Toolmakers make the precision tools that are used in manufacturing to create products and parts.

Average salary (a year)

£15,000 Starter


£30,000 Experienced

Typical hours (a week)

44 to 46 a week

You could work

between 8am and 6pm on shifts

How to become a toolmaker

You can get into this job through:

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


You could start by doing a college course to learn some of the skills you'll need in this job. Courses include:

  • Level 1 Certificate in Engineering Technologies
  • Level 2 Certificate in Engineering Operations
  • Level 2 Diploma in Engineering

Entry requirements

You may need:

  • 2 or fewer GCSEs at grades 3 to 1 (D to G), or equivalent, for a level 1 course
  • 2 or more GCSEs at grades 9 to 3 (A* to D), or equivalent, for a level 2 course

More information


You can complete an engineering operative intermediate apprenticeship or an engineering technician advanced apprenticeship.

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


You can start as an engineering operative in a workshop or factory and do further training on the job to specialise in toolmaking.

More information

Further information

You can find out more about careers in engineering from 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
  • design skills and knowledge
  • knowledge of maths
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • the ability to use your initiative
  • the ability to work well with your hands
  • the ability to analyse quality or performance
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently

What you'll do

Day-to-day tasks

Your day-to-day tasks may include:

  • working with 2D and 3D computer-aided design and manufacturing software (CAD/CAM)
  • marking out tool designs on a 'stock' or casting following engineering plans
  • cutting and shaping tools with lathes, presses and cutting machines
  • entering settings into computer controlled machines
  • checking dimensions with measuring instruments like micrometers
  • carrying out basic machine maintenance

Working environment

You could work in a factory or in a workshop.

Your working environment may be noisy.

You may need to wear safety clothing and use safety equipment.

Career path and progression

You could become a workshop supervisor, train to carry out machine maintenance or move into quality control.

Current opportunities

Apprenticeships In England

Multi-skilled Maintenance Apprentice

  • Wage : £12,681.40 Annually
  • Location: COVENTRY CV3 4PW

Engineering Apprentice (Workshop Operator)

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

Courses In England

Performing Engineering Operations Level 1

  • Start date: 01 September 2020
  • Location: Birkenhead

Level 1 NVQ Certificate in Performing Engineering Operations-Study Programme

  • Start date: 07 September 2020
  • Location: Norwich

JobsIn the United Kingdom

The Find a job service can help you with your search for jobs and send alerts when new jobs become available.

Skills assessment

Take an assessment to learn more about your skills and the careers that might suit you.

Get help using this service

Call 0800 100 900 or use webchat

8am to 10pm, 7 days a week

More ways to contact us

Is this page useful?

Yes No