Machinists produce precision components from scratch using both traditional methods and
high-tech equipment.

Careers information

What does it involve?

Machinists are able to manufacture precision componentry from engineering materials using a wide range of machining and hand processes.

As part of their job, machinists make metal parts utilising machine tools like lathes, milling machines, and machining centres. Normally parts will be made in large volumes, but precision machinists also make small quantities of unique or special parts.

In order to make products that hold to strict specs, machinists must rely on their knowledge and understanding of the materials’ properties while utilising their skills and abilities in combination with machine tools.

Typical day

Normally an 8-hour day; sometimes working longer maybe required.

Each day can be quite different; fitting and machining work is varied and can include;

  • the assembly, alignment and machining of components; and
  • installation of machines, hydraulic or pneumatic control systems.

Using tools like lathes, milling machines, machining centres and CNC machines, you could be making componentry in bulk or making small quantities of unique or special parts.

How could I get into the industry

Does this sound like you?

Study areas

Attributes Helpful experience Preferred work environments
  • English or Media or History
  • Maths or Accounting or Economics
  • Sciences or Workshop Technologies
  • Computing / ICT / Information Management
  • Good at precision work
  • Good literacy and numeracy
  • Confidence with IT, computers, technology
  • Good work habits / time management
  • Making or fixing things
  • Working with machinery
  • Working with computers
  • Inside (workshop or plant)
  • Different places from time to time

How much could I earn?

  • 2 years experience

    $42k- $52k

  • 5 years experience

    $53k- $80k

Career pathway

School Entry level jobs Advancing jobs Senior jobs

Ideally, NCEA Level 2 passes in:


  • Maths
  • Science (Physics)
  • Technology (Metal Work)
  • English


  • Machining Engineer
  • Fitting and Assembly Work
  • Machine Shop
  • Fitter and Turner
  • CNC Programmer / Operator
  • Manufacturing Engineer


  • Specialist Engineer
  • Engineering Supervisor
  • Leading Hand
  • Workshop Supervisor
  • Welding Supervisor


  • Foreman
  • Site Supervisor
  • Business Manager
  • Business Owner
Unit/Achievement standards in schools Apprenticeship Higher learning Higher learning

For more information

Careers NZ website