Recycled Metals Worker

Job Description:

Metal workers cut, shape, join, sort, and grade metal.

Job Category:
Metals & Mining

What you will do:

Your day-to-day responsibilities will depend on your specialism.

If you specialise as a welder, you might be responsible for:

  • cutting and joining composite materials, such as plastics, using specialist welding methods
  • setting out the materials to be cut or joined
  • following engineering instructions and drawings
  • inspecting and testing cuts and joins, using precision measuring instruments
  • operating the semi-automatic spot-welding equipment used in high volume production lines

If you specialise as a sheet metal worker, you might be responsible for:

  • making metal products (such as aluminium sheets for street signs, steel panels for car bodies, pipes, panels and storage tanks) from flat sheets
  • marking out sections following engineering drawings and instructions
  • shaping and cutting out sections using hand tools and Computer Numerically Controlled (CNC) machines, like laser cutters, presses and rollers
  • finishing items with grinders and polishers
  • assembling sections using riveting, welding and bolting methods

If you specialise as a scrap metal worker or recycled metal worker, you might be responsible for:

  • weighing scrap metal on a weigh bridge or platform
  • sorting and grading scrap
  • recording details and filling in paperwork
  • using machines (balers) to crush the scrap into bales
  • cutting up large items by hand, using welding equipment


You’ll need:

  • knowledge of recycling processes
  • the ability to use, repair and maintain machines and tools
  • to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device

As well as:

  • the ability to operate and control equipment
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • the ability to work well with others (teamwork skills)
  • to be flexible and open to change (adaptable)
  • the ability to work well with your hands
  • observation and recording skills (organisational skills)
Illustration of employee looking at workspace

Entry Requirements:

There are no set entry requirements.

Experience or a college qualification in engineering will be helpful fo some roles. You could get into this job through an apprenticeship.

To become a Welder, you’ll usually have to pass competency tests for the type of welding work you do. These show that your work meets welding standards (codes).

To become a Scrap metal worker, you’ll need to have a forklift licence

In the UK, you’ll also need a Client Contractor National Safety Group (CCNSG) Safety Passport to work on most engineering construction sites.


Restrictions and Requirements
You’ll need a large goods vehicle (LGV) licence if your job involves driving a lorry to collect metal waste.

Working Hours and Environment:

You could work at a waste recycling site.

Your working environment may be outdoors some of the time.

You may need to wear safety clothing and use safety equipment.

Career Path & Progression:

With experience, you could be promoted to a supervisory role, such as:

  • site supervisor
  • foreperson
  • middle management
  • workshop manager

With experience, you could become a yard manager or set up your own scrap metal or recycling business.