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Toolmaker
In Summary header image

Toolmaker

A Toolmaker is a skilled worker who produces and maintains precision tools used in the production of metal, plastic and other materials of all shapes and sizes.



Video: Phelim Reilly: Toolmaking / Enginnering, Regional Skills & Training Centre

The work of a toolmaker involves interpreting drawings and technical data to machine and assemble jigs, fixtures, moulding tools, dies and punches.

Care and attention to detail and high precision are the hallmark of toolmaking. Toolmakers work to high specifications and quality requirements to produce machine tools used in manufacturing. Manufacturing industries use the tools to make a diverse range of parts and products.

Toolmakers also make moulds to form shapes, jigs to guide cutters or hold a part in place, and dies, which are shaped blocks that are used to cut, stamp or press materials.

Toolmakers require many skills including:
  • Accuracy with measurements and calculations
  • Ability to interpret engineering drawings to plan the production of a given part or product in accordance with manufacturers specifi cations
  • Operating a range of milling and boring machinery, lathes and CNC equipment in the manufacture of parts and products based on the drawings specified
  • Assembling of manufactured parts ensuring correct and accurate assembly of finished components
  • Use of a range of hand and power tools
  • Testing finished product and assessing for accuracy in accordance with specified drawings
  • Implementing all relevant health and safety legislation in their work practices
  • Use of manufacturing machinery and measuring equipment
Note: Experience has shown that higher grades of entry than those suggested by SOLAS are preferred for the certain apprenticeships, due to the technical nature of the trade. 

Employers typically seek applicants who have completed Leaving Cert including Maths (with at least a grade O5 (grade C3 pre-2017) in Ordinary Level Maths) and preferably Physics


Training header image

Phase 1: With Employer
Induction Training

  • Introduction to Health & Safety
  • Introduction to Tools & Equipment
  • Introduction to Basic Skills
Phase 2: Delivered in Training Centre (20 weeks)
Course Content:
  • Induction
  • Bench Fitting
  • Turning
  • Milling
  • Surface Grinding
  • Press Tools, Jigs & Fixtures, Mouldmaking
  • Introduction to CNC
Phase 3: With Employer
Work Based Training and Assessments

Phase 4: Delivered in Educational Colleges (11 weeks)
  • Turning
  • Milling
  • Surface Grinding
  • Engineering Steels, Mouldmaking, Jigs & Fixtures
  • CNC (computer numerical control) Programming, Operations and Computers
Phase 5: With Employer
Work Based Training and Assessments

Phase 6: Delivered in Educational Colleges (11 weeks)
Course Content:
  • Machining
  • Press Tools & Polymer Forming Techniques
  • CAD/CAM (Computer Aided Design and Computer Aided Manufacturing)
Phase 7: With Employer
Work Based Training and Assessments

The overall duration of this apprenticeship is a minimum of 4 years provided all phases are successfully completed.
On successful completion of the programme the learner is awarded a Level 6 Advanced Certificate Craft - Toolmaking.


Personal Qualities header image

As a Toolmaker you will need to be physically active and to be able to work with your hands.

An awareness of health and safety and good housekeeping is essential as well as attention to detail.

The Toolmaker must have the ability to:

  • Plan and organise
  • Communicate effectively
  • Solve problems
  • Work independently and as part of a team
  • Show a positive attitude
  • Recognise the need for good customer relations
  • Demonstrate good work practices including time keeping, tidiness, responsibility, quality awareness and safety awareness


Work Activities header image

  • Learning and developing new practical craft-related skills, knowledge and competence
  • Working with and learning from experienced craftspersons.
  • Seeing a job through from start to finish
  • Comply with Health and Safety requirements
  • Using tools and operating machinery
  • Being responsible for controlling or adjusting equipment
  • Demonstrate good analytical and troubleshooting skills
  • Understanding technical drawings and diagrams
  • Being accurate with numbers in counting, measuring and arithmetic
  • Being well organised and careful with practical tasks
  • Keeping up to date with changing technologies
  • Being physically active
  • Taking responsibility for own learning, including the allocation of study time.
  • Working in a noisy environment
  • Using tools or machinery to restore/repair/fabricate parts
  • Working with control systems
  • Passing all your phase exams (theory, practical skills demonstration)
  • Earning as you learn


Pay & Fees header image

Funding Arrangements

All apprentices are paid a Training Allowance while attending off-the-job training in training centres or college, and an Apprentice Rate of pay during the on-the-job phases of their apprenticeship.

Details of the Training Allowances payable are available here.

What apprentice rate wages are paid?

Apprentice rates are paid for the on-the-job phases of apprenticeships. The actual rates paid may vary depending on the occupation and employer. Generally, the rates will increase in a number of steps during the apprenticeship. For example:

 

All other Trades

Electrical

Apprentices

APPRENTICE RATE

€ / hr

€ / hr

1st Year Rate

2nd Year Rate

3rd Year Rate

4th Year Rate

5.73

8.61

12.91

15.49

6.22

9.33

13.48

16.59

Note: You should always seek details of specific rates of pay for apprentices from prospective employers.

Apprentice Student Contribution

The Annual Student Contribution is levied on students attending Higher Education Institutions including Institutes of Technology. As part of the changes included in Budget 2014, apprentices now pay the same contribution as full time students, but their contribution is based on the time they spend in the Institute or College.

The Student Contribution is payable to the IoT /College on the date of registration for the training phase. You should consult the relevant IoT/College for details of payment options.

Note: Apprentices are required to pay an examination fee to the IoT or College for repeat exams. 

Female Apprentices' bursary for employers

To promote the entry of women into the designated apprenticeships, a bursary is available to employers to encourage an increased level of recruitment of female apprentices.

For more information Click here or contact your local ETB Training Centre.


Entry Requirements header image

The minimum age at which the employment of an apprentice may commence is 16 years of age. 
The minimum educational requirements are: 
1. Grade D in five subjects in the Department of Education & Skills Junior Certificate Examination or an approved equivalent,
or
2. The successful completion of an approved Pre-Apprenticeship course 
or 
3. Three years’ work experience gained over sixteen years of age in a relevant designated industrial activity as SOLAS shall deem acceptable 

Note: These are the current approved minimum educational requirements for apprenticeship programmes, however, previous experience of the following subjects would be an advantage but not essential:

  • Mathematics
  • Physics
  • Engineering
  • Metalwork
  • Technical Drawing/Graphics
  • Technology
Note: Experience has shown that higher grades of entry than those suggested by SOLAS are preferred for the certain apprenticeships, due to the technical nature of the trade.

Employers typically seek applicants who have completed Leaving Cert including Maths (with at least a grade O5 (grade C3 pre-2017) in Ordinary Level Maths) and preferably Physics.


Getting an Apprenticeship header image

You must obtain employment as an apprentice in your chosen occupation.

  • The employer must be approved to train apprentices.
  • The employer must register you as an apprentice within two weeks of recruitment.


Career Opportunities header image

On successful completion of the apprenticeship programme, apprentices are qualified to work within the recognised trade or profession. 

Where apprentices and craftspersons have the necessary ability, initiative and basic qualifications, opportunities are available for advancement. These include advanced technology courses and management courses which are available in Institutes of Technology, Schools of Management and Professional Institutes.

Many craftspersons use their apprenticeship qualification as a platform to launch careers such as engineers, managers, owners of businesses, teachers and instructors amongst others.


Occupation Profile header image

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Progression Routes header image

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Occupation Data

Toolmaker