Job type

Engineering craft machinist

£19k - £33k

Typical salary

42 – 44

Hours per week

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

More info

  • Work with machinery in a highly practical role
  • You'll need accuracy, attention to detail and some maths skills
  • Opportunities to progress into engineering technician roles


  • Choosing the correct machine tool for a particular job
  • Planning the work steps following engineering instructions
  • Setting tolerance levels on machines
  • Working out cutting speeds
  • Placing pre-formed parts in a lathe, or on the bed of a mill or grinder
  • Monitoring a job's progress
  • Checking the quality of finished items


You might work on a shift system to cover 24-hour production, and overtime may be available.

You could work in a factory or in a workshop and your employer will provide you with overalls, protective boots, ear defenders and safety goggles.

You'll need

This role would be ideal for someone with the ability to work accurately, has practical skills, the ability to read engineering drawings and follow instructions, good maths skills to work out cutting speeds, basic IT skills, and the ability to concentrate for long periods.

You can do a college course, which will teach you some of the skills you'll need in this job. Courses include: Level 2 Certificate in Engineering Operations, Level 2 Diploma in Engineering and Level 3 Diploma in Engineering Technology.

You can also start on an engineering operative intermediate apprenticeship and become a craft machinist once you get more experience or you can join a company as a general engineering operative and train on the job to become a craft machinist.


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. 

Your engineering craft skills will be useful in lots of different industries from aerospace to car manufacturing, so you may be able to specialise in one area or move between them, as your experience grows.