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Toolmakers make the precision tools that are used in manufacturing to create products and parts.

Salary, a pound sign Salary: £15,000 to £30,000 average per year
Hours, a clock face Hours: 35 to 40 per week

1. Entry requirements

You could get into this job through an apprenticeship. For this, you'll need 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) or equivalent, including English, maths, science, design and technology.

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

2. Skills required

You'll need:

  • the ability to follow engineering drawings and instructions
  • excellent maths, IT and technical skills

3. What you'll do

Toolmakers produce precision tools like jigs, dies and moulds that are used to make parts in manufacturing. You'll work with metals, alloys and composite materials, known as 'stocks' or castings.

Your day-to-day tasks may include:

  • working with 2D and 3D computer aided design and manufacturing software (CAD/CAM)
  • marking out the tool design on the 'stock' or casting following engineering drawings
  • cutting and shaping tools using a combination of lathes, presses and cutting machines
  • checking dimensions with precision measuring instruments like micrometers and gauges
  • carrying out basic machine maintenance

Many machine tools used in industry are computer numerically controlled (CNC). This means a computer program operates the machine, which you may be responsible for setting and operating.

4. Salary

Starter: £15,000 to £18,000

Experienced: £20,000 to £24,000

Highly Experienced: £25,000 to £30,000

These figures are a guide.

5. Working hours, patterns and environment

You'll normally work around 40 hours a week. You may have to work shifts, including nights. Overtime and weekend work may be available.

You'll be based in a factory or workshop. You'll wear overalls, ear and eye protectors, and safety shoes for most jobs.

6. Career path and progression

With experience, you could become a team supervisor, work in machine maintenance or move into quality control.

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Last updated: 09 October 2018