Engineering operative

assembler
Engineering
Produce

Career outlook for

Figures and forecasts for roles at the same level, which require similar skills and qualifications.

Average UK salary

Currently employed in Scotland

Six year jobs forecast

The information is supplied by LMI For All

What's it like?

You would put together different parts to make products such as cars, household appliances, gadgets and furniture.

You’d use hand and machine tools to assemble electrical or mechanical products.

You could work in different industries from manufacturing to rail and renewable energy. For example, you might make parts on a car production line or maintain wind turbines.

You would:

  • Build components and sub-assemblies into finished products
  • Fit parts to machinery and equipment
  • Cut and shape parts and tools
  • Operate machine tools, like lathes, grinders and borers
  • Use moulding machines, preset to carry out certain tasks
  • Set and operate hand-controlled or computer-controlled machines
  • Apply finishes and surface coatings to products

You’d need to understand technical diagrams and manuals and be able to concentrate on repetitive tasks.

You could also move raw materials and finished products around the factory or workshop using forklift trucks, hoists or trolleys.

You’d need to work safely and be aware of health and safety issues.

Working conditions

Hours

You would typically work 37 to 40 hours a week on a shift pattern covering days, evenings, nights and weekends. You may have occasional overtime.

Environment

If you work in finishing operations, such as heat or chemical treatments, you may have to deal with high temperatures or fumes, which would require special protective equipment. At other times, you would normally wear protective clothing such as safety glasses, boots and overalls.

UK employment status

Full-time

Part-time

Self employed

Here are some of the skills that people in this job would be most likely to have:

  • Working as part of a team
  • Following instructions
  • Working with your hands
  • Making things
  • Being physically fit

Build your skills

Your skills can help you choose the career that’s right for you. You can build your skills through work, study or activities you do in your spare time.

To understand more, have a look at what are my skills?

Keep track of your skills in your account and find the jobs, opportunities and courses that suit you.

Click here to view / add your skills

Getting in

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

Foundation Apprenticeships

Choosing a Foundation Apprenticeship as one of your subjects in S5 and S6 can help you get a head start with this type of job.

You'll get an SCQF level 6 qualification (the same level as a Higher) plus valuable work placement experience and skills you can't learn in a classroom.

Interested? Find out what's on offer at your school on Apprenticeships.scot.

Qualifications

You would need a Modern Apprenticeship leading to a relevant Scottish Vocational Qualification.

Or a National Qualification or National Certificate (SCFQ level 4-6), Higher National Certificate (SCQF level 7) or Higher National Diploma (SCQF level 8) in areas like:

  • Mechanical engineering
  • Electrical and Electronic engineering technologies
  • Maintenance engineering technologies
  • Renewable energy
  • Engineering

Some employers may ask for qualifications at SCQF level 4/5, in particular for entry to a Modern Apprenticeship.

You can enter some National Certificate or National Qualification courses (SCQF 2-6) with no formal qualifications but most courses ask for National 4/5 qualifications (SCQF level 4/5). You can enter Higher National Certificate (SCQF level 7) or Higher National Diploma courses (SCQF level 8) with National 4/5 qualifications and one to two Highers or equivalent qualifications.  

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 (SCFQ level 4).

With relevant experience and qualifications (SCQF level 7/ SVQ level 3) you may be able to become an engineering technician.