Engineering draughtspeople produce detailed drawings and instructions for making a wide range of engineering products. They usually use computer-aided design (CAD) technology.
Also known as
- Electronics/Electrical Draughtsperson
- CAD Draughtsperson
- Mechanical Engineering Draughtsperson
Video: - Marc: Mechanical Engineering Draughtsperson
Engineering draughtspeople produce detailed drawings and instructions for making a wide range of engineering products, such as electronic, electrical or mechanical products.
There are two main types of draughtsperson: design and detail.
Design draughtspeople calculate the number, size and weight of parts. They check the design's safety, and come up with the most cost-effective manufacturing methods and materials. Next, they produce a 'scheme' or general outline scale drawing.
Design draughtspeople need to be familiar with the methods and production processes used on the shop floor, in order to produce a realistic drawing. During all stages of the design process, they consult with production managers and supervisors to see whether their suggestions are workable.
Detail draughtspeople produce the final accurate drawings for use by production workers. They use computer-aided design (CAD) technology in their work.
They break the scheme down into a series of drawings for each stage of production. They must produce drawings that are detailed, yet clear and easy for the production workers to understand.
To help them do this, they need a thorough knowledge of the machinery used on the shop floor. They need to understand what each machine is capable of, and the skill level of the shop floor workers.
Both design and detail draughtspeople use mathematical calculations and formulae in their work, and need to be comfortable working with calculators and computers. They may also have to do some basic admin tasks like making and updating parts lists.
Being able to read, write and speak Welsh may be an advantage when you’re looking for work in Wales.
Personal Qualities and Skills
As an engineering draughtsperson, you need:
- To be capable of working accurately and carefully.
- To pay great attention to detail.
- To be able to concentrate for long periods.
- Computer skills, for using computer-aided design (CAD) technology.
- Technical drawing skills. Although used less often these days, they are useful for updating old drawings.
- To be a good communicator.
- To be able to liaise with supervisors and shop floor workers, listen to their points of view, and produce final drawings and instructions that are easily understood by craftworkers and operatives.
Your colour vision may be tested, for example, if you need to colour-code wires and parts on the plans.
Pay and Opportunities
The pay rates given below are approximate.
Engineering draughtspeople earn in the range of £17,000 - £22,500 a year, rising to £26,000 - £30,500, with experience.
Hours of work
Engineering draughtspeople typically work up to a 39-hour week, Monday to Friday, with occasional late finishes and weekend work, especially as deadlines approach.
What's happening in this area
This industry no longer dominates manufacturing employment as it used to.
The sector was hard hit by the recent recession, but it has recovered slightly.
However, cutbacks in public expenditure in areas such as defence will reduce growth rates.
UK engineering is now a much smaller, leaner sector.
It suffers from a shortage of high-skilled personnel, and also a shortage of women, with around 3 in 4 jobs being taken by men. As a result, men are expected to bear the brunt of expected fall in employment.
Full time employees are also expected to suffer the main job losses.
Part-time employment is increasing in importance.
Where could I work?
Employers include manufacturers of electrical/electronic products, and firms in service industries and manufacturing and processing industries.
Other employers are electricity generation and distribution companies, and national and local government departments, for example, the Ministry of Defence, research establishments and the armed forces.
Opportunities for engineering draughtspeople occur with employers in towns and cities throughout the UK.
Where are vacancies advertised?
Vacancies are advertised in local/national newspapers, trade industry publications, at Jobcentre Plus and on the Universal Jobmatch website.
Vacancies can also be found through specialist engineering recruitment agencies, internet job boards and the websites of large manufacturing/electrical organisations.
Entry Routes and Training
An Advanced Level Apprenticeship is a great place to start.
You may also be able to enter employment as a trainee, receiving day- or block-release to go to college part-time.
Another entry route is to take a full-time college course, leading to a relevant A level or Edexcel (BTEC) National qualification (eg, Engineering), or a City & Guilds qualification in computer-aided design (CAD), before looking for employment.
You may be able to work towards a relevant work-based qualification, such as Engineering Technical Support (Engineering Drawing) at levels 2 and 3.
Engineering draughtspeople can gain Engineering Technician (EngTech) professional status, which is highly regarded by employers throughout industry.
To register as an EngTech, you must join a relevant, professional engineering institution licensed by the Engineering Council.
To become an EngTech, you need to demonstrate the appropriate competence and commitment. The standards for this are set out in the Engineering Council's UK-SPEC document, which can be downloaded from their website.
UK-SPEC and the engineering institution you've joined can tell you which qualifications are accredited or approved towards EngTech status. Your engineering institution will also advise you on, and process, your application.
Applicants will have usually completed an apprenticeship or other work-based learning programme approved by their professional engineering institution. This can lead directly to EngTech registration.
If you don't have formal qualifications you may still apply for EngTech registration by showing you have gained the necessary skills through working experience.
With further education and training, engineering technicians can go on to register at Incorporated Engineer (IEng) and Chartered Engineer (CEng) level.
To get onto an Advanced Level Apprenticeship, you'll usually need 5 GCSEs at grade C or above, including English and Maths, or to have completed an Intermediate Level Apprenticeship.
Training providers may ask you to take an aptitude test.
It is illegal for any organisation to set age limits for entry to employment, education or training, unless they can show there is a real need to have these limits.
Relevant skills and/or qualifications in computer-aided design (CAD) technology or technical drawing are an advantage.
International Correspondence Schools offer an entry-level course in drawing and design: Introduction to AutoCAD, by distance learning.
Information on pathways to registration as an Engineering Technician (EngTech) can be found on the Engineering Council's website.
- 17% of engineering draughtspeople are self-employed.
- 6% work part-time.
- 17% have flexible hours.
Professional institutionsProfessional institutions have the following roles:
- To support their members.
- To protect the public by keeping standards high in their professions.
For more information on the institution(s) relevant to this career, check out the contacts below.
Apprenticeships: Get In. Go Far
National Apprenticeship Service (NAS)
Tel: 0800 015 0400
Skills Development Scotland - Modern Apprenticeships
Tel: 0800 9178000
Skills for science, engineering and manufacturing technologies
Address: 14 Upton Road, Watford, Hertfordshire WD18 0JT
Tel: 0845 6439001
Engineering technology news
Publisher: EngineeringUK and Royal Academy of Engineering
City & Guilds
Address: 1 Giltspur Street, London EC1A 9DD
Tel: 020 7294 2468
International Correspondence Schools (ICS Learn)
Tel: 0800 0563983
Construction Industry Training Board (CITB)
Address: Blue Court, Church Lane, Kings Langley, Hertfordshire WD4 8JP
Tel: 01923 260000
Publisher: Venture Marketing Group
Address: 105 West George Street, Glasgow G2 1QL
Tel: 0141 2213181
Address: 246 High Holborn, London WC1V 7EX
Tel: 020 3206 0500
Engineering Training Council Northern Ireland (ETC NI)
Northern Ireland Enquiries
Address: Sketrick House, Ards Business Park, Jubilee Road, Newtownards BT23 4YH
Tel: 028 9182 2377
Careers Wales - Welsh Apprenticeships
Tel: 0800 028 4844