CNC machinists use computer numerically controlled machine tools to create parts used in industry.

What does a CNC machinist do?

This role mainly involves working with metals, but computer numerically controlled (CNC) machinists may also deal with wood, composite materials and plastics. Most of the parts created are used in the automotive, power, aerospace and manufacturing industries. 

What do I need to do to become a CNC machinist?

Good practical skills and basic computer skills, an understanding of engineering instructions and the ability to work to a high level of accuracy.

Related skills

  • Ability to understand technical plans
  • Attention to detail
  • IT
  • Numeracy
  • Physical fitness

Academic route

  • GCSEs (A-C), in subjects such as maths, English, science, engineering and design and technology

Vocational route

  • Level 1 certificate in engineering
  • Level 1 certificate In engineering and manufacturing
  • Level 2 certificate in mechanical engineering
  • Level 2 award in engineering (specialist: manufacturing engineering)
  • Engineering apprenticeship

Related subjects

  • Design technology
  • Maths

Where to find out more

Where could I be working?

Most opportunities would be in the mechanical engineering, motor vehicle, aerospace and shipbuilding industries. There could also be some vacancies in engineering maintenance, such as rail transport or power generation.

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