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

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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

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

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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

Apprentice Engineering Operative

  • Wage: £172.90 - £331.36 Weekly
  • Location: GRANTHAM

CAD Apprentice

  • Wage: £219.56 Weekly
  • Location: Walsall

Courses In England

NVQ Diploma in Performing Engineering Operations

  • Start date: 07 September 2021
  • Location: CHESTERFIELD

Jobs In the United Kingdom

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