-dimensional structures. (4)
Oral communication Help - Oral communication
  • Communicate with tool room staff to ask for tools, supplies and personal protective equipment. (1)
  • Discuss specifications, timelines, procedures, expectations and other work-related matters with co-workers, e.g. speak with supervisors about the technical details of fabrication projects. (2)
  • Speak with other tradespeople, e.g. speak with pipefitters and millwrights to coordinate their tasks and schedules. (2)
  • Exchange information during meetings, e.g. discuss safety issues and procedures during meetings with co-workers. (2)
  • May explain the use of equipment, such as drill presses, brake boards, cranes and drill-punch machinery, to new employees and apprentices. (3)
  • May explain welding procedures to customers and address their concerns, e.g. discuss complex welding projects and respond to complaints about matters, such as missed deadlines and cost overruns. (3)
Thinking Help - Thinking
  • Encounter technical drawings with missing specifications and errors. They report the missing specifications and errors to supervisors and complete other tasks until they get the information they need and errors are corrected. (1)
  • Encounter delays due to equipment breakdowns and shortages of materials. They inform supervisors about equipment breakdowns and shortages of materials. They perform other work until repairs are completed and necessary materials arrive. (1)
  • Decide the best location to place rigging equipment when preparing a load for transportation. (1)
  • Encounter difficult work conditions due to factors, such as bad weather. They reschedule their activities or devise solutions in consultation with clients and supervisors. (2)
  • Upon receiving work assignments, decide whether they have enough information to start tasks immediately or need to gather more information first. (2)
  • Decide the most efficient use of materials during construction to minimize waste. (2)
  • Evaluate the feasibility of proposed welding projects. They consider project specifications and their ability to perform the work. (2)
  • Evaluate the safety of workplaces and work procedures, e.g. consider the risks posed by lifting heavy metal structures with hoists. (2)
  • May evaluate the performance of apprentices. They consider the apprentices' ability to complete welding tasks and projects. (2)
  • Judge the performance of equipment, e.g. evaluate the performance of welders, shears and presses. (2)
  • Organize their work and set up work areas properly. They must gather materials and equipment and set up the equipment following established steps. Generally, welders are assigned work by their supervisors who inform them of the priority of tasks. There is frequent resetting of priorities by supervisors. For example, it is common for welders to be called away from one project to work on another. Although approximately 80 percent of welders' work is done independently, they need to coordinate their work with others, including apprentice welders, fitters and other tradespeople. In a plant or shop setting, welders must share equipment, such as cranes, saws and grinders, with co-workers. If equipment is not available when they need it, welders work on alternative tasks. (2)
  • Locate information about the status of projects by reviewing completed work, reading logbook entries and speaking with co-workers. (2)
  • Locate project specifications by referring to codes, work orders, technical drawings and by speaking with customers and supervisors. (2)
  • Locate information about worksite hazards by reading hazard assessment forms and Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS), inspecting the worksite and by speaking with safety officers, co-workers and supervisors. (2)
  • Face disruptions of work schedules, timelines and budgets when project designs are found to be faulty and when specifications are changed after projects have already started. (3)
  • Choose methods and materials for welding projects. They select workplace processes that meet safety, quality and production requirements. They select the materials and components that meet specifications. (3)
  • Evaluate the quality of completed welding projects. They consider factors, such as the uniformity of welds and the conformity of dimensions to project specifications. (3)
Digital technology Help - Digital technology
  • May use spreadsheets to track inventory. (1)
  • May input data and operate plasma cutting machines, orbital welders and other computer-controlled equipment. (1)
  • May use calculators and personal digital assistant (PDA) devices to complete numeracy-related tasks, such as calculating material requirements. (1)
  • May use basic features of word processing applications, such as Microsoft Word, to prepare quotes, work orders and business letters. (2)
  • May enter data into spreadsheets to tally amounts for invoices and estimates. (2)
  • May use computer-assisted design (CAD) software to access, modify and print technical drawings. (2)
  • May use specialized databases, e.g. welders working for large companies may use their organization's database to enter times, query inventories and locate parts specifications and details of previously completed projects. (2)
  • May use the Internet to access training courses and seminars offered by training institutions, unions, suppliers and employers. (2)
  • May use Internet browsers and search engines to locate information, such as equipment and supply specifications. (2)
Additional information Help - Additional information Working with Others

The majority of welders' tasks are completed independently, but they must work with other team members, including fitters, other welders and supervisors to plan work, confirm measurements and calculations, assist co-workers with tasks and schedule sharing of equipment. Journeypersons may coach and receive assistance from apprentices. They may also be partnered with workers from other trades, such as pipefitters, to co-ordinate their tasks on projects so that steps are completed in the right order.

Continuous Learning

Welders are required by various codes, e.g. Canadian Standards Association (CSA) and American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), to retake practical tests within a specific period of time. Study and practice may be required to prepare for these tests and employers typically allow time for this on the job. Various training programs, books and manuals are available through technical institutes and authorities, such as the Canadian Welding Bureau. Welders may also attend sessions hosted by suppliers about new products, such as grinding wheels, welding rods and gases. Employers also provide training that is specific to their companies, type of work and locations. Examples of company-specific training include company policies, confined space entry, helicopter safety and H2S gas. Because innovations in consumables, such as gases and rods, equipment, welding applications and processes, are frequently introduced, welders must upgrade their knowledge and skills on an ongoing basis. Some welders pursue learning on their own time by doing things, such as researching technical information on the Internet.

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