Engineering operative

Engineering operatives use hand and machine tools to do jobs across different industries.

Average salary (a year)

£14,000 Starter


£25,000 Experienced

Typical hours (a week)

42 to 44 a week

You could work

evenings on shifts

How to become an engineering operative

You can get into this job through:

  • a college course
  • an apprenticeship
  • applying directly


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
  • 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.

Entry requirements

You may need:

  • 2 or more GCSEs at grades 9 to 3 (A* to D), or equivalent, for a level 2 course

More information


You could start by doing an engineering operative intermediate apprenticeship.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • some GCSEs, usually including English and maths, or equivalent, for an intermediate apprenticeship

More information

Direct application

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.

More information

Further information

You'll find more advice on training and working in engineering from the Engineering Construction Industry Training Board and Tomorrow's Engineers.

What it takes

Skills and knowledge

You'll need:

  • the ability to use, repair and maintain machines and tools
  • knowledge of engineering science and technology
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • analytical thinking skills
  • the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure
  • maths knowledge
  • the ability to work well with others
  • the ability to use your initiative
  • to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device

Restrictions and requirements

You'll need to:

  • have a good level of fitness

What you'll do

Day-to-day tasks

Your day-to-day duties may include:

  • 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

Working environment

You could work in a factory, on a construction site or in a workshop.

Your working environment may be dusty, hot and physically demanding.

You may need to wear protective clothing.

Career path and progression

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

Current opportunities

Apprenticeships In England

Fabrication Apprenticeship

  • Wage : £156.00 Weekly
  • Location: Broadstairs CT10 2QQ

Engineering Apprentice (Workshop Operator)

  • Wage : £144.30 Weekly
  • Location: Birmingham B7 5TE

Courses In England

Engineering Machinist (Level 2 Certificate)

  • Start date: 07 September 2020
  • Location: WALSALL

Engineering - Level 2

  • Start date: 07 September 2020
  • Location: Wisbech

JobsIn the United Kingdom

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