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- Work to produce the precision tools used in the manufacturing of products and components
- You'll often work with computer controlled CNC machines so you'll need good technical ability
- Progress into supervisory, machine maintenance or quality control roles
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, shaping them into tools for use in industry.
- 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.
You may have to work shifts, including nights, and 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.
You'll need the ability to follow engineering drawings and instructions, plus excellent maths, IT and technical skills.
You can start as an engineering operative in a workshop or factory and do further training on the job to specialise in toolmaking.
Or you could do a college course to learn some of the skills you'll need in this job. Relevant courses include a Level 1 Certificate in Engineering Technologies, a Level 2 Certificate in Engineering Operations, or a Level 2 Diploma in Engineering.
Alternatively, you could do an engineering operative intermediate apprenticeship or an engineering technician advanced apprenticeship.
With experience, you could become a team supervisor, work in machine maintenance or move into quality control. Or you could do additional training to work in engineering or design.