Toolmakers make the precision tools that are used in manufacturing to create products and parts.
Salary range: £15,000 to £30,000
How to become a toolmaker
You can get into this job through:
- a college course
- an apprenticeship
- working towards this role
You could start by doing a college course to learn some of the skills you’ll need in this job. Courses include:
- Level 1 Certificate in Engineering Technologies
- Level 2 Certificate in Engineering Operations
- Level 2 Diploma in Engineering
You may need:
- 2 or fewer GCSEs at grades 3 to 1 (D to G), or equivalent, for a level 1 course
- 2 or more GCSEs at grades 9 to 3 (A* to D), or equivalent, for a level 2 course
You can complete an engineering operative intermediate apprenticeship or an engineering technician advanced apprenticeship.
You’ll usually need:
- some GCSEs, usually including English and maths, or equivalent, for an intermediate apprenticeship
- 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English and maths, for an advanced apprenticeship
You can start as an engineering operative in a workshop or factory and do further training on the job to specialise in toolmaking.
You can find out more about careers in engineering from Tomorrow’s Engineers.
What it takes
Skills and knowledge
- the ability to use, repair and maintain machines and tools
- knowledge of engineering science and technology
- design skills and knowledge
- knowledge of maths
- to be thorough and pay attention to detail
- the ability to use your initiative
- the ability to work well with your hands
- the ability to analyse quality or performance
- to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently
What you’ll do
Your day-to-day tasks may include:
- working with 2D and 3D computer-aided design and manufacturing software (CAD/CAM)
- marking out tool designs on a ‘stock’ or casting following engineering plans
- cutting and shaping tools with lathes, presses and cutting machines
- entering settings into computer controlled machines
- checking dimensions with measuring instruments like micrometers
- carrying out basic machine maintenance
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 workshop supervisor, train to carry out machine maintenance or move into quality control.