How to become a... Steel Fixer Apprentice

Last updated: 05 July 2016

How to become a... Steel Fixer Apprentice

Why do we need these roles on the Thames Tideway Tunnel project?

In total we are building over 25 kilometres of new tunnel under London. We need a wide range of people to work on the project and steel fixers are an important part of the team. 

What will I be doing?

Steel fixers position and secure the steel bars and mesh that are used in reinforced concrete on construction projects. You will cut, bend and fix steel using mechanical tools called nips and will work to verbal instructions and from specifications you are given. You will be working on a tunnel construction site, outside and in all weathers. Working safely is a priority and you need to be able to understand and apply safe working practices at all times.

A typical day

You will normally work a 40 hour week and there are often overtime opportunities to meet project deadlines. Steel fixing work is shift based, so you can expect to work at night sometimes and you may need to stay away from home if you need to move from site to site. You will be working within a team of people, reporting to a foreman who is in charge of your shift.

Many steel fixers begin by helping on site, fetching and carrying tools. They are taught how to use the tools and how to tie steel, working towards their NVQ by demonstrating competence at the tasks they are shown.

Useful interests and qualities

Good communication skills and a cheerful, positive attitude are important. You must be ready to take orders from the foreman and be willing to work hard and seize opportunities to learn and develop your skills.

You will need a good level of general fitness as steel fixing is a physical job and it is useful to have a good head for heights and depths. There are no formal academic entry requirements, but a good level of maths and English is useful as you progress towards your NVQ level two in steel fixing operations.

Pay and prospects

Starting pay for a trainee is between £12,000 and £16,000 per year and experienced fixers normally earn between £17,000 and £27,000 per year. 

Next steps

Steel fixing apprenticeships may be offered by our construction contractors as they are appointed. We will update this PDF when this happens, which will be during 2015.


We’re committed to ensuring access to opportunities for groups underrepresented in the workforce in terms of their ethnicity, gender and disability so please, give it a go if you have the skills and aptitude.