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Engineering operative

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Engineering operatives use hand and machine tools to carry out jobs in many industries.

Salary, a pound sign Salary: £14,000 to £25,000 average per year
Hours, a clock face Hours: 37 to 40 per week

1. Entry requirements

There are no set requirements. You’ll need a reasonable level of fitness.

You could get into this job through an apprenticeship.

You could also take a college course to learn some of the skills needed for the job. Relevant subjects include engineering technology and mechanical engineering.

SEMTA, the Engineering Construction Industry Training Board (ECITB) and Tomorrow's Engineers have more information about careers in engineering.

2. Skills required

You’ll need:

  • the ability to understand technical diagrams and manuals
  • practical skills
  • teamworking skills
  • the ability to concentrate during repetitive tasks

3. 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

4. Salary

Starter: £14,000 to £17,000

Experienced: £18,000 to £25,000

These figures are a guide.

5. Working hours, patterns and environment

You’ll usually work 37 to 40 hours a week on a shift pattern. You may have occasional overtime.

If you work in finishing operations, like heat or chemical treatments, you may have to deal with high temperatures or fumes, for which you’ll need special protective equipment. At other times, you’ll wear protective clothing.

6. Career path and progression

With further training, you could progress to a skilled craft-level job, and then on to technician level.

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Last updated: 12 September 2018