Welding Skills/Qualifications

  1. fused New Member

    Messages:
    8
    Ipswich, UK
    Hi, I'm looking to learn to weld to a safe and competent level, mostly automotive, but I might want to try and get in touch with my creative side at some point too.

    So far I have a small Clarke 109E MIG welder that I brought a few years ago that I have used to patch up a couple of motorcycle exhausts, and some other small repairs that have come up over the years. I also picked up a new Clarke stick welder a couple of months ago for next to nothing, but not had much chance to use it yet. I gained a basic knowledge of welding from youtube, and this website (Thanks! :thumbup:), but I still very much consider myself a novice.

    At the moment I don't have plans to become a full time welder, but I would like to be able to competently and confidently take on work here and there, and start my own projects.

    Are City & Guilds qualifications the best place to start? Level 1 would be 3 hours 1 day a week which I think runs for 10 weeks, and I think about the same for level 2 & 3. Each level of the course costs £680 and I would want to at least do the first 2 levels. Worthwhile? The alternative options that I have found are a 1 day course (£150), distance learning (£?), or go to college full time for a year or 2 (£630py) but is probably a bit unrealistic really.

    Thanks
     
  2. cumbriasteve

    cumbriasteve Moderator

    Messages:
    9,660
    Location:
    Cumbria UK
    I would guess a lot of the guys here who turn out some amazing work have attended no courses, the internet is awash with videos of welding and it's skill.

    I certainly would not be considering a distance learning course, to me that just seems silly and nothing more than someone selling you what you can find yourself.

    City and Guids is nice to have but it's only really nice to have if you are applying for a job that requires it, a lot of the time you are paying for you may already know or never use.

    Studying what is freely available both in text and video, coupled perhaps with a couple of hours of someone local in exchange for beer tokens for some fine tuning and there is no reason why you should not reach a competent standard.

    Of course if you plan in the future to weld for a living then many occupations require certification, there are still many that don't but those are mostly boring factory assembly jobs tacking to a certain standard and knowing or doing anything further out of the equation.
     
    fused, Parm and slim_boy_fat like this.
  3. fused New Member

    Messages:
    8
    Ipswich, UK
    Thanks for the reply Steve. I don't know anyone local that I can give beer tokens, so I thinks I'll probably go for the one day course for the fine tuning, and just spend a bit more time practicing, reading these forums and watching youtube videos.
     
  4. Arclikeharrypotter Member

    Messages:
    1,050
    Location:
    Northampton
    Personally I'd save that money for now, pick up some practice material in the sort of thickness and what you're looking to weld and have a play. Use YouTube and the wealth of knowledge on here, post pictures and ask questions. If you're still a little unsure then have a think about a different approach
     
  5. addjunkie

    addjunkie Member

    Messages:
    5,466
    Location:
    Northumberland. Reet oot in the sticks
    Spend the 680 on a decent quality machine, and get some suitable clean shiney metal to practice on. A decent mask, and decent quality machine, make learning far easier.
     
    Ian James and slim_boy_fat like this.
  6. scottonthefen Member

    Messages:
    22
    Location:
    England
    I did City and Guilds Level 1 with MIG. It amounts to about 30hrs welding and plenty of opportunity to pick your tutor's brains. When I'd done it I felt ready to start my Land Rover chassis repairs and have been making ok progress. I'm very glad I did the Level 1. When I've done with my chassis (and bulkhead! :D) I would be interested in doing a Level 2, or the level 1 again with TIG.. We'll see.

    That said, I do agree with what people have said above. If you've got money for a course, OR a better welder and gear, go for the better welder and gear and leave the course for now. Doing the course and having to have a cheap welder isn't the best trade off.
     
  7. fused New Member

    Messages:
    8
    Ipswich, UK
    Thanks for all of the advice. I'm looking at getting a R-Tec 180mig to learn with, after reading on here that they are very good. Would 6 or 8mm wire be best to learn with? I have this place just around the corner from me https://www.boconline.co.uk/shop/en/uk/gas/welding-gas, which gas do I need?

    Thanks
     
  8. Burdekin

    Burdekin Chief Bodger

    Messages:
    4,820
    Location:
    Aberdeen
    The courses are a lot more down your way, they’ve even gone up a fair bit up here: https://nescol.ac.uk/courses/engineering/welding

    I wanted to get a load of tig welding practice in as I just do bits here and there as a hobby welder these days so enrolled in the course I linked to above. It was excellent for me, I just rocked up and went at it for 3hrs each night. The teachers gave me some great tips and actually both of the teachers were excellent tig welders with a load of industry experience. I think a good college course is a good idea and when you are there get stuck in, do as much welding as you can, listen to the teachers, ask loads of questions, meet other folk who have similar interests and see how much you enjoy it.
     
  9. fused New Member

    Messages:
    8
    Ipswich, UK
    Thanks I will be looking into courses again later this year if all goes well.

    I popped into the BOC place near me today, and the gas bottles have to be rented for something like £10 a month which is not the route that I wan't to go. Anyone know where I can buy a gas bottle? I'm thinking I need argoshield universal while I'm learning?
     
  10. addjunkie

    addjunkie Member

    Messages:
    5,466
    Location:
    Northumberland. Reet oot in the sticks
    fused likes this.
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