Job type

Engineering operative

£14k - £25k

Typical salary

30 – 44

Hours per week

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

More info

  • Practical, hands-on work with tools and machines
  • Progression routes into skilled trades and engineering
  • Can be physical work - you'll spend most of your time on your feet

This role would be ideal for someone with the ability to understand technical diagrams and manuals, practical skills, team-working skills, and the ability to concentrate during repetitive tasks.


  • 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


You could work in a factory, on a construction site or in a workshop. Your working environment may be dusty, hot and physically demanding. 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.

You'll need

There are no set requirements for this role but you could take a college course to learn some of the skills needed for this job. Relevant courses include: Level 2 Certificate in Engineering Operations, Level 2 Diploma in Engineering and Level 2 Diploma in Mechanical Engineering. You could also do a qualification aimed at a particular industry, for example a Level 2 Diploma in Introduction to Renewable Energy Engineering.

You could start by doing an engineering operative intermediate apprenticeship.

You can apply directly for vacancies. It might help if you have a few GCSEs, especially in maths, English or design and technology. You'll usually work alongside an experienced member of staff to learn the skills to do the job.

You'll also need to have a good level of fitness.


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