Engineering craft machinist


Career outlook for engineering craft machinist

UK Salary Ranges





Currently employed in Scotland


Salary information is provided by the "National Careers Service". "Oxford Economics" supplies job forecasts and employment figures. Due to COVID-19 the jobs market is constantly changing. Some of the information may not reflect the current situation.

What's it like?

You would make metal parts and components for engines, appliances and medical equipment.

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

You would:

  • Choose and fit the correct machine tool for the job
  • Plan the different stages of the job following engineering instructions
  • Set the tolerance levels on the machine
  • Work out the cutting speeds
  • Place a pre-formed 'blank' part in the machine
  • Check the progress of the job
  • Check the quality of finished items

You’d use your maths skills to work out the cutting speeds taking into account the different strengths and properties of metals. Your work would need to be very accurate.

Increasingly, you are likely to use computer-numerically-controlled (CNC) machines for jobs. This involves programming instructions into a panel to control the cutting process.

Working conditions


You would 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.

UK employment status





Self employed


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  • Working with technology
  • Working with numbers
  • Observation
  • Attention to detail
  • Concentrating
  • Managing resources
  • Taking initiative
  • Reliable

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Getting in

Entry requirements for courses can change. Always contact the college, university or training provider to check exactly what you'll need.


You would do a Modern Apprenticeship in Engineering, Engineering and Manufacturing or Preforming Engineering Operations (SCQF level 5/6). 

Employers usually ask for National 4 or 5 qualifications. You usually need to pass an aptitude test to enter this apprenticeship. 

Useful subjects

  • Maths (required by many courses and employers) 
  • Science subjects, in particular physics (required by many courses and employers) 
  • English
  • Technologies subjects, such as engineering science

Helpful to have

Qualifications that show understanding and experience of the industry such as Skills for Work Engineering Skills (SCQF level 4).