A glazier measures, cuts and fits glass or transparent parts, such as window panes, mirrors or security screens, into a building. A glazier may specialise in, for instance, window fixing, double glazing, glass roofs or lead light and ornamental glass.
You could be:
checking drawings or patterns to make sure the plan is correct
choosing the most suitable kind of glass, for example plate, security, opaque, ornamental, mirror
measuring and choosing suitable pre-cut sections of glass
removing all traces of old glass before fitting the new glass pane
scoring through and breaking old panes and removing them in sections, using pliers to dislodge sharp fragments
removing old beading (wooden or ornamental edging) and chipping away and clearing old putty
using suction pads to fit the glass into the frame and using putty, rubber strips or wooden beading to secure it
fitting pre-glazed units which come already set into wooden, metal or UPVC frames – this may involve fitting hinges or handles and drilling and screwing the unit directly into the brickwork
involved in manufacturing double glazing units or timber framed windows.
The figures below are only a guide. Actual pay rates may vary, depending on:
where you work
the size of the company or organisation you work for
the demand for the job.
There is a minimum wage for apprentices in Scotland. As of June 2022 the Building and Allied Trades Joint Industrial Council (BATJIC) rates for a 2-year apprenticeship based on a 39-hour week are:
Year 1 – £219.87 (£5.64 an hour)
Year 2 – £292.61 (£7.50 an hour).
Please note these rates may vary if the Apprentice is 21 years old or over and has completed the first year of their apprenticeship. National Minimum Wage (NMW) and National Living Wage (NLW) will apply.
A fully qualified glazier can expect to earn between £15,000 to around £23,000 a year. This can rise to around £26,000 a year or more for senior or master glaziers. Employers may give allowances for travel and cost of lodgings. Overtime may be available. Self-employed glaziers negotiate their own rates.
You work both indoors and outdoors, often at heights, on scaffolding, from a suspended cradle or sometimes on a roof.
There is a risk of injury to yourself or others.
Glass panes can be large, heavy and difficult to manage.
You wear protective clothing: hard hat and footwear, and sometimes, goggles, gloves, wrist- and ear-protectors.
You will sometimes have to use special equipment like diamond or wheel cutters. If you are working with larger scale installations you would work with large machinery such as a crane to lift and position glass sections into place.
You will work irregular hours and be on call evenings and weekends.
You would probably work 39-40 hours a week. You might have to travel to work and spend some time away from home.
The normal entry route is through a Modern Apprenticeship with an employer.
You do not always need formal qualifications, but some employers may ask for subjects at National 4 or 5 including English, Maths and a technological subject.
You could study the Foundation Apprenticeship in Construction (SCQF Level 4 or 5) in S3-S6, which can help to get into a relevant Modern Apprenticeship.
You usually have to sit an aptitude test as part of the application process.
A driving licence is often needed.
You need to hold a Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS) card or equivalent to be able to work on a construction site. You must pass a health and safety test to qualify for this scheme.
Openings are mainly in glazing firms involved either in new building or in replacing broken panes. Firms vary from small one or two person outfits to organisations employing large numbers. Some firms specialise in a particular area such as conservatories or double glazing.
What Does it Take?
You need to have:
a sense of responsibility and awareness of health and safety
a careful, accurate, methodical approach
an eye for detail
patience and the ability to concentrate well
a strong and steady hand, a good head for heights and a good sense of balance.
You need to be able to:
understand plans and diagrams
know about different types of glass and materials
follow written and verbal instructions
measure accurately and calculate quantities
work neatly and tidily – even a small sliver of glass can cause injury.
Training during an apprenticeship is mainly on the job with off the job training at college. You would work towards a relevant SVQ including Glazing or Fenestration Installation at SCQF Level 5.
You could update your skills and qualifications by studying for an SVQ at SCQF Level 6 or 7.
With experience, in a large company, you can move into a supervisory post.
You might move into specialised glazing work, for instance in historic buildings or churches.
You might become self-employed.
For more information please see the list of organisations below: