Toolmaker Apprenticeship

Toolmaker Apprenticeship

A toolmaker is responsible for creating accurate tools (such as jigs, moulds, and dies), customised guides, and holding devices, which are utilised in manufacturing to produce items. For instance, a toolmaker may build the components needed on an automotive assembly line or the component of a machine that fills a chocolate shell. They will work with metals, alloys, polymers, and ceramics, among other stocks and castings.

A toolmaker’s responsibilities do not cease after the tools have been constructed; they will continue to monitor the tools and make any necessary adjustments or repairs. A toolmaker’s activities include using computer numerically controlled (CNC) equipment; thus, a solid foundation in various technical and information technology methods is required.

Responsibilities

Throughout your apprenticeship, you may help:

  • work with 2D and 3D computer-aided design and manufacturing software (CAD/CAM)
  • mark out tool designs on a ‘stock’ or casting following engineering plans
  • cut and shape tools with lathes, presses and cutting machines
  • enter settings into computer controlled machines
  • check dimensions with measuring instruments like micrometers
  • carry out basic machine maintenance.

Salary

  • Starting salaries for an apprentice is £15,000 per year.
  • Experienced toolmakers can earn up to £33,000 per year.

Working hours

You will typically work 44 to 46 hours per week, working between 8am and 6pm.

Working environment

You could work in a factory or in a workshop.

Your working environment may be noisy.

You may need to wear safety clothing and use safety equipment.

Qualifications

Qualifications you can achieve as an apprentice toolmaker include:

  • Level 3 Engineering Technician – Entry requirements for this level include 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English and maths, for an advanced apprenticeship. This qualification will take 42 months to complete. 

Skills

On a toolmaker apprenticeship, you’ll learn:

  • the ability to use, repair and maintain machines and tools
  • knowledge of engineering science and technology
  • design skills and knowledge
  • knowledge of maths
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • the ability to use your initiative
  • the ability to work well with your hands
  • the ability to analyse quality or performance
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently.

Employers

Typical employers of manufacturing toolmakers include:

  • Food and drink companies
  • Engineering companies
  • Consumer goods manufacturers
  • Electronic goods assembly companies
  • The aviation industry.

Career path and progression

You could become a workshop supervisor, train to carry out machine maintenance or move into quality control.

Updated on December 30, 2022

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