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Scrap metal worker Scrap yard worker, scrap burner, scrap dealer

Scrap metal workers weigh, sort and grade scrap metal ready for recycling, disposal or resale.

Salary, a pound sign Salary: £14,500 to £22,000 average per year
Hours, a clock face Hours: 40 per week

1. Entry requirements

There are no set entry requirements, but you’ll need basic maths for working out buying and selling prices.

For some jobs you’ll need to have a forklift licence. You may also need a welding qualification for cutting down longer lengths of metal, like railway lines and girders.

2. Skills required

You’ll need:

  • practical skills to operate machinery
  • number skills
  • teamworking skills

3. What you'll do

Your day-to-day duties may include: 

  • weighing scrap metal on a weigh bridge or platform
  • sorting and grading scrap
  • recording details and filling in paperwork
  • working out payments for customers
  • cutting up large items by hand, using welding equipment
  • operating machinery to crush, shred or burn scrap
  • moving scrap bales to storage areas with a crane or forklift truck
  • loading lorries to take away scrap
  • collecting scrap items from customers and making deliveries 

4. Salary

Starter: £14,500 to £17,000

Experienced: £18,000 to £20,000

Highly Experienced: £22,000 (yard supervisor)

These figures are a guide.

5. Working hours, patterns and environment

You’ll usually work up to 40 hours a week. Casual work is often available.

The work can be physically demanding and you’ll be outside in all weathers.

6. Career path and progression

With experience you could become a yard manager or set up your own scrap metal or recycling business.

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Last updated: 09 October 2018