Engineering Machinist/Toolmaker


An engineering machinist and toolmaker makes tools and other precision equipment used in the mass production of products such as car parts, machinery components, and white ware.

Tasks and Duties:

  • studies the client’s drawings and instructions
  • plans production of the tools and equipment
  • selects the metal to be used
  • measures and marks the metal pieces
  • sets and operates machines to cut and shape the metal
  • checks measurements
  • puts the tool parts together
  • polishes and repairs the tools


Engineering machinists and toolmakers need to have good communication and people skills, as well as practical skills and skill in making calculations. They also need planning and organisational ability, and the ability to follow instructions.


Engineering machinists and toolmakers have to know about tool and instrument construction, and metals and their properties. They need to know about maths and interpreting drawings, as well as about computer-controlled machinery and the safe use of equipment.

Personal Qualities:

Engineering machinists and toolmakers should be careful, accurate and patient. They should also be self-disciplined, safety-conscious and practical.

Physical Requirements:

Engineering machinists and toolmakers need to be reasonably fit with good co-ordination and good eyesight (with or without glasses).

Educational Requirements:

NCEA Level 1 in English, maths, science, graphics and workshop technology. Successful completion of a pre apprenticeship course is also preferred.

Entry Requirements:

Employers often prefer that apprentices complete a pre-apprenticeship course before entering the trade. Apprentices/trainees can gain a Level 4 National Certificate in Engineering Machining and Tool making while working.

A driver’s license is generally required.

Useful Experience

Useful experience for an engineering machinist and toolmaker includes working with tools and mechanical work such as car repairs.

Training on the job

Skills are gained on the job. In-house training courses, such as courses on computer-controlled machines, are often available.

Work Places

An engineering machinist and toolmaker works in workshops and factories.


Salary varies according to qualifications, skills, and experience with engineering machinists and toolmakers. With overtime they are earn more.

Further Information

Engineering machinists and toolmakers need to be 16 years old before they can start an apprenticeship.