Toolmaker

Career information

What do they do?

Toolmakers make moulds, dies, gauges, jigs, tooling and fixtures for industrial processes. Many common household items such as aerosol cans and plastic bottles are produced from tooling. Tooling is typically used in injection moulding, blow moulding, extrusion, and pressure die-casting operations.

A typical day

Normally an eight-hour day; sometimes working longer may be required.

Work can include design and manufacturing moulds, dies, or casts for mass-production product containers (for example paint and aerosol cans) as well as designing and manufacturing one-off tools needed within an industry.

You'll learn CAD/CAM design programs, and also CNC or EDM machining using computers.

Sound like you?

Study areas
  • English or Media or History
  • Maths or Accounting or Economics
  • Sciences or Workshop Technologies
  • Computing/ICT/Information Management.
Attributes
  • Strong eye for detail
  • Good literacy and numeracy
  • Confidence with IT, computers, technology
  • Good work habits/time management.
Helpful experience
  • Making or fixing things
  • Working with machinery
  • Working with computers
Preferred work environments
  • Indoors (workshop or plant).

Pathway

School

These can be useful from school:

Ideally NCEA Level 2 in:

  • Maths
  • Science (physics)
  • Technology (metal work)
  • English
Entry level jobs

Apprenticeship

  • Toolmaker
  • Machine Shop
  • CNC Programmer/Operator
  • Research and Development Manufacturing
Advancing jobs

Higher learning

  • Specialist Toolmaker
  • Supervisor
Senior jobs

Higher learning

  • Foreman
  • Site Supervisor
  • Business Manager
  • Business Owner

Qualifications

New Zealand Certificate in Mechanical Engineering (Trade) (Level 4) with strands in Fitting and Machining, General Engineering, Machining, Maintenance Engineering and Toolmaking

This qualification has been developed by leading New Zealand mechanical engineers to equip staff with the skills and knowledge to work productively and safely.

With technology and automation rapidly driving change in the engineering sector, this qualification is designed with the future in mind so your people can respond and adapt to change.

Most of the learning is practical work completed on-the-job. Apprentices are also required to complete eLearning via our online learning platform Canvas, and attend block courses for two to three weeks each year.

Speak to your training advisor or account manager for details on programme and resource pricing.

All graduates will be able to:

  • Understand relevant health and safety legislation and workplace safety culture
  • Interpret drawings and specifications and use the appropriate materials, processes, tools and equipment for the task
  • Apply knowledge of relevant engineering principles and practices, and problem solving skills, to perform engineering tasks to industry standards
  • Use effective and efficient processes, principles and quality systems to produce components and provide services in a commercial mechanical engineering environment
  • Communicate effectively within a team and the wider workplace
  • Recognise the limits of their own ability and the importance of working with integrity and maintaining currency in the mechanical engineering field.

Graduates of the General Engineering strand will also be able to:

Build, maintain and repair a broad range of machinery and equipment using fitting, machining, fabrication, hydraulics, pneumatics and welding skills and knowledge.