Do you fancy a career as a window fitter? As is the case with any job, getting yourself onto the ladder can be a real ‘pane’, but thankfully we have put together this quick guide to help make things a little.
First things first, what is a window fitter?
Also known as a ‘glazier’ they are people who specialise in the installation of glass into windows, doors and other things with panes of glass. That’s a very basic definition of the role, but as is usually the case, the reality of the role is much more complex than its name would suggest.
What are the work activities?
Obviously the fitting of panes of glass occupies the majority of a glazier / window fitter’s time, but hand in hand with this comes a wide array of activities which are essential to the successful completion of the task. Some of the things that you could be expected to carry put on a daily basis are;
- Selecting panes of glass which are suitable for the job, taking into consideration a number of factors including; colour, thickness, size etc.
- Removing old glass and preparing the area for the installation of new panes.
- Accurate cutting of glass to ensure that it is the correct shape for the job
- Carefully moving small and large panes of glass with the use of suction pads (and with the help of teammates) when necessary.
- The reading of plans and blueprints and being able to follow the instructions they detail
- Making sure that all window panes are completely watertight
- Fabricating and installing moldings and sashes
As is the case with most trades, there is a significant range of varied skills needed to forge out a successful career as a glazier / window fitter. There is however no ‘recipe or the perfect window fitter’ but there are certain skills and attributes which, when combined, could help get your career off to the best possible start. Some of these include;#
- The ability and desire to work in a role which involves a fairly high level of physical activity.
- A head for heights – since you will often be in the position where you are fitting windows in buildings with several floors, it can be helpful to be someone who is comfortable working high above the ground.
- You must be someone who has a clear and methodical approach to your work. Much of the glass fitting process requires that you follow a number of essential steps which will ensure the accurate and safe completion of the job.
- The ability to read diagrams and blueprints and follow accurately the instruction which they outline.
- A solid understanding of mathematics with a particular flair for fields such as geometry, which will come in handy during your day to day activities.
- An appreciation of the dangers of the role and an understanding of the need to work always within safety guidelines and regulations
- Good communication skills of which verbal will be particularly important.
- The ability and desire to work both individually and as a member of a team
Work environment, Hours and rate of Pay
If you wish to work as a window fitter you must be someone who is comfortable with working both indoors and outdoors and in all weather conditions. In the UK that means that at various times of the year you could be faced with pelting rain, icy winds, scorching sun and pretty much anything else that the great British weather decides to throw at you.
It is a role where you will be expected to travel to various different locations including domestic residences, businesses, offices etc and could require a significant amount of travel on a daily basis. There could also be times when you are expected to work away from home for short periods of time therefore it is important that you are someone who is comfortable with this (although this is largely dependent on the company that you work for)
The hours that you will be expected to work will of course be largely dependent on the company that you work for and the terms of your contract. However it is generally the case in the UK that glaziers work, what could be described as a fairly typical working week. You will normally be contracted for around 37.5 hours per week, with working hours typically falling within the 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday window. There may be times though, when you are expected to provide ‘emergency cover’ where a window / pane of glass requires immediate repair. In cases such as this you may be required to work anti-social hours including evenings and weekends so you should be aware of this and make sure you are in a position to fulfill this element of your role, should the situation arise.
The rate of pay that you can expect to receive in the role of window fitter is also very much dependent on the company that you are working for, the number of hours that you work and the level of experience / expertise that you hold. You can expect that with increasing seniority your salary will increase accordingly.
At the beginning of your career you could be expected to receive a salary of around £13,000 – £15,000 per annum with this increasing to £23,000 + with many years experience and well honed expertise. These figures are only intended as a guide, so be sure to check with relevant employers before applying for a role.
Much of the training involved in becoming a window fitter is completed ‘on the job’ so not all employers will require any formal qualifications for those entering their business as trainees or apprentices. Many employers will however set out a minimum requirement that you have worked on a construction site before – but this is by no means set in stone.
There are also some appropriate apprenticeship schemes in construction which could be a suitable way into a career as a window fitter, though the availability of these vary depending on your location so be sure to check which are available in your area.
Qualifications and Training
It will come as no surprise that there is quite a high level of training involved for those who wish to pursue a career as a window fitter. Once you have secured a position, there are a number of qualifications which you can complete, either as a requirement of your employer or to better your career potential. These could include;
- Level 2/3 (NVQ) Certificate in Glazing.
- Level 2 (NVQ) Diploma in Fenestration Installation
- Level 2 (NVQ) Diploma in Fire Resistant Glazing
- Level 3 (NVQ) Certificate/Diploma in Fenestration Surveying.
These qualifications are adminstered and overseen by the Glass qualifications authority, so be sure to check out their website http://www.gqaqualifications.com/qualifications/ for loads more information and to check availablity.
If you still fancy a career as a glazier / window fitter, good luck and we hope that you have found this quick guide useful, if not then you might like to take a look at some of the other great careers in our career directory.