What they do
Electroplaters (metal platers) coat metal plates and objects, such as car bodies, with a protective layer of metal to prevent rust or create a decorative finish. They start by cleaning the item to be plated and covering areas not to be plated with resistant wax or tape. Then they dip the item into or brush it with a plating solution, pass electric currents through the plating solution to oxidise the item, and finally remove and dry the freshly-plated item.
Electroplaters work in large metal or electronic manufacturing plants and small parts workshops. They work with chemicals and electricity, and are exposed to toxic fumes, all of which can be dangerous. Their work environment can also be noisy and dirty, but should be well-ventilated and lit.
Tools and technologies
Electroplaters use acids, alkalis, waxes, lacquers, tapes, metal solutions and other chemicals to clean, treat and plate metal parts. They use a range of plating equipment, such as tanks and baths, as well as brushes and drum washers. Due to their working conditions, electroplaters are required to wear protective clothing, gloves, goggles and earmuffs.
How do I become one?
Education and training
To become an electroplater you usually need to undertake a traineeship or an apprenticeship. The production systems (general engineering) (level 3) traineeship usually takes 36 months to complete. The engineering tradesperson fabrication apprenticeship usually takes 42 to 48 months to complete and is available as a school-based apprenticeship.
Apprenticeships and traineeships
As an apprentice or trainee, you enter into a formal training contract with an employer, enabling you to complete training towards a nationally recognised qualification. You spend time working and learning practical skills on the job and you spend some time undertaking structured training with a registered training provider.
You can do an apprenticeship or traineeship if you are a school-leaver, re-entering the workforce or as an adult or mature-aged person wishing to change careers. You can even begin your apprenticeship or traineeship while you're still at school.
If you are still at school you can access an apprenticeship through your school. Talk to your school's VET Co-ordinator to start your training now through VET in Schools. If you are no longer at school you can apply for an apprenticeship or traineeship and get paid while you learn and work.