Subject Material

CNC Operator in the UK

Published: 13.04.2015
Dreiing: Metallarbeider justerer kontrollene på en CNC (Computer Numerical Control) dreiebenk

Are you thinking of becoming a CNC operator when you are finished at school? Would you consider working abroad in an English-speaking country after your apprenticeship is completed? If so, the interview below will give you an idea of what it is like to work as a CNC operator in England.

 A CNC operatorA CNC operator 

Cutting Fluid is pumped over the cutting area on a CNC latheCutting Fluid is pumped over the cutting area on a CNC lathe 

Operating a CNC milling machineOperating a CNC milling machine   

Detail of a metal latheDetail of a metal lathe 


Before listening, use the dictionary to check that you know the meaning of the following words: gap; ply (plywood); carpenter; joiner; CAD; insecurity

Listen to the following interview with a CNC operator in the UK and find out:

  • Where he works. (type of company - large/small, etc)
  • Where about in the UK he works.
  • Why he chose this profession.
  • What type of tasks he has to do on a typical day at work.
  • What personal qualities he suggests are needed by a CNC operator.
  • Does he describe any work processes or services that he provides?
  • What he likes best and least about his job.
  • How he thinks this line of work will change in the future.
  • Where he sees himself in 5 - 10 years' time.


CNC Operator - Interview  

Apprenticeship and Training

  1. Find out about becoming a CNC operator in the UK. Make a table with 3 columns: What does the job involve, the salary, and the qualifications and training required. Below, you will find some useful links.
  2. Now compare a CNC operator's job and education in the UK with a CNC operator's job and education in Norway. Utdanning - Yrkesbeskrivelse 



After you have practised, add more dialogue for some of the following situations:

  • The manager says that they have a large workload at the moment and will not be able to do the job until next week. This makes the customer angry.
  • The customer is telephoning to ask if his plywood profiles are finished. They were supposed to be done by this afternoon.
  • The customer phones to complain about the plywood profiles that were made for him. The dimensions are incorrect.