Manufacturing and production

Career outlook for toolmaker

UK Salary Ranges





Currently employed in Scotland

Information is unavailable

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?

As a toolmaker, you would be amongst the most highly skilled workers in manufacturing. You would make precision tools like jigs, dies and moulds that are used by engineering craftspeople. They would use the tools you have made to make products such as car parts.

You would work mainly with metals, alloys and composite materials, known as 'stocks' or castings.

You would:

  • Work with 2D and 3D computer aided design and manufacturing software (CAD/CAM)
  • Mark out the tool design on the 'stock' or casting, following engineering drawings
  • Cut and shape the part using a combination of hand-operated and computerised tools
  • Check the finished item’s size with precision measuring instruments
  • Look after machinery

Working conditions


You would normally work around 40 hours a week. You may have to work shifts, including nights, and overtime and weekend work may be available.


You would be based in a factory or workshop. You would wear overalls, ear and eye protectors, and safety shoes for most tasks.

UK employment status





Self employed


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  • Adaptability
  • Taking responsibility
  • Managing resources
  • Developing a plan
  • Concentrating
  • Attention to detail
  • Innovative
  • Designing
  • Creative

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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.

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Entry to the job is usually through a practical engineering apprenticeship.

Entry requirements for a Modern Apprenticeship vary but in this sector many employers require qualifications at SCQF level 4/5 and or relevant work-based qualifications such as a Scottish Vocational Qualification in Engineering (SVQ level 3/4).

You may have to sit an entry test to see if you are suitable for this work. 

Useful subjects

  • English
  • Maths
  • Science
  • Technologies subjects such as engineering science or practical metalwork

You will also need

  • Good eyesight
  • General fitness

Helpful to have

Qualifications and experience that show practical skills and an interest in working with tools and machinery such as Skills for Work Construction Engineering (SCQF level 3) or Engineering Skills (SCQF level 4).