Metal Worker Kaimahi Maitai

Metal workers make patterns and moulds for metal castings, heat and hammer metal into shape, and repair metal parts and equipment.

Metal workers may do some or all of the following:

  • read, interpret and create design drawings
  • build plugs (plastic replicas), and then produce patterns from materials such as wood, fibreglass and metal
  • make moulds
  • use new technology such as 3D printing and CNC pattern making 
  • heat and melt metal and pour it into moulds or hammer and cut it to shape
  • remove castings from moulds when they have cooled
  • inspect, test and repair metal castings
  • temper, harden, polish and coat the final metal product.


To become a farrier you need to do an apprenticeship and gain a Certificate in Farriery Practice from the New Zealand Farriers Association.

Physical Requirements

Metal workers need to have good eyesight (with or without corrective lenses). They also need to be reasonably fit, strong and healthy.

Useful Experience

Useful experience for metal workers includes:

  • foundry work
  • work experience in an industrial workshop
  • work with plastics, wood and metals.

Personal Qualities

Metal workers need to be:

  • creative
  • accurate and patient
  • good at making calculations
  • well organised
  • safety-conscious, and able to follow instructions
  • able to work well independently and as part of a team.


Metal workers need to have knowledge of:

  • metals, woods, clays, plastics and resins
  • technical plans and drawings
  • casting 
  • sands, paints and coatings used in moulding
  • the use and care of metal working equipment.


Metal workers:

  • usually work regular business hours, but may be required to work overtime to meet deadlines
  • work in industrial workshops, or ferrous (iron) or non-ferrous (aluminium and brass) foundries
  • often work in hot, noisy and dusty conditions.

Subject Recommendations

A minimum of three years of secondary education is recommended. Useful subjects include maths, English, science, construction and mechanical technologies, processing technologies, design and visual communication, physics, chemistry, or Level 1 and Level 2 engineering unit standards.




Metal Workers can earn around $23-$29 per hour.

Chances of getting a job as a Metal Worker are good due to a shortage of people interested in this type of work.

Pay for metal workers varies depending on experience, specialisation and employer.

  • Apprentices usually start on the training or adult minimum wage, with pay increasing as they pick up skills or complete unit standards.
  • Qualified or experienced metal workers can earn up to $29 an hour. Overtime payments may increase their earnings.

Source: Competenz, 2017. 

Metal workers may progress into supervisory or sales roles, or start their own foundries.

They usually specialise in an area such as:

Blacksmiths shape metal by heating and hammering it. They produce or repair metal articles.
Electroplaters coat metal articles, and coat articles made of other materials with a film of metal.
Farriers inspect, trim and shape the hooves of horses, as well as making and fitting horseshoes.
Metal Casting Worker
Metal casting workers produce original patterns and moulds that are used to make metal castings.
Metal Polisher
Metal polishers polish metals to give them smooth, reflective or other finishes.

Years Of Training

4 years of training usually required.

To become a metal worker you need to complete an apprenticeship and gain a New Zealand Certificate in Mechanical Engineering (Trade) (Level 4) with Metal Forming strand.

Metal Worker