Recycled metals worker

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Recycled metals workers grade, sort, clean and bale scrap metal for recycling.

Salary range: £13,500 to £25,000

How to become a recycled metals worker

You can get into this job through:

  • an apprenticeship
  • applying directly


You can start by doing a metal recycling operative intermediate apprenticeship.

Entry requirements

You’ll usually need:

  • some GCSEs, usually including English and maths, or equivalent, for an intermediate apprenticeship

More information

Direct application

You do not need any particular qualifications to apply for jobs although GCSEs in English and maths can be useful.

Experience in metal working, operating a crane or forklift truck, or order picking on a production line may give you an advantage.

More information

Further information

You can find out more about training to work in recycling from the British Metals Recycling Association and Talent Source Network.

What it takes

Skills and knowledge

You’ll need:

  • the ability to operate and control equipment
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • the ability to work well with others
  • to be flexible and open to change
  • the ability to use, repair and maintain machines and tools
  • the ability to work well with your hands
  • knowledge of manufacturing production and processes
  • observation and recording skills
  • to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device

Restrictions and requirements

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

What you’ll do

Day-to-day tasks

Your day-to-day duties may include:

  • weighing and recording metal collections
  • grading and sorting metal, by hand or machine
  • shredding scrap metal into pieces using hydraulic shears and cutters
  • cleaning scrap metal
  • using machines to crush the scrap into bales
  • operating lift trucks or cranes to stack or load sorted metal
  • driving lorries to collect or deliver recycled metal

Working 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 and progression

You could become a shift supervisor or manager after getting experience.

You could also become self-employed and start your own recycling business.

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