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Structural Metal and Platework Fabricators and Fitters (NOC 7235) may also be called:

  • metal fabricator
  • plater
  • shipfitter
  • steel fabricator
  • structural steel fitter

What Would I Do?

You make and install parts made from sheet metal for buildings, bridges, tanks, boilers, and other similar structures.

Your duties include:

  • read blueprints and determine the type and amount of material needed
  • construct patterns and templates as guides for layouts
  • fasten the pieces together with welds, bolts, and other devices
  • move materials to storage areas or construction site
  • assemble and install the pieces at the construction site
  • set up and operate various heavy-duty metalworking machines including computerized equipment

More information:

Am I Suited For This Job?

You should:

  • be strong and physically fit
  • be comfortable working at heights
  • pay close attention to detail and exercise absolute precision to create safe structures
  • have good hand eye coordination

You generally work outside in all kinds of weather. However, if you work at great heights you do not work during wet, icy or extremely windy conditions because of safety risks.

If you fabricate structural metal in fabricating shops or factories, you work indoors where it may be dirty and noisy, with strong odours.

This work can be physically demanding. You have to do considerable bending, lifting, standing, climbing and squatting. In addition, you often have to place and attach heavy metal components.

Sources: WorkBC Career Profiles and CareersinConstruction.ca

What Are The Wages And Benefits?

In British Columbia, the average annual salary ranges from $66,000 – $95,000. Your wages vary depending on your contract, company, location and whether you are working for a union.

In BC’s regions, you can expect to make:

regional hourly salaries

Table from Job Bank Wage Report
Source: WorkBC Career Profiles

What Is The Job Outlook In BC?

It is expected that more than half of the upcoming jobs in BC will result from new job creation. You may find work in the construction industry as major investments are planned for B.C.’s transportation infrastructure, including roads, rails, ferries, bridges, ports and airports.

Within the manufacturing industry, shipbuilding and ship repair is a significant sector for employment. Some activity in this sector has moved offshore to take advantage of low-cost suppliers. However, there are still some specialty niches in the province.

Careers in Construction Canada’ predicts that employment will be good between 2015-2019, with employers actively recruiting workers with needed skills and qualifications.

Employment Outlook

employment outlook

Chart from WorkBC [7235]
Sources: WorkBC & Careers in Construction

How Do I Become a Metal Fabricator / Fitter?

Metal fabricator [fitter] is an Inter-provincially recognized Red Seal trade. With a Red Seal, you can work in this trade anywhere in Canada.


Completion of Grade 10 is the minimum education requirement. However, completion of secondary school is preferred.

Trade certification is not mandatory to be metal fabricator [fitter] in B.C., but it will likely increase your job opportunities. You can become certified by completing a four year apprenticeship program.

Once you complete the apprenticeship program and successfully pass the Interprovincial Red Seal exam, you become certified as journeyperson. After passing the Interprovincial exam (the final exam for this trade), you also automatically have a Red Seal endorsement through BC’s Industry Training Authority (ITA).

Challenge Certification/Recognition of Prior Experience:

If you have significant work experience as a metal fabricator but have never been certified in Canada, you may apply to challenge the certification. This includes completing 9,600 hours of work in the trade and successfully writing the Interprovincial Red Seal exam.

More information:

How Do I Find A Job?

Where would I work?

You may work in a variety of settings including:

  • sheet metal fabrication and welding shops
  • manufacturers of structural steel & boilers
  • heavy machinery & transportation equipment manufacturing
  • shipbuilding companies
  • welding, ironwork and sheet metal work contractors

Finding Advertised Jobs

Jobs are advertised in a variety of sources including newspapers, magazines and online job sites.

Local Newspapers

You can look at the Vancouver Sun & The Province at Vancouver Public Library for free. Check the job postings daily, the careers section in the Vancouver Sun on Wednesdays and Saturdays and, in The Province on Sundays.

Online Job Postings

Finding “Hidden Jobs”

Many job vacancies are not advertised. The resources below help you with finding jobs in this “hidden” job market.

Using Directories to Create a List of Potential Employers

You can use company directories to produce lists of employers who employ metal fabricators/fitters in Vancouver or the Lower Mainland. Contact them directly to find out if they’re hiring.

  • Reference Canada
    Click on “Start Search” beside Canadian Businesses, then select the “Advanced Search” button.
    Select both “Keyword/SIC/NAICS” under Business Type and “City” under Geography.
    In the top search box enter “metal fabricators” and click LOOKUP.
    Select the appropriate headings.
    Lower down, select the Province, choose the cities, and click the “View Results” button.
    NOTE: You can access this database from a Library computer. If you are using a computer from outside the Library, you will need a Vancouver Public Library card to login to this database. After clicking on the database name, you will be asked to enter your library card number and PIN (usually last four digits of your telephone number).

Networking, Volunteering and Temporary Agencies

Many positions are filled by people who have been recommended by someone they know. Networking, working as a volunteer or registering with a temporary employment agency are good ways of helping you find jobs and meet people in your industry.

Networking and the Hidden Job Market:

When looking for work, be sure to talk to friends, relatives and neighbours. They may know someone who is hiring! Working as a volunteer, attending events, and joining clubs and associations are good ways to gain “Canadian experience.” They are also good ways to meet people to learn about the local job market.

Volunteer opportunities

For additional tips see:

Applying for a Job

In Canada, employers usually expect to receive a resume and a cover letter that identifies the position you are applying for and summarizes your relevant experience.

Use the library catalogue to find books on writing resumes and cover letters specific to your industry.

For more information see:

Where Can This Job Lead?

Some structural metal and platework fabricators and fitters may also be certified as skilled welders.

With experience, you may progress to supervisory positions.

Where Can I Find More Information?

  • STEP
    STEP is a no-fee employment program that helps immigrants get jobs in the construction industry