« Back to Introduction to Manual Machining Processes (Milling and Turning)

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


  • 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.

Entry Requirements

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.

What could I earn?

Salaries for this occupation tend to start at £30,000 per annum and can progress up to £49,000 per annum.

Is it in growth or decline?

There are currently 5,908 employed Metal Machining Setters & Setter-operators in the region.