Engineering machinists create, assemble and repair metal products by interpreting designs, measuring metals, and operating machines to cut and shape them.
Apprentice engineering machinists usually earn
$42K-$48K per year
Experienced engineering machinists usually earn
$48K-$103K per year
Source: Kelly Services, '2019 Salary Guide', March 2019.
Pay for engineering machinists varies depending on experience.
- Apprentice engineering machinists may start on the training minimum wage or minimum wage with pay increasing as they learn skills or complete unit standards.
- Qualified engineering machinists usually earn $48,000 to $80,000 a year.
- Highly experienced engineering machinists who manage teams or specialise in making complicated products may earn up to $103,000.
Source: Kelly Services, '2019 Salary Guide', March 2019.
- PAYE.net.nz website - use this calculator to convert pay and salary information
- Employment New Zealand website - information about minimum wage rates
(This information is a guide only. Find out more about the sources of our pay information)
What you will do
Engineering machinists may do some or all of the following:
- interpret engineering drawings and instructions
- measure and mark up materials for cutting
- operate machines to cut and shape the materials
- weld parts together
- test finished products
- design tools and equipment using computer-aided design (CAD) software
- clean, maintain and repair machinery.
Skills and knowledge
Engineering machinists need to have:
- knowledge of different metals and materials
- the ability to operate specialised tools and machinery
- the ability to read and interpret plans and drawings
- knowledge of health and safety procedures
- the ability to perform simple calculations
- skills with computer-aided design (CAD) software and computerised numerical control (CNC) machines
- may work regular business hours or do shift work
- work in workshops or factories
- work in conditions that may be dirty, noisy, hot or cramped.
There are no specific entry requirements to become an engineering machinist.
However, most employers prefer you to have, or be working towards a New Zealand Certificate in Mechanical Engineering – Trade (Level 4).
In your last year of training you will specialise in one of:
- fitting and machining
- general engineering
- maintenance engineering
- metal forming
Apprentice Training NZ (ATNZ) employs, trains and places mechanical engineering apprentices. You can also get an apprenticeship directly through an employer.
Competenz oversees mechanical engineering apprenticeships.
- ATNZ website - information on how to get an apprenticeship
- Competenz website - information on qualifications in mechanical engineering
No specific secondary education is required to become an engineering machinist but maths, physics, English and construction and mechanical technologies to at least NCEA Level 2 are useful.
For Year 11 to 13 learners, trades academies and the STAR and Gateway programmes are good ways to gain relevant experience and skills.
These programmes may help you gain an apprenticeship, but do not reduce the amount of time it takes to complete it.
Engineering machinists need to be:
- accurate, efficient and organised
- able to work well in a team
- good at communicating
- reliable and hardworking.
Useful experience for engineering machinists includes:
- work using tools or machines
- manual labour
Engineering machinists need to:
- be reasonably fit and strong
- have good hand-eye co-ordination and steady hands
- have good eyesight (with or without corrective lenses)
- be comfortable working in confined spaces or at heights.
Find out more about training
- 0800 526 1800 - firstname.lastname@example.org - www.competenz.org.nz
What are the chances of getting a job?
Engineering machinists in demand
Engineering machinists are in demand because:
- a number of them are reaching retirement age – 32% of engineering machinists were over 55 years old in 2018
- not enough people are training for the job.
According to the Census, 10,671 engineering machinists worked in New Zealand in 2018.
Engineering machinist on skill shortage list
The roles of metal fabricator, welder, and fitter-welder all appear on Immigration New Zealand's construction and infrastructure skill shortage list. This means the Government is actively encouraging skilled engineering machinists from overseas to work in New Zealand.
Types of employers varied
Engineering machinists may work for:
- specialist machining companies
- engineering workshops
- factories that make machines, equipment, appliances and plastic products
- industrial sites such as milk powder factories.
- Competenz website, accessed September 2020, (www.competenz.org.nz).
- Immigration New Zealand, 'Construction and Infrastructure Skill Shortage List', 27 May 2019, (www.immigration.govt.nz).
- Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, 'Manufacturing Fact Sheet', 25 March 2020, (www.mbie.govt.nz).
- Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, 'Monthly Labour Market Fact Sheet', 6 August 2020, (www.mbie.govt.nz).
- Stats NZ, '2018 Census Data', 2019.
(This information is a guide only. Find out more about the sources of our job opportunities information)
Progression and specialisations
Engineering machinists may progress to work:
- as supervisors or managers
- in product design or technical sales.
Engineering machinists usually specialise in one of the following roles:
- CNC Operator
- CNC operators program computers to make metal parts at a very fine level of detail.
- Fitter and Turner
- Fitters and turners make parts for factory machines and equipment.
- Fabricators cut, bend and weld together sheets of metal to make metal products.
- General Engineer
- General engineers do a wide range of maintenance work, including welding and fabrication.
- Machining Engineer
- Machining engineers make parts that require a high level of precision. They use a mix of computer, machine and manual skills.
- Metal Casting Engineer
- Metal casting engineers produce parts from molten metal.
- Maintenance Engineer
- Maintenance engineers maintain machinery and production lines in factories.
- Toolmakers make dies (which press shapes out of metal) and moulds (which can be filled with liquid metal). These are used to make everyday items.
Last updated 18 May 2021