25 Aug 2023

How to find jobs in ductwork and fabrication
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Are you looking for a rewarding career in the ductwork and fabrication industries? These sectors offer a variety of jobs for those seeking growth, stability and fulfilment in bringing HVAC systems to life. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore the diverse types of jobs available in these industries, and guide you on how to navigate the path towards securing your dream job.

Jobs in ductwork

The ductwork industry plays a crucial role in construction and HVAC fields by ensuring the efficient flow of air and ventilation. They help uphold health and safety regulations in a workplace or venue, by providing the space with clean, conditioned air. Let’s explore the variety of interesting jobs in ductwork.

1. Ductwork installer

For those who enjoy hands-on work and have a keen eye for detail, pursuing a career in ductwork installation may be a great match for you. It’s also known as an HVAC installer, so be sure to seek out both terms and job specs when looking online for roles in ductwork installation. A ductwork installer specialises in fitting, assembling, and installing ventilation and ducting systems in buildings. They collaborate with engineers and contractors to guarantee the proper functioning of the duct system.

2. Ductwork designer

Have creativity and problem-solving skills? A job in ductwork design might be the right choice for you. As a ductwork designer, you’ll use your expertise to create detailed plans and specifications for ventilation systems. Computer-aided design (CAD) software will come in handy while designing duct systems that meet client and regulatory requirements.

3. Ductwork estimator

For those with a strong sense of analysis and great organisation skills, a job as a ductwork estimator can be fulfilling. Estimators evaluate project needs, analyse blueprints, and calculate material and labour costs associated with ductwork installations. Their precise estimations are essential to project planning and budgeting.

4. Ductwork maintenance technician

Those who enjoy troubleshooting and repairing systems can opt for a career as a ductwork maintenance technician. These individuals ensure that existing duct systems perform optimally and maintain high air quality standards. Their work includes inspecting, cleaning, and repairing these systems to keep them functional for the long term.

5. Ductwork project manager

As a ductwork project manager, you’ll oversee the entire lifecycle of ductwork projects, from initial planning to final installation. You’ll be responsible for coordinating teams, managing budgets (usually with an estimator), ensuring compliance with regulations, and maintaining client satisfaction. Your role will involve collaborating with various stakeholders, which may include architects, engineers, contractors, and clients, to deliver successful projects on time and within budget.

If you consider yourself highly organised and have good leadership skills, then a project management role in ductwork is the right role for you. You’ll need to create project timelines, allocate resources effectively, and monitor progress to ensure project milestones are met. Problem-solving abilities are also crucial, as you’ll be required to address any issues that may arise during the course of a project.

6. Ductwork engineer

If you want a role that gets you down to the nitty-gritty of all things ductwork, then this is it. A ductwork commissioning engineer is responsible for testing, adjusting, and balancing HVAC systems to ensure their optimal performance. Your role will involve evaluating ductwork installations, measuring airflow rates, and adjusting dampers to achieve the desired air distribution. You’ll also verify compliance with building regulations and industry standards.

A strong technical background and knowledge of HVAC systems are essential for this role, so you’ll need to be familiar with airflow measurement techniques, testing equipment, and control systems. Attention to detail is crucial when analysing data and interpreting test results too. Problem-solving skills are also important, as you’ll need to identify and rectify any issues that may affect the efficacy of a ductwork system.

7. Ductwork insulation installer

Love identifying issues with ductwork and rectifying them with a solution? A ductwork insulation installer applies insulation materials to HVAC duct systems. Your role involves measuring and cutting insulation, applying it to ductwork surfaces, and ensuring proper sealing to prevent energy loss and condensation. 

If you’ve never considered this type of role before and want to excel at it, then you should have a good understanding of insulation materials, their properties, and how they affect ducting materials. Finally, you’ll need to follow industry standards and regulations when applying insulation to achieve the desired energy efficiency and thermal performance. 

Fabrication jobs

The fabrication sector, also referred to as the metal fabrication industry, specialises in assembling, manipulating, and constructing metal structures and parts. It involves the conversion of raw metal materials into finished products through various fabrication techniques, such as cutting, welding and bending using specific tools and machinery.

So if a practical role that takes the reins on providing the building blocks for ductwork takes your fancy, then here are the types of fabrication jobs you can expect to find on job boards.

1. Welder

If you have good manual dexterity and find working with metal enjoyable, a career as a welder may be an excellent option for you. Welders join metal parts together using various welding techniques like arc welding, TIG welding, and MIG welding. They work with detailed plans, operate welding equipment, and ensure that their welds meet the high standards set by the industry.

Be sure to read about the dangers of welding fumes, and seek out employers who practise safe working practices to ensure you’re working in a healthy environment!

2. Sheet metal worker (or fabricator)

Like the idea of shaping metal into practical structures? Sheet metal workers create and install metal components, including ducts, roofs, and architectural features. They use specialised tools to cut, shape, and assemble pieces of metal sheets, demonstrating precision and meticulousness in their work. This is a great job in the fabrication industry if you’re after a challenge and have great attention to detail.

3. CNC machinist

If you have a sharp eye for detail and enjoy working with computer-controlled machinery, pursuing a career as a CNC (computer numerical control) machinist can be a rewarding choice. CNC machinists operate machinery that is controlled by computers to produce accurate metal parts. They interpret technical drawings, set up the machines, and oversee the production process. This is a great fabrication job for those who want to be involved in the fabrication process, but want to use their technical computing skills to map out designs, rather than using machinery to join metal together.

4. Metal fabrication estimator

Have a natural flair for numbers and relish analysing data? Metal fabrication estimators evaluate project requirements, assess the costs of materials, and estimate labour expenses. Their expertise is crucial in determining the feasibility and pricing of projects related to metal fabrication. Essentially, you crunch the numbers, challenge anything that could be too costly, and make things happen in accordance with strict budgets.

5. Metal fabrication welder

Want the best of both worlds? As a metal fabrication welder, you’ll combine the skills of both a welder and a fabricator. Your role will involve interpreting engineering drawings, fabricating metal components, and welding them together to create structures, equipment, or machinery. You’ll need expertise in both welding techniques and metal fabrication processes.

Attention to detail and precision are essential qualities for a metal fabrication welder. You’ll need to accurately measure, cut, and shape metal components before performing welding operations. Proficiency in welding different metals and understanding fabrication techniques, such as bending, forming, and assembly, will ensure the quality and integrity of the fabricated products.

How to find a job in ductwork

Now that we know about the types of jobs in ductwork, let’s explore how you can find the best opportunities out there.

1. Understand the different jobs in ductwork

It goes without saying that you should have an understanding of the ductwork industry before applying for roles. Even if it’s basic for an apprenticeship or entry-level job. 

Once you understand ductwork and how it works, you’ll need to understand the types of jobs in ductwork. As we’ve already established, ductwork encompasses a range of jobs, including installers, designers, maintenance technicians, estimators, project managers, commissioning engineers, fabricators, insulation installers, and much more. Each role has its unique requirements, responsibilities, and career progression opportunities. Researching the industry will help you determine which specific area of ductwork aligns with your interests and skills.

If your skills lend more to practicality and getting your hands dirty, then jobs in ductwork that involve installation and engineering may be more suitable. More of a numbers or people person? Then management or estimation is the right path for you.

2. Gain the right qualifications

To stand out in the competitive job market, acquiring the necessary skills and qualifications is essential. Our top tip is to seek out each type of ductwork job using a simple Google search and looking at the requirements. For example, for a ductwork engineer, you may be required to hold a CSCS card, as well as IPAF or PASMA. 

Depending on the role you aspire to, consider obtaining relevant certifications, diplomas, or degrees. Colleges and ductwork manufacturers may offer these qualifications in the form of courses or apprenticeships. Lastly, gaining hands-on experience through apprenticeships or entry-level positions can provide valuable practical skills that employers seek. 

3. Network

Get yourself out there and give networking a try. Networking is a powerful tool when searching for job opportunities. After all, connecting with the right person may just lead you to where you need to be. Plus, you meet interesting people who can give you an account of their first-hand experience getting into ductwork.

Connect with professionals in the ductwork industry by attending industry conferences, seminars, or trade shows. Engage in conversations, ask questions, and express your interest in pursuing a career in ductwork. Joining industry associations or organisations such as the Heating and Ventilating Contractors Association (HVCA) or The Association of Ductwork Contractors and Allied Services (ADCAS) can provide networking opportunities, access to resources, and job listings.

4. Sign up for job sites 

Online job platforms such as Indeed, LinkedIn, or Totaljobs are excellent resources for finding job opportunities in the ductwork industry. Customise your search criteria to filter for ductwork-related roles, including keywords like “ductwork installer” or “HVAC technician”. Additionally, explore industry-specific websites or job boards that focus on HVAC or engineering roles. These platforms often feature specialised job listings that can provide a targeted approach to your job search.

5. Engage with Recruitment Agencies:

To really cast your job search net-wide, you’ll need to seek out recruitment agencies in the field. Recruitment agencies specialising in engineering or construction can be valuable tools in your job search. They have industry knowledge, and connections with employers and can get your CV and cover letter over to the right people. Again, they’ll have the expertise on how to craft your job application and even offer interview advice to increase your chances of landing a job.

How to get fabrication jobs

Our tips to get a fabrication job aren’t too dissimilar from getting a job in ductwork. However, there are some key differences, such as the type of networking opportunities and associations. Here are all the ways to get a job in the fabrication industry.

1. Understand what fabrication entails

Before starting your job search, it is essential to familiarise yourself with the fabrication industry and its different sectors. Fabrication encompasses a variety of different roles, including welders, sheet metal fabricators, CNC machinists, pipefitters, and much more. Research each type of role in fabrication in great detail, and take to job boards to find out what distinguishes each role, responsibilities and their respective requirements.

2. Get the right skills 

To stand out in the competitive job market, it’s crucial to acquire the necessary skills and qualifications. Depending on the fabrication role you are interested in, you’ll need to gain certain qualifications. Say, for example, you wanted to be a welder, there are different types of welding that each have their own certification and assessment. We’d also recommend gaining work experience within a fabrication-based role or conducting shadowing work to find out if the type of fabrication role is right for you. 

3. Network again

Yes, this has popped up on our list again because networking is incredibly important no matter what job you work in! Just like with ductwork, we recommend finding industry events and groups where you can network, such as industry associations or organisations like the Welding Institute or the British Engineering Manufacturers’ Association (BEMA).

4. Research potential employers

Thoroughly research potential employers in the fabrication industry. In particular, you should explore companies specialising in engineering, manufacturing, construction, or metal fabrication. Visit their websites, review their portfolios, and familiarise yourself with their projects and values. Understanding a company’s culture and values will help you customise your applications and showcase your alignment with their objectives during the hiring process.

5. Have an online presence

In today’s digital age, having a strong online presence can significantly enhance your job prospects. Create a professional LinkedIn profile that highlights your skills, experience, and achievements in fabrication. You can post photos of your fabrication work such as welding or a finished product, and join industry-related groups and engage in conversations to expand your network. Share relevant articles or insights, coupled with your thoughts and expertise, to establish yourself in fabrication. After all, your online presence can be its very own CV!

We hope this has given you tons of insight into the types of jobs in ductwork and fabrication jobs. Have more questions? Contact Airmatic and we’d be happy to help answer any questions you may have on the ductwork, fabrication and manufacturing industries.

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