£18,200 Average salary at age 20
£32,760 Average Salary
46 Average hours per week


Job holders in this unit group operate machines to drill, bore, grind, cut, mill or otherwise shape metal workpieces.

Main Tasks

  • Examines drawings and specifications to determine appropriate method, sequence of operations and machine setting;
  • Selects and fixes work-holding devices and appropriate cutting, shaping, grinding and/or forming tools;
  • Sets machine controls for rotation speeds, depth of cut and stroke, and adjusts machine table, stops and guides;
  • Operates automatic or manual controls to feed tool to workpiece or vice versa and checks accuracy of machining;
  • Repositions workpiece, changes tools and resets machine as necessary during production run;
  • Instructs operators on the safe and correct method of operation of the machine.


There are no formal academic requirements although some employers may require GCSEs/S grades. Engineering apprenticeships, BTEC and City and Guilds qualifications are available together with on-the-job training. NVQs/ SVQs at Level 2 are available.

UK Prospects

26000 Workforce Size
4.10% Predicted decline 2024 - 2027
4008 Predicted Replacement 2024 - 2027

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