Metal machining setter or setter-operator

Job holders in this unit group operate machines to drill, bore, grind, cut, mill or otherwise shape metal workpieces.


  • Instructs operators on the safe and correct method of operation of the machine.
  • Repositions workpiece, changes tools and resets machine as necessary during production run.
  • Operates automatic or manual controls to feed tool to workpiece or vice versa and checks accuracy of machining.
  • Sets machine controls for rotation speeds, depth of cut and stroke, and adjusts machine table, stops and guides.
  • Selects and fixes work-holding devices and appropriate cutting, shaping, grinding and/or forming tools.
  • Examines drawings and specifications to determine appropriate method, sequence of operations and machine setting.

Typical Education Level

Level 3 NVQ; A Levels

Will retirement created job openings

In the UK, 22% in this profession are aged 55 or above.* They will likely retire in the next 10 years, creating a demand for new workers

*This is based on national data


Average annual earnings

The current average wage for metal machining setter or setter-operator is £25,721

1,408 positions

Current Employment

The number of jobs in the career for the current year is 1,408. Job counts include both employed and self-employed persons, and do not distinguish between full- and part-time jobs.


Job Postings

Over the past year, jobs have been posted for metal machining setter or setter-operator roles.

How well does it pay?

Normal pay for this occupation is £25,721 per year. That is about £2,143 per month or £13.19 per hour. New workers generally start on £19,032, while highly experienced workers can earn as much as £41,995

Is it growing or declining?

This career has remained the same over the last 2 years, and is expected to remain the same over the next 4 years. Currently, 1,408 people are employed in the region.

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