Foundry process operators make metal castings and parts used in industry.
Salary range: £15,000 to £25,000
How to become a foundry process operator
You can get into this job through:
- a college course
- an apprenticeship
- applying directly
You can do an engineering course at college, which may help when you start looking for work. Courses include:
- Level 1 Certificate in Skills for Engineering
- Level 1 Diploma In Engineering and Manufacturing
- Level 2 Certificate in Engineering
There are no set entry requirements for this route but it may help you to get in if you have:
- 2 or fewer GCSEs at grades 3 to 1 (D to G), or equivalent, for a level 1 course
- 2 or more GCSEs at grades 9 to 3 (A* to D), or equivalent, for a level 2 course
You can complete an engineering operative intermediate apprenticeship or a metal casting and foundry technician advanced apprenticeship.
You’ll usually need:
- some GCSEs, usually including English and maths, or equivalent, for an intermediate apprenticeship
- 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English and maths, for an advanced apprenticeship
You can apply to foundries for work if you’ve got experience in engineering, factory production or metal fabrication.
What it takes
Skills and knowledge
- the ability to work well with your hands
- knowledge of manufacturing production and processes
- to be thorough and pay attention to detail
- the ability to work well with others
- the ability to use your initiative
- patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
- concentration skills
- 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
What you’ll do
Your day-to-day duties may include:
- controlling the furnaces that melt metal
- putting together wax patterns used in castings
- transferring molten metal from the furnace to moulds
- operating die casting machines
- grinding surplus metal off castings with abrasive wheels
- using shot blasting machinery to clean castings
You could work in a foundry workshop.
Your working environment may be hot and physically demanding.
You may need to wear protective clothing.
Career path and progression
You can move into supervisory jobs or more skilled foundry work, like pattern making, moulding or coremaking.
With further training, you could switch to other areas of engineering, like welding, metal fabrication or industrial blacksmithing.