Apprenticeship – Metal Fabrication

Metal Fabricators are also recognized as Shipfitters. They with ferrous and non-ferrous metals, including plate and structural steel sections, to produce or repair component parts for bridges, buildings, towers, platforms, steel stairs, and hand rails or other assemblies and structures made from steel. Fabricating pressure vessels, structural steel, boilers, tank shells, chutes, hoppers, stacks, and other heavy steel components on a custom-made basis often including the fitting and installation of components for process equipment.

Scroll down or click on the year to see an overview of the technical and skills training you will receive on -the-job as a Metal Fabrication Apprentice.

Safety trainings and Additional Resources are listed following Year 4. Remember that before becoming an Apprentice in this trade you will need to have completed your Metal Fabrication Foundations Certificate at an accredited learning institution.

Year 1 > Year 2 > Year 3 > Year 4 > Safety and Additional Trainings > Additional Resources

Year 1 Overview

  • Introduction to the Trade
  • Blueprint Reading
  • Burning and Welding
  • Material Handling
  • Plate Development
  • Safe Working Practices
  • Shop Equipment
  • Structural Layout
  • Structuring and Plate Fabrication
  • Surface Preparation and Finishing
  • Trade Mathematics
  • Trade Tools

In Year 1 you will also learn about erection of ladders and scaffolds, identification and use of slings, hooks, hoists, jacks, rollers, roller conveyors, ropes, and cables, hand signals for crane operation, weight of loads, stick welding, metal inert gas (MIG) wire feed welding, and Tungsten inert gas theory, determination of work procedures and operations sequence, material recognition and selection factors, lay-Out of structural steel fabrications and plate work, development and application of patterns, models, and templates.

Year 2 – Overview

  • Blueprint Reading
  • Burning and Welding
  • Material Handling
  • Plate and Structural Fabrication
  • Plate Development
  • Shop Equipment
  • Structural Layout
  • Trade Mathematics

In Year 2 you will also learn visual, dimensional, mechanical, pressure and non-destructive examination techniques, codes for structural steel, treatment of steel, transit and leveling tools.

Year 3 Overview

  • Automated Equipment
  • Blueprint Reading
  • Plate and Structural Fabrications
  • Plate Development
  • Safe Working Practices
  • Shop Equipment
  • Structural Layout
  • Trade Mathematics

Year 3 also includes codes, math, trigonometry.

Year 4 Overview

  • Automated Equipment
  • Blueprint Reading
  • Metallurgy and Testing
  • Plate and Structural Fabrication
  • Plate Development
  • Testing and Inspection
  • Trade Mathematics

Year 4 also includes metallurgy and testing, plate and structural fabrication.

Safety and Additional Training Years 1-4 with recertification as required

  • Aluminum Experience
  • Anodes
  • Basic Woodwork
  • Block Setting
  • Dimensional control/transit/diagonals
  • Docking Procedures
  • Fiberglass Construction
  • Forming Steel
  • Freehand Oxy-Fuel Cutting
  • Hawse Pipe
  • Inserts
  • Insulating
  • Jig Making
  • Layout
  • Lofting
  • Material Recognition
  • Other Specialized Tasks
  • Plate Cutting and Edge
  • Radius
  • Rubber
  • Scrapping/Cropping Out
  • Ship Building Terminology
  • Shoring and Cribbing
  • Template Making
  • Confined Space Procedures
  • Fall Arrest
  • Fire watch
  • Forklift
  • Hot Work Permit
  • Lock out
  • Man aloft procedure awareness and lock-out (military procedure)(not all shipyards)
  • Manlift
  • OFA #1
  • Overhead Crane Training (not all shipyards)
  • Respirator fit test
  • Spill response awareness and procedures
  • Torch Procedures
  • Liquid Tracking
  • QA Forms, apprenticeship final year (not all shipyards)
  • Shop Forms, apprenticeship final year (not all shipyards)
  • SMC Environment Policy
  • Tagging, completing correctly for repair

Additional Resources


Available in your local or college/technical institute library

  • Basic Technical Mathematics, Delmar Publishers. ISBN 0-8273-4641.
  • Boilermaker Manual ITAC, Queens Printer 1998
  • Handbook for Riggers by W.G. Newberry, pub. Newberry Investments Co. Ltd. ISBN 0-9690-1541-0.
  • Handbook of Steel Construction, pub. Canadian Institute of Steel Construction, 2006.
  • Individual Learning Modules (ILM’s) from your technical training.
  • IPT’s Guide to Blueprint Interpretation by Jacobs, IPT Publishing. ISBN 0-9208-5542-3.
  • IPT’s Metal Trades Handbook, IPT Publishing and Training Ltd. ISBN 0-9208-5538-X or IPT’s Metal Trades Training Manual by Garby and Ashton, pub. IPT Publishing and Training. ISBN 0-9208-5532
  • Measurements and Calculations for the Trades Skillplan,
  • Metalwork Technology and Practice by V. Repp, pub. Glencoe. ISBN 0-0267-6486-5.
  • Russel Metals Reference Book
  • Welding Print Reading by Walker, Goodheart – Wilcox Publishers. ISBN 1-5907-0642 or Blueprint Reading for Welders, Delmar Publishers.

Metal Fabrication & Shipfitter Unions:

Definitions & Information Links to Red Seal, Industry Training Authority and Accredited Learning Institutions are available on the lower section of the Apprenticeships Programs home page.