Metal Fabricator Level 3 Apprenticeship

A Metal Fabricator is found in the advanced manufacturing engineering and engineering construction sectors. The broad purpose of the occupation is to carry out metal fabrication work using things such as rolled steel joists, columns, channels, steel plate and metal sheet etc. Work includes manufacturing bridges, oil rigs, ships, petro-chemical installations, cranes, platforms, aircraft, automotive and machinery parts, sheet metal enclosures, equipment supports, and anything that can be fabricated out of metal. Fabricators can work alone or in teams, in factories or on operational sites.

Fabricators use a large range of metals including steel, aluminium and titanium at a range of thicknesses from 0.5mm up to over 20mm. The size and weight of the fabrications can range from components that can easily be picked up by hand, to massive structures that require several cranes to manipulate. In their daily work, an employee in this occupation interacts with planners, supervisors, inspectors, designers, welders, pipefitters, fitters, machinists, riggers, steel erectors, stores personnel, painters and many others involved in manufacturing, production, maintenance and repair. An employee in this occupation will be responsible for the quality and accuracy of their own work whilst ensuring it conforms to a relevant specification such as an engineering drawing or an international standard. Fabricators are also responsible for the health, safety and environmental (HS&E) protection of themselves and others around them.

Course Info
How to Apply
Information for Applicants

What knowledge and skills are covered?

A Metal Fabricator will demonstrate a knowledge and understanding of the following;

K1 – The importance of complying with statutory, quality, organisational and health and safety regulations

K2 – General engineering mathematical and scientific principles, methods, techniques, graphical expressions, symbols formulae and calculations

K3 – The structure, properties and characteristics of common materials

K4 – The typical problems that may arise within their normal work activities/environment

K5 – Approved diagnostic methods and techniques used to help solve engineering problems

K6 – The importance of only using current approved processes, procedures, documentation and the potential implications if they are not adhered to

K7 – The different roles and functions in the organisation and how they interact

K8 – Why it is important to continually review fabrication and general engineering processes and procedures

K9 – The correct methods of moving and handling materials

K10 – Processes for preparing materials to be marked out

K11 – The tools and techniques available for cutting, shaping, assembling and finishing materials.

K12 – Allowances for cutting, notching, bending, rolling and forming materials

K13 – Describe Pattern development processes, tooling and equipment

K14 – Describe Cutting and forming techniques, tooling and equipment

K15 – Describe Assembly and finishing processes, tooling and equipment

K16 – Inspection techniques that can be applied to check shape and dimensional accuracy

K17 – Factors influencing selection of forming process

K18 – Principles, procedures and testing of different joining techniques (Mechanised or Manual)

K19 – Equipment associated with Manual or Mechanised joining techniques including maintaining equipment in a reliable and safe condition

K20 – Consumables used in Manual or Mechanised joining

K21 – Effects of heating and cooling metals

K22 – Consumables used in Manual or Mechanised joining

K23 – Metallurgy associated with joining

K24 – Effects of heating and cooling metals


The competency to achieve the following skills in the workplace:

S1 – Work safely at all times, comply with health & safety legislation, regulations and organisational requirements

S2 – Comply with environmental legislation, regulations and organisational requirements

S3 – Obtain, check and use the appropriate documentation (such as job instructions, drawings, quality control documentation)

S4 – Carry out relevant planning and preparation activities before commencing work activity

S5 – Undertake the work activity using the correct processes, procedures and equipment

S6 – Carry out the required checks (such as quality, compliance or testing) using the correct procedures, processes and/or equipment

S7 – Deal promptly and effectively with problems within the limits of their responsibility using approved diagnostic methods and techniques and report those which cannot be resolved to the appropriate personnel

S8 – Complete any required documentation using the defined recording systems at the appropriate stages of the work activity

S9 – Restore the work area on completion of the activity and where applicable return any resources and consumables to the appropriate location

S10 – Identify and follow correct Metal work instructions, specifications, drawing etc.

S11 – Mark out using appropriate tools and techniques

S12 – Cut and form Metal for the production of fabricated products

S13 – Produce and assemble Metal products to required specification and quality requirements

S14 – Identify and follow correct joining instructions, specifications, drawing etc.

S15 – Carry out the relevant preparation before starting the joining fabrication activity

S16 – Set up, check, adjust and use joining and related equipment

S17 – Weld joints in accordance with approved welding procedures and quality requirements


English and Maths qualifications

Apprentices without level 2 English and maths will need to achieve this level prior to taking the End-Point Assessment.  For those with an education, health and care plan or a legacy statement, the apprenticeship’s English and maths minimum requirement is Entry Level 3. A British Sign Language (BSL) qualification is an alternative to the English qualification for those whose primary language is BSL.

Other qualifications (Title / Level)

  • Level 3 Diploma in Advanced Manufacturing Engineering (Development Knowledge); Level 3 Extended Diploma in Advanced Manufacturing Engineering (Development Knowledge) / 3

Professional recognition

IMechE – Eng Tech

IET –  Eng Tech

Royal Aeronautical Society – Eng Tech

What are the entry requirements?

Individual employers will set the recruitment and selection criteria for their Apprenticeships. In order to optimise success, candidates will typically have 4 GCSEs at Grade C/4 or equivalent, including Mathematics, English and a Science.

How often do I have to attend college?

College attendance will be required over the duration of the course and will be determined post-application.

Information for Employers

Overview of the role

Manufacturing anything that can be fabricated out of metal such as bridges, oil rigs and ships.

How is my business going to benefit from an Apprentice?

All Metal Fabricator apprentices are expected to perform the following occupational duties in the workplace:

Duty 1 Work safely at all times complying with health and safety legislation, regulations, organisational and environmental requirements

Duty 2 Plan and prepare for the METAL fabrication activities before commencing work

Duty 3 Check materials conform to the specified grades, dimensions and thicknesses identified on detailed engineering drawings

Duty 4 Use the correct methods for the moving and handling resources and materials

Duty 5 Set up, check AND adjust the equipment for use in the safe and reliable fabrication of METAL products or components and maintaining the equipment in a reliable and safe condition throughout

Duty 6 Interpret technical drawings, patterns, templates and specifications to mark out, produce and assemble complex fabricated products to meet the required specification and quality requirements

Duty 7 Use appropriate tools, equipment and techniques to shape and form (HOT or COLD) metal materials, demonstrating and applying knowledge of material properties and characteristics throughout

Duty 8 Monitor resources and activities throughout the fabrication of products or components, identifying areas for improving the production process where possible

Duty 9 Cutting, drilling, shaping and preparing METAL materials during fabrication activities using manual and power tools, thermal and laser cutting, as required calculating dimensions and tolerances using knowledge of mathematics and instruments/equipment

Duty 10 Operate appropriate tools and equipment to join metal parts using a range of mechanical fasteners and fixing techniques required by the specifications appropriate to the fabrication activity being carried out and in accordance with approved joining procedures and quality requirements

Duty 11 Operate thermal joining equipment to join metal parts using a range of appropriate techniques to the standards required by the specifications for the fabrication activity being carried out

Duty 12 Inspect and test joins for security against required standard

Duty 13 Carry out quality checks on component parts and completed assemblies

Duty 14 Deal with problems that occur within the fabrication activity in line with responsibilities of the role

Duty 15 Restore the work area and equipment to a safe and reliable condition on completion of the activity

Duty 16 Complete documentation at the appropriate stages of the work activity

All Metal Fabricator apprentices are expected to demonstrate the following behaviours in the workplace:

B1 – Personal responsibility and resilience – Comply with the health and safety guidance and procedures, be disciplined and have a responsible approach to risk, work diligently regardless of how much they are being supervised, accept responsibility for managing time and workload and stay motivated and committed when facing challenges.

B2 – Work effectively in teams – Integrate with the team, support other people, consider implications of their own actions on other people and the business whilst working effectively to get the task completed.

B3 – Effective communication and interpersonal skills – An open and honest communicator, communicates clearly using appropriate methods, listen well to others and have a positive and respectful attitude.

B4 – Focus on quality and problem solving – Follow instructions and guidance, demonstrate attention to detail, follow a logical approach to problem solving and seek opportunities to improve quality, speed and efficiency.

B5 – Continuous personal development – Reflect on skills, knowledge and behaviours and seek opportunities to develop, adapt to different situations, environments or technologies and have a positive attitude to feedback and advice.

What will this cost my business?

The introduction of the Apprenticeship Levy in April 2017 has changed the way that government funds apprenticeships in England. All businesses operating within the UK with a wage bill of over £3million are required to contribute to the Apprenticeship Levy.

  • If the levy applies to your business you will be required to pay 0.5% of your entire wage bill into the levy. This will be offset against a levy allowance worth £15,000 for each tax year.
  • You will only be able to use your levy payment for government backed apprenticeships.
  • Levy payments will expire after 18 months.

Speak to an advisor at CI Business Solutions on 01206 712727 to make your levy payments work for you.

Non-levy paying employers will need to contribute 5% of the maximum funding band as published by the Skills Funding Agency for the delivery of training and assessment for their apprenticeship.

Levy paying employers will pay the full cost of the agreed funding band using their Digital Apprenticeship account.

Employers with less than 50 employees who are recruiting an apprentice aged 16-18 years old will not be required to pay the contribution fee.

Any associated cost to the individual will be made clear at the interview.

Speak to an Advisor at CI Business Solutions on 01206 712727 to make your levy payments work for you.

Does the apprentice have to attend college?

College attendance of 1 day per week for three years will be required.

What about support in the workplace?

Skilled and knowledgeable staff must be available to support the apprentice as they complete work-based tasks.

Why should I choose Colchester Institute to support my recruitment and retention?

Colchester Institute is the largest college provider of apprenticeships in Greater Essex. We are experts at connecting the right people, to the right training, to the right business – and when it comes to Apprenticeships, our Apprenticeship Advisors can support your business every step of the way.

As part of our service we can support your business with:

  • Advertising the Apprenticeship vacancy
  • Manage the applications received in line with your individual requirements
  • Match prospective candidates already known to us
  • Conduct initial pre-screening for candidates
  • Carry out visits to your premises alongside regular reviews to support you, your staff and your apprentice
  • Advice on any grants or funding where available

Our team will provide:

  • A fee free recruitment service.
  • Personal 1:1 Apprenticeship Levy advice and guidance.
  • A dedicated Account Manager.
  • Industry experienced, professional, technical trainers.
  • Bespoke programmes available upon request.
  • An Essex priority skills focus.
  • Free employer events.

How will I be assessed?

College based assignments/examinations and accredited knowledge qualifications, work placed assessment in competency qualification. An end-point assessment takes place at the end of the apprenticeship with an independent organisation and apprentices must successfully complete this to pass the programme.

The end-point assessment will require 10 pieces of evidence from the workplace associated with metal fabrication.

***Applications for full-time courses and joint apprenticeship applications are now closed.***

What are my options?

There are a number of options available to you at this stage of the application cycle. If you are interested in an Apprenticeship and have a contract offer of employment in place then please choose the option for your age from the below:

15 – 18 years old: Complete Our Late Application Form   ***This application form should only be completed if you have an employer lined up with a contract offer. If you do not have an employer in place please see the options below***

19 years or older: Please click the ’19+ Years – How to Apply’ button located further down this course page in the section below, where you will be taken to the application form.

What if I don’t have an employer?

If you do not have a contract offer of employment from an employer in place then there a number of options still available to you:

Apply for a live Apprenticeship Vacancy

We have apprenticeship vacancies available throughout the year in a variety of industries.

View our live vacancies

Join Our Talent Pool

All you have to do is complete and submit our Talent Pool application form, attend a pre-screening assessment/interview and be available when contacted. We will then send your details along with your profile to employers looking for an apprentice, inform you if you are selected and send your guidance to prepare you for interview.

Join our Talent Pool

Access to Apprenticeships - 6 month Functional Skills and Employability programme

Access to Apprenticeships – 6 month Functional Skills and Employability programme

This course is aimed at any prospective student who wishes to progress onto an apprenticeship, but does not meet the relevant entry criteria for a course, or needs to develop the necessary work based learning skills.

Maths and English can often be seen as a barrier to success on an apprenticeship, and this programme will see students working in a supportive environment to achieve Functional Skills to a level 2 standard (GCSE 4 equivalent).

Students must have a requirement to achieve English/maths at Level 2 and will work towards achieving a Functional skill in either/both English and maths. Applicants who have already achieved a 4(C) GCSE grade in both subjects will not be accepted onto the course.

Access to Apprenticeships – Find out more

Walk-in Enrolments

We are still accepting late enrolments across most of our subject areas for both school leavers and adult learners.

What are my options?

Haven’t enrolled on a course yet? Studying somewhere else but not sure the course is for you? Studying with us but looking to swap courses?

Not a problem! Walk-in enrolments and advice about changing courses is available at both our Braintree and Colchester campuses.

If you are unsure about any of the above and would like to speak to our apprenticeships team directly then please contact us using the below:

01206 712043 – Applicant Enquiries or email:

Metal Fabricator Level 3 Apprenticeship
Course Outline: Manufacturing anything that can be fabricated out of metal such as bridges, oil rigs and ships

Starting employment as an apprentice can occur throughout the year however the start-date for attending college for training, where required, might vary depending on the type of apprenticeship and will be communicated post-employment and sign-up.

LevelLevel 3
DurationApproximately 42 Months
Campus / Adult Skills CentreColchester Campus
Start DateCourse is now closed for starts within the 2020-21 academic year. The next intake will be September 2021.
Apprenticeship Funding Band (Levy paying employers)£27,000
Employer Contribution Fee (Non-levy paying employers)£1,350

What will this cost my Business?

Non-levy paying employers will need to contribute 5% of the maximum funding band as published by the Skills Funding Agency for the delivery of training and assessment for their apprenticeship. Levy paying employers will pay the full cost of the agreed funding band using their Digital Apprenticeship account.

Apprenticeship Funding Bands

Apprenticeship Funding Bands
Employers with less than 50 employees who are recruiting an apprentice aged 16-18 years old will not be required to pay the contribution fee. Any associated cost to the individual will be made clear at the interview.


All fees, prices and funding information shown on this page are for courses starting in the 2022-23 academic year unless stated otherwise, and are correct at the time of entering/printing information, however these may be subject to change due to factors outside of our control. The College cannot accept legal or financial liability as a result of any such changes.

Courses fees are generally not confirmed for September until June / July due to the above factors.

The course information describes programmes offered by Colchester Institute. The College takes all reasonable steps to provide courses as described, but cannot guarantee provision. The information is for guidance and does not form any part of a contract.

The College reserves the right to update and amend information as and when necessary. Colchester Institute will do its best to provide the courses shown, but may have to modify or withdraw a course depending on customer demand and other factors.