Metal working machine operatives


Average Annual Pay

Annual Survey of Hours and Earning 2018


Average Weekly Hours

Annual Survey of Hours and Earning 2018


Unemployment Rate

Labour Force Survey 2018

Future employment projections (Working Futures UK)


Metal working machine operatives operate machines to cut, shape, abrade and otherwise machine metal, use hand and power tools to remove surplus metal and rough surfaces from castings, forgings or other metal parts, and clean, smooth and polish metal workpieces.


There are no formal academic entry requirements. Training is typically received on-the-job. NVQs/SVQs in Engineering Machining are available.

Typical tasks

  • secures workpiece in drilling, boring, milling, planing, grinding, lapping, honing, electrochemical, or other shaping machines, or loads metal stock on to press;
  • sets controls, starts machine and operates controls to feed tool to workpiece or vice versa and repositions workpiece during machining as required;
  • withdraws workpiece and examines accuracy using measuring instruments;
  • operates burning, chipping and grinding equipment to remove defects from metal parts, and files, chisels, burns and saws off surplus metal;
  • smoothes rough surfaces with hand tools, abrasive belts and wheels, compressed air, jets of vapour, or blasting with shot, grit, sand or other abrasive material;
  • selects and secures polishing head to machine tool, prepares head with emery, grease or other substance, sets speed and angle of polishing head, and operates controls to feed polishing head to workpiece or vice versa.

Common job titles

Filer (metal trades)
Attendant, lathe
Sleever (electrical goods mfr)
Polisher (brass musical instruments mfr)
Maker, roller (textile machinery mfr)
Weaver (wire goods mfr)
Cutter, guillotine (metal trades)
Beader (tin box mfr)
Bobber, emery
Filer, pattern
Machinist, router (metal trades)
Dresser (metal trades)
Finisher (cock founding)
Machinist, planing (metal trades)
Rifler, barrel
Operator, tool, machine
Maker, sink
Taperer (metal trades)
Machinist, screwing
Operator, lathe (metal trades)
Screwer, tube
Hand, turret
Rubber-down (jewellery, plate mfr)
Finisher, brass
Polisher, gold
Machinist, punching (metal trades)
Seamer, hollow-ware
Blaster, shot
Machinist, capsule
Lapper (metal trades)
Man, filter (metal trades)
Polisher, hame
Presser, draw
Worker, box, metal
Marker (needle mfr)
Machinist, hand (metal trades)
Presser, steam
Bumper (tin box mfr)
Finisher, satin (metal trades)
Shaper, blades, airscrew
Maker, screen, malt
Maker, bolt (clock mfr)
Machinist, screwer
Maker, spring, flat
Mate, stamper's
Finisher (metal fastening mfr)
Operator, mill, boring
Finisher, bobbin, brass
Reamerer, barrel
Cleaner, steel (foundry)
Sander (metal trades)
Turner, shell
Machinist, capstan
Stamper, die
Worker, bronze, ornamental
Worker, bronze, architectural
Modeller (art metal work mfr)
Operator, bullard
Flanger (sheet metal working)
Channeller (metal trades)
Cutter, knife, machine (metal trades)
Machinist, metal
Shaper (metal trades)
Maker, clip, wire
Maker, sinker
Bobber (arc welding electrode mfr)
Attendant, mill (metal goods mfr)
Chipper, tyre
Filer, spoon and fork
Machinist, polishing (metal trades)
Worker, metal, art
Worker, brass
Scrubber, chair
Machinist, profiling
Puncher, rail
Maker, case, spring
Machinist, buffing (metal trades)
Presser-out (textile machinery mfr)
Machinist, cap, bottle
Presser, hydraulic (metal trades)
Presser, ring
Feeder, tack
Polisher, bobbin
Worker, press (metal trades)
Operator, tapping
Settler (fish hook mfr)
Presser, power (metal trades)
Puller, stamp
Scratcher (metal trades)
Maker, guard, fork
Folder, box (tin box mfr)
Cutter (steel pen mfr)
Machinist, honing
Folder (drum, keg mfr)
Operator, mill, plano
Blower, shot
Maker, bridge
Stamper, gold (jewellery, plate mfr)
Floater, tube
Cutter, gold
Machinist, reamering
Turner, brass
Machinist, cycle
Machinist, shaping (metal trades)
Tumbler (metal trades)
Brusher, wire
Maker, weight
Sharpener, tool
Puncher, fishplate
Polisher, mirror (cutlery mfr)
Stamper, hollow-ware
Dresser, box, axle
Floater (metal trades)
Machinist, shaper
Fettler (metal trades)
Operator, wheelabrator
Seamer (metal trades)
Maker, bar, steel (textile machinery mfr)
Maker, blade, razor
Polisher, cutlery
Cutter-off (iron pipe mfr)
Trimmer, needle
Machinist, centering
Notcher (tin box mfr)
Cleaner, metal
Slotter (needle mfr)
Finisher, propeller (ships' propeller mfr)
Polisher, barrel
Puncher, eye
Machinist, seaming (metal trades)
Machinist, bending, press
Operator, drill
Machinist, automatic
Twister, wire, hat
Lapper, jeweller's
Maker, spring, lock
Rougher (foundry)
Brusher (scissors mfr)
Machinist, anocut
Trimmer (metal fastening mfr)
Polisher, sand
Cutter, rotary (metal trades)
Operator (Royal Mint)
Maker, dab
Dresser, steel
Polisher, jewellery
Grinder, ball
Maker, stamp, bleacher's
Cutter, test (rolling mill)
Cutter, wire
Perforator (metal trades)
Trimmer (tin box mfr)
Cutter (metal fastening mfr)
Machinist (railway workshops)
Glazer (metal trades)
Stamper (metal trades)
Engineer, nos
Scraper, metal
Machinist, slotter
Cutter, rasp
Machinist, making, chain
Operator, router
Maker, nut
Machinist, tool
Sharpener, pick
Polisher, lathe (metal trades)
Machinist, nos (engineering)
Fettler, core
Polisher, brass
Man, vice
Machinist (metal trades)
Stamper, metal
Pointer (needle mfr)
Cutter, key
Grinder (precious metal, plate mfr)
Operator, grinder
Machinist, grinding, shaft
Dresser, plate
Latcher (needle mfr)
Blaster, sand
Finisher, smith's
Dresser, scissors
Machinist, sealing, metal, automatic
Cutter-up, scrap
Machinist, action
Tracker (ball bearing mfr)
Worker, iron, art
Machinist, room, tool
Stamper, cold
Breaker-off (foundry)
Marker (fish hook mfr)
Cutter, cable
Presser, component
Cutter-off (metal trades)
Machinist, slotting
Lapper, gear
Trimmer, blade (aircraft mfr)
Scourer (foundry)
Presser, tool
Fettler, castings
Turner, optical
Worker, lathe
Maker, coin
Finisher (foundry)
Machinist, lapping (metal trades)
Presser, stamping
Flattener (metal trades)
Burnisher (metal trades)
Feeder (metal fastening mfr)
Cleaner, casting
Marker (metal cutlery mfr)
Presser, machine (metal trades)
Cutter, panel
Bobber and polisher, spur
Attendant, punch
Weaver, cloth, wire
Presser, hand (metal trades)
Worker, spoon and fork
Worker, metal, architectural
Machinist, fettling (metal trades)
Hand, capstan, brass
Slotter (metal trades)
Machinist, flanging
Polisher (metal trades)
Threader (bolt, nail, nut, rivet, screw mfr)
Machinist, bearing, ball
Blower, sand
Glazer, cutlery
Cutter, blank (spoon, fork mfr)
Stamper, brass
Polisher, steel, stainless
Pronger (fork mfr)
Dollier (silversmiths)
Dresser (type foundry)
Attendant, automatic
Machinist, dressing (metal trades)
Machinist, screw, automatic
Machinist (garage)
Machinist, broaching
Maker, ferrule
Polisher, lime
Blaster, vapour
Operator, blast, shot
Operator, auto
Flanger (tin box mfr)
Dresser, iron
Finisher (brass foundry)
Maker, can
Polisher, plate (precious metal, plate mfr)
Operator, room, tool
Machinist, cutting, gear
Holer, flyer
Grinder, castings
Brusher-in, scratch
Puncher, bar, steel
Wirer, box
Machinist, press (metal trades)
Puncher, tip, shoe
Grinder, emery (steelworks)
Operator, blast, sand
Cutter (metal cable mfr)
Polisher, plater's
Presser, tube
Machinist (Royal Mint)
Cutter (metal cutlery mfr)
Attendant, plant, blast, shot
Polisher, die
Machinist, drilling (metal trades)
Machinist, engineer's
Polisher, roller
Machinist, blasting, vapour
Screwer (metal trades)
Shaver, gear
Dresser, casting
Shaper, die
Machinist, stamping (metal trades)
Dresser, wheel
Presser, coining
Maker, nail
Fettler, shop, machine
Machinist, nosing
Machinist, mill, boring
Machinist, brass
Machinist, textile (textile machinery mfr)
Cutter (metal trades)
Polisher, roll (tinplate mfr)
Groover (metal trades)
Stamper, drop (sheet metal goods mfr)
Maker, key
Frazer (metal trades)
Piercer (pen nib mfr)
Trimmer, box (steelworks)
Pointer, hook, fish
Tapper, nut and socket (tube fittings mfr)
Cleaner, iron
Trimmer, steel
Cutter, pin
Cutter, bar
Dresser, metal
Puncher and shearer
Feeder (sheet metal working)
Operator, capstan
Puncher (metal trades)
Operator, press, hand (jewellery, plate mfr)
Roller, thread
Brusher, scratch
Trimmer (needle mfr)
Trimmer (metal trades)
Cleaner, ring
Polisher, metal
Polisher, silver
Hand, lathe
Blaster, grit
Reamerer (metal trades)
Cutter, billet (steelworks)
Polisher, emery
Cutter, metal
Maker, cap (electric lamp mfr)
Polisher, frame
Slotter, frame
Machinist, tapping
Operative, can, tin
Operator, milling (metal trades)
Sinker, counter
Machinist, window, metal
Cutter, silver
Grinder, cast, rough
Operator, mill (steel foundry)
Machinist (coal mine: above ground)
Machinist (atomic energy establishment)
Bottomer (metal goods mfr)
Stripper (metal trades)
Fettler, brass
Attendant, auto
Operator, embosser (engineering)
Cutter, circle
Fluter, drill
Cutter, tube
Cutter, rail
Operator, profile
Tipper, metal
Grinder (foundry)
Kicker (metal stamping)
Machinist, copying
Seater, key
Dresser, core
Machinist, weaving, wire
Rubber-off (foundry)
Machinist, hobbing
Corrugator (galvanised sheet mfr)
Fettler, iron
Worker, tin, fancy
Dresser, pipe
Mopper (metal trades)
Filer, foundry
Polisher, cycle
Maker, spring, carriage
Machinist, sanding
Stamper, silver
Machinist, sinking, die
Brusher (foundry)
Cleaner (foundry)
Tapper (bolt, nail, nut, rivet, screw mfr)
Cutter, machine, punching (metal trades)
Polisher, spoon and fork
Polisher, mould
Maker, key (clock mfr)
Worker, metal, ornamental
Lapper, barrel
Operator, turret
Worker, process (metal trades)
Polisher, tin
Maker, cap, butt
Chipper (fish hook mfr)
Dresser, tube
Presser, fly (cutlery mfr)
Machinist, box, axle
Facer (metal fastening mfr)
Cupper, shell
Man, lathe
Presser (metal trades)
Embosser (metal trades)
Tacker (tack mfr)