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Engineering craft machinist

Engineering craft machinists use lathes, cutters and grinders to make parts used in manufacturing and engineering. 

Salary, a pound sign Salary: £13,500 to £30,000 average per year
Hours, a clock face Hours: 39 per week

1. Entry requirements

You could get into this job through an apprenticeship.

You could also take a college course in engineering to learn some of the skills needed for the job. 

You’ll need a good level of fitness.

Tomorrow's Engineers has information about engineering as a career.

2. Skills required

You’ll need:

  • the ability to work accurately
  • practical skills
  • the ability to read engineering drawings and follow instructions
  • good maths skills to work out cutting speeds
  • basic IT skills
  • the ability to concentrate for long periods

3. What you'll do

Your day-to-day duties may include:

  • choosing and fitting the correct machine tool for the job
  • planning the different job stages following engineering instructions
  • setting the tolerance levels on the machine
  • working out cutting speeds
  • placing a pre-formed 'blank' part in the jaws of the lathe, or on the bed of a mill or grinder
  • monitoring the job's progress
  • checking the quality of finished items

4. Salary

Starter: £13,500 to £17,000

Experienced: £21,000 to £25,000

Highly Experienced: £30,000

These figures are a guide.

5. Working hours, patterns and environment

You’ll usually work 39 hours a week, Monday to Friday. You might work on a shift system to cover 24-hour production, and overtime may be available.

Your employer will provide you with overalls, protective boots, ear defenders and safety goggles.

6. Career path and progression

With experience, you could progress to supervisor of a production section or workshop. 

With further training, you may be able to move into engineering technician roles.

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Last updated: 08 December 2016