Engineering operatives use hand and machine tools to do jobs across different industries.
Salary range: £14,000 to £25,000
How to become an engineering operative
You can get into this job through:
- a college course
- an apprenticeship
- applying directly
You could take a college course to learn some of the skills needed for this job. Relevant courses include:
- Level 2 Certificate in Engineering Operations
- Level 2 Diploma in Engineering
- Level 2 Diploma in Mechanical Engineering
You could also do a qualification aimed at a particular industry, for example a Level 2 Diploma in Introduction to Renewable Energy Engineering.
You may need:
- 2 or more GCSEs at grades 9 to 3 (A* to D), or equivalent, for a level 2 course
You could start by doing an engineering operative intermediate apprenticeship.
You’ll usually need:
- some GCSEs, usually including English and maths, or equivalent, for an intermediate apprenticeship
You can apply directly for vacancies. It might help if you have a few GCSEs, especially in maths, English or design and technology. You’ll usually work alongside an experienced member of staff to learn the skills to do the job.
What it takes
Skills and knowledge
- the ability to use, repair and maintain machines and tools
- knowledge of engineering science and technology
- to be thorough and pay attention to detail
- analytical thinking skills
- the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure
- maths knowledge
- the ability to work well with others
- the ability to use your initiative
- to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device
Restrictions and requirements
You’ll need to:
- have a good level of fitness
What you’ll do
Your day-to-day duties may include:
- building up components and sub-assemblies into finished electrical or mechanical products
- fitting parts to machinery and equipment
- cutting and shaping parts and tools
- operating machine tools, like lathes, grinders and borers
- using moulding machines
- setting and operating hand-controlled or computer-controlled machines
- applying finishes and surface coatings to products
- moving raw materials and finished products around the workplace
- using forklift trucks, hoists or trolleys
You could work in a factory, on a construction site or in a workshop.
Your working environment may be dusty, hot and physically demanding.
You may need to wear protective clothing.
Career path and progression
With further training, you could progress to a skilled craft-level job, and then on to technician level.