Toolmakers and Engineering Patternmakers make and repair tools, dies, jigs, fixtures and other precision parts and equipment to fine tolerances for machine tools and other production machinery, and construct full-size engineering, visual and experimental models and models for the manufacture of prototype developmental products.

A Certificate III including at least 2 years of on-the-job training, or a Certificate IV, or at least 3 years of relevant experience, is usually needed. Three quarters of workers have this level of qualification. Sometimes experience or on-the-job training is needed in addition to a qualification.

Tasks

  • studying drawings and specifications to determine dimensions and tolerances of articles to be manufactured and models to be constructed
  • measuring and marking out metal stock and castings using various gauges
  • shaping metal and wood stock using machine tools
  • checking accuracy of manufactured articles and finished patterns to fine tolerances, using precision measuring instruments
  • testing and modifying manufactured articles
  • applying protective finishes to patterns and painting pattern sections to indicate method of assembly
  • assembling pattern sections and shaping work pieces to specified finish
  • pouring and spreading materials into moulds and over models of patterns, and building laminations of fibreglass cloth and plastic resin to fabricate patterns
  • repairing broken and damaged patterns and correcting patterns to compensate for defects in casting
  • constructing templates for layout and inspection

Job Titles

  • Engineering Patternmaker
  • Toolmaker
  • Engineering Patternmaker

    Constructs full-size engineering models usually made out of timber, which are used in manufacturing to produce metal castings, copy models, vacuum form tooling and tooling for the automotive, aircraft or fibreglass industries.

  • Toolmaker

    Makes and repairs tools, dies, jigs, fixtures and other precision parts and equipment to fine tolerances for machine tools and other production machinery.

    Specialisations: Die Caster, Die Sinker, Jigmaker (Metal), Plastic Mould Maker, Press-tool Maker

Fast Facts

  • Avg. Weekly Pay

    $1,324 Before Tax
  • Future Growth

    moderate
  • Skill Level

    Certificate III or IV
  • Employment Size

    4,800
  • Unemployment

    below average
  • Male Share

    96.9%
  • Female Share

    3.1%
  • Full-Time Share

    84.0%

Find Vacancies

This is a very small occupation employing 4800 workers. Over the past 5 years the number of jobs has fallen slightly.
Moderate growth is expected in the future. New jobs and turnover from workers leaving may create up to 5,000 job openings over the 5 years to 2020.

  • Toolmakers and Engineering Patternmakers work in most parts of Australia.
  • They mainly work in: Manufacturing; Other Services; and Construction.
  • Full-time work is very common. Full-time workers, on average, work 41.7 hours per week (compared to the all jobs average of 40 hours).
  • Average earnings for full-time workers are around $1,324 per week (similar to the all jobs average of $1,230). Earnings tend to be lower when starting out and higher as experience grows.
  • The workforce is fairly mature. The average age is 47 years (compared to the all jobs average of 40 years) and around 6 in 10 workers are aged 45 years or older.
  • More than 9 in 10 workers are male.
  • In 2016, the unemployment rate was below average.

Employment Outlook

Number of Workers

Source: ABS Labour Force Survey, Department of Employment trend data to November 2015 and Department of Employment projections to 2020.
YearNumber of Workers
20057900
20068300
20075500
20086200
20095300
20105300
20112700
20127100
20135000
20145000
20154800
20205200

Weekly Earnings

Full-time Earnings

All Jobs Average

Weekly Earnings (before tax)

Source: Based on ABS Characteristics of Employment survey, August 2015, Cat. No. 6333.0, Customised Report. Median earnings are before tax and do not include superannuation. Earnings can vary greatly depending on the skills and experience of the worker and the demands of the role. These figures should be used as a guide only, not to determine a wage rate.
EarningsToolmakers and Engineering PatternmakersAll Jobs Average
Full-Time Earnings13241230

Hours

Weekly Hours Worked

Source: Based on ABS Labour Force Survey, annual average 2016, Cat. No. 6291.0.55.003: Customised Report. Hours actually worked by people who usually work full-time, and share of employment by full-time and part-time status, for this job compared to the all jobs average.
CategoryToolmakers and Engineering PatternmakersAll Jobs Average
Full-time84.068.4
Part-time16.031.6
Average Weekly Hours (full-time)41.740.0

Main Industries

Top Industries

Main Employing Industries (% share)

Source: Based on ABS Labour Force Survey, annual average 2016, Cat. No. 6291.0.55.003: Customised Report. Industries are based on the Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification (ANZSIC 06).
Main Employing IndustriesIndustry (% share)
Manufacturing78.6
Other Services12.8
Construction4.4
Health Care and Social Assistance2.9
Other Industries1.3

States and Territories

  • NSW

  • VIC

  • QLD

  • SA

  • TAS

  • NT

  • ACT

Employment by State and Territory (% share)

Source: Based on ABS Labour Force Survey, annual average 2016, Cat. No. 6291.0.55.003: Customised Report. Share of workers across Australian States and Territories, in this job compared to the all jobs average.
StateToolmakers and Engineering PatternmakersAll Jobs Average
NSW28.431.8
VIC31.025.5
QLD22.719.8
SA9.46.8
WA7.711.2
TAS0.92.0
NT0.01.1
ACT0.01.8

Age Profile

Age Profile (% share)

Source: Based on ABS Labour Force Survey, annual average 2016, Cat. No. 6291.0.55.003: Customised Report. Age profile of workers in this job compared to the all jobs average.
Age BracketToolmakers and Engineering PatternmakersAll Jobs AverageAll Jobs Average
15-190.9-5.45.4
20-240.0-9.99.9
25-3410.9-23.423.4
35-4430.7-21.721.7
45-5425.1-21.121.1
55-5920.3-8.78.7
60-642.7-5.95.9
65 and Over9.4-3.83.8

Gender

Male Share

Female Share

Gender (% share)

Source: Based on ABS Labour Force Survey, annual average 2016, Cat. No. 6291.0.55.003: Customised Report. Male and female share of employment in this job compared to the all jobs average.
CategoryToolmakers and Engineering PatternmakersCategoryAll Jobs Average
Males96.9Males53.6
Females3.1Females46.4

Education Level

Top Education Levels

Highest Level of Education (% share)

No data is available for the selected graph for this Occupation.

A Certificate III including at least 2 years of on-the-job training, or a Certificate IV, or at least 3 years of relevant experience, is usually needed. Three quarters of workers have this level of qualification. Sometimes experience or on-the-job training is needed in addition to a qualification.

If you are interested in this style of work, there are a wide range of training options available that could lead to this or a similar job.
The pathway that is right for you will depend on your skills and interests.

It is a good idea to speak to industry bodies, employers, and workers to learn more about the skills and qualifications you will need.

Employers look for Toolmakers and Engineering Patternmakers who are reliable, work well in a team and have a strong work ethic.

Knowledge

The topics, subjects, or knowledge areas workers rate as most important are shown below.

  1. Mechanical

    89% Important

    Machines and tools, including their designs, uses, repair, and maintenance.

  2. Mathematics

    86% Important

    Arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, or statistics.

  3. Design

    82% Important

    Design techniques, tools, and principles used to make detailed technical plans, blueprints, drawings, and models.

  4. Engineering and Technology

    80% Important

    Use engineering science and technology to design and produce goods and services.

  5. Production and Processing

    74% Important

    Raw materials, production processes, quality control, costs, and ways of making and distributing goods.

Occupational Information Network Computer-Controlled Machine Tool Operators, Metal and Plastic Opens in a new window
O*NET is a trademark of the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration. The information on this site is derived from the US Department of Labor O*NET Database Version 21.2

Learn about the daily activities, and physical and social demands faced by workers. Explore the values and work styles that workers rate as most important.

Activities

The work activities workers rate as most important are shown below.

  1. Controlling Machines and Processes

    93% Important

    Operate machines or processes either directly or using controls (not including computers or vehicles).

  2. Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Material

    79% Important

    Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials for errors, problems or defects.

  3. Making Decisions and Solving Problems

    78% Important

    Using information to work out the best solution and solve problems.

  4. Getting Information

    78% Important

    Looking for, getting and understanding different kinds of information.

  5. Processing Information

    77% Important

    Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or checking information or data.

Occupational Information Network Computer-Controlled Machine Tool Operators, Metal and Plastic Opens in a new window
O*NET is a trademark of the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration. The information on this site is derived from the US Department of Labor O*NET Database Version 21.2

go to top