Engineering Craft Machinist

Job Description:

Engineering craft machinists make metal parts and components for engines, appliances and medical equipment.

Job Category:
Manufacturing & Electronics

What you will do:

You’d follow engineering drawings and instructions. You’d use tools like grinders, millers, cutters, lathes, drills and presses to make the parts.

Your day-to-day duties may include:

  • choosing and fitting the correct machine tool for the job
  • planning the different job stages following engineering instructions
  • setting the tolerance levels on the machine
  • working out cutting speeds
  • placing a pre-formed ‘blank’ part in the jaws of the lathe, or on the bed of a mill or grinder
  • monitoring the job’s progress
  • checking the quality of finished items


You’ll need:

  • knowledge of maths
  • the ability to use, repair and maintain machines and tools
  • knowledge of manufacturing production and processes
  • to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device

As well as:

  • the ability to work well with your hands
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • the ability to operate and control equipment
  • the ability to use your initiative (ambition/drive)
  • observation and recording skills (organisational skills)
Illustration of employee looking at workspace

Entry Requirements:

To become an Engineering Craft Machinist, you should focus on building a strong foundation in mathematics, technology, and practical skills during your years. Here are the typical GCSE subjects and considerations for aspiring Engineering Craft Machinists:

  1. Mathematics (Maths): Strong math skills are essential for machinists, as precision measurements and calculations are a fundamental part of the job.
  2. Design and Technology (D&T): D&T courses can provide practical skills and insights into engineering design, technical drawing, and manufacturing processes, which are relevant to machining.
  3. Science: While not mandatory, having a basic understanding of science, particularly physics, can be helpful for understanding the principles behind machining and materials.
  4. Information and Communication Technology (ICT): Proficiency in using computers and digital tools can be beneficial for modern machining practices, including computer-aided design (CAD) and computer numerical control (CNC) machining.
  5. English: Good communication skills, including reading and writing, are important for understanding technical documents, writing reports, and collaborating with colleagues.

Post School

You can get into this job through:

  • a college course
  • an apprenticeship
  • working towards this role

You can do a college course, which will teach you some of the skills you’ll need in this job. Courses in the UK, for example, include:

  • Level 2 Certificate in Engineering Operations
  • Level 2 Diploma in Engineering
  • Level 3 Diploma in Engineering Technology

You can start on an engineering operative intermediate apprenticeship and become a craft machinist once you get more experience.

You can join a company as a general engineering operative and train on the job to become a craft machinist.

Working Hours and Environment:

You’ll usually work 39 hours a week, Monday to Friday. You might work on a shift system to cover 24-hour production, and overtime may be available.

Your employer will provide you with overalls, protective boots, ear defenders and safety goggles.

Career Path & Progression:

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.