Computer Numerical Control (CNC) Technician

When Luke was young, he knew he wanted to use his hands to create things – he just wasn’t sure what it was he wanted to make. When he left school, he took up a carpentry apprenticeship but, while he enjoyed learning, he soon found out it wasn’t quite right for him.

After doing a bit of research, he finally discovered the area he wanted to specialise in: “Eventually I realised that I was interested in mechanical engineering.”

Nowadays, Luke builds highly sophisticated measuring devices that are used in space. He got his job after completing a mechanical apprenticeship at the Science and Technology Facilities Council’s Rutherford Appleton Laboratory.

On a day-to-day basis, Luke applies his precision and attention-to-detail skills to create delicate instruments able to measure and collect valuable information about space.

“It’s exciting to know that the parts and assemblies I’ve manufactured are out in space collecting data for weather forecasting or supporting research into the distant origins of the universe.”

Luke’s expertise in miniature geometries, and his experience of supporting world-leading science, have made him he a key part of the RAL Space Department. Using computer-programmed machines, he is responsible for manufacturing tiny wave devices.

“I use a machine that has a positional accuracy of 0.0003mm – and the cutters and drills I use are half the width of a human hair! It’s cool to know that not many people have the technical skills I have to perform the specialist job I do.”

Luke's career pathway

  • 2008 Left school after finishing his GCSEs and went on to a sixth form college
  • 2009 Became a Carpenter’s apprentice, before realising that he was better suited to mechanical engineering. Joined the Diamond Light Source project as a Technician’s Assistant and was quickly accepted onto the Science and Technology Facility Council’s apprentice scheme as a Mechanical Apprentice
  • 2016 Became a CNC (Computer Numerical Control) Technician at STFC (the Science and Technology Facilities Council)

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What it takes to be a Computer Numerical Control (CNC) Technician

View attributes in the prospectus

Average salary

Average salary for this job in the UK £26,000
Average salary for a job in the UK* £26,260

Employment statuses

  • Full Time Employed: 39,007
  • Part Time Employed: 8,246
  • Self Employed: 1,339
  • TOTAL EMPLOYED: 48,592

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*according to ONS

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