Engineering craft machinists use lathes, cutters and grinders to make parts used in manufacturing and engineering.
Salary range: £13,500 to £30,000
How to become an engineering craft machinist
You can get into this job through:
- a college course
- an apprenticeship
- working towards this role
You can do a college course, which will teach you some of the skills you’ll need in this job. Courses include:
- Level 2 Certificate in Engineering Operations
- Level 2 Diploma in Engineering
- Level 3 Diploma in Engineering Technology
You’ll usually need:
- 2 or more GCSEs at grades 9 to 3 (A* to D), or equivalent, for a level 2 course
- 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, for a level 3 course
You can start on an engineering operative intermediate apprenticeship and become a craft machinist once you get more experience.
You’ll usually need:
- some GCSEs, usually including English and maths, or equivalent, for an intermediate apprenticeship
You can join a company as a general engineering operative and train on the job to become a craft machinist.
You can find out more about engineering careers from Tomorrow’s Engineers.
What it takes
Skills and knowledge
- the ability to use, repair and maintain machines and tools
- the ability to work well with your hands
- knowledge of maths
- to be thorough and pay attention to detail
- the ability to operate and control equipment
- the ability to use your initiative
- knowledge of manufacturing production and processes
- observation and recording skills
- to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device
What you’ll do
Your day-to-day duties may include:
- choosing the correct machine tool for a particular job
- planning the work steps following engineering instructions
- setting tolerance levels on machines
- working out cutting speeds
- placing pre-formed parts in a lathe, or on the bed of a mill or grinder
- monitoring a job’s progress
- checking the quality of finished items
You could work in a factory or in a workshop.
Your working environment may be noisy.
You may need to wear safety clothing and use safety equipment.
Career path and progression
You could become a shift supervisor of a production section or whole workshop. With further training, you may be able to work as an engineering technician.
Your engineering craft skills will be useful in lots of different industries from aerospace to car manufacturing, so you may be able to specialise in one area or move between them, as your experience grows.