Toolmakers craft the tools essential for New Zealand’s industrial processes.

Careers information

What does it involve?

Toolmakers are trained in engineering skills and knowledge to make moulds, dies, gauges, jigs, tooling, press 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 sheet metal presses or injection moulding, blow moulding, extrusion, and pressure die-casting operations.

Typical day

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

Work can include design and manufacturing moulds, dies or casts for mass-produced product containers (for example paint and aerosol cans, etc.) 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.

How could I get into the industry

Does this sound like you?

Study areas

Attributes Helpful experience Preferred work environments
  • English or Media Studies 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)

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
  • Toolmaker
  • Machine Shop
  • CNC Programmer / Operator
  • Research and Development Manufacturing
  • Specialist Toolmaker
  • Supervisor
  • Foreman
  • Site Supervisor
  • Business Manager
  • Business Owner
Unit/Achievement standards in schools Apprenticeship Higher learning Higher learning

For more information

Careers NZ website