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Engineering operative

Alternative titles for this job include

Engineering operatives make, service and repair machinery and tools across lots of different industries.

Average salary (a year)

£22,000 Starter


£33,000 Experienced

Typical hours (a week)

40 to 44 a week

You could work

evenings / weekends on shifts

How to become

Explore the different ways to get into this role.

How to become 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:

  • engineering operations
  • engineering technologies
  • engineering
  • mechanical engineering
  • T Level in Engineering, Manufacturing, Processing and Control

Entry requirements

Entry requirements for these courses vary.

More Information


You could apply to do an Engineering Operative Level 2 Intermediate Apprenticeship, or a Machining Technician Level 3 Advanced Apprenticeship.

These can take between 1 and 4 years to complete.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • some GCSEs, usually including English and maths, or equivalent, for an intermediate apprenticeship
  • 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English and maths, for an advanced apprenticeship

More Information

Direct Application

You can apply directly for jobs if you have engineering experience. This might be from mechanical servicing and repair, machinery fitting or electrical work.

More Information

Further information

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

What it takes

Find out what skills you’ll use in this role.

What it takes

Skills and knowledge

You'll need:

  • knowledge of engineering science and technology
  • the ability to use, repair and maintain machines and tools
  • complex problem-solving skills
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • the ability to work well with others
  • maths knowledge
  • the ability to use your initiative
  • knowledge of manufacturing production and processes
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently

What you’ll do

Discover the day to day tasks you’ll do in this role.

What you'll do

Day-to-day tasks

As an engineering operative, you could:

  • follow engineering plans and job instructions
  • set up and operate computer-controlled machinery
  • make machine parts, using tools like lathes, cutters and grinders
  • apply coatings and finishes to manufactured products
  • service and repair machinery
  • carry out inspections and quality checks

Working environment

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

Your working environment may be dusty, hot and noisy.

You may need to wear protective clothing.

Career path and progression

Look at progression in this role and similar opportunities.

Career path and progression

With further training, you could become an engineering craftsperson or engineering technician. You could also specialise in a particular type of work, for example:

  • CNC machining
  • fabrication and welding
  • machinery maintenance
  • heavy vehicle mechanics

Current opportunities

Find apprenticeships, courses and jobs available near you.

Current opportunities

Apprenticeships In England

Apprentice Wiring Harness Technician

  • Wage: £12,480 to £22,308 a year Annually
  • Location: NI Park, Newport

Engineering Apprentice

  • Wage: £12,313.60 a year Annually
  • Location: Armstrong, Washington

Courses In England

Engineering Level 2 Certificate

  • Start date: 11 September 2024
  • Location: Oxford

Technical Level 2 Certificate in Mechanical Engineering

  • Start date: 02 September 2024
  • Location: Scunthorpe

Jobs In the United Kingdom

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