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Fitter and turner jobs refer broadly to an industrial occupation where workers operate a range of machinery, equipment, and tools to produce manufactured products. They work with a variety of materials including metal, plastic and wood. While all the jobs are essentially machinist jobs, there are specialised roles. For example, a turner may work exclusively on creating parts while a fitter assembles these parts to make the whole product. These jobs are required mainly in manufacturing, automotive and mining industries, with other specialist fields in the air force.

Advances in machine technology are tending to blur the lines between these roles, particularly as multi capability machines become more widely used.


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Fitter, turner and machinist jobs form a large employment category. According to the Department of Employment there were more than 117,000 workers employed in these roles recorded in November 2015. The number of vacancies over one year from November 2015 to November 2016 was recorded as being just over 14,500. This indicates that there are good employment opportunities across all Australian states and in most regions.

The Department of Employment has forecast a high demand for metal fitters and machinists for the period November 2014 up to November 2019 with an expected 50,000 job openings. The Australian Skill Shortage List for 2015-2016 shows a national shortage of Metal Machinists (First Class), so prospects for this job are particularly strong.

The requirements for most fitter and turner jobs and machinist jobs is full-time employment, with wages generally above the average Australian salary of $57,000. The unemployment rate for workers with these skills is low.

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Projections from the Australian Department of Employment, 2015 to 2020. Note data is '000.


Metal Casting Trades Worker, Metal Fabricator, Metal Polisher, Sheet Metal Trades Worker, Structural Steel and Welding Trades Workers, Metal Casting, Forging and Finishing Trades Workers.


Machinists are responsible for producing tools, parts, and products by using a range of equipment and machines. The job almost exclusively involves working on producing metal products. In these jobs, workers use detailed specifications and technical drawings to aid them in developing precise and sophisticated parts. They must measure and define the exact places to cut and shape the materials, and then operate the machinery involved in the manufacturing processes. Besides setting up and running the machines, they may also be involved in maintenance of the equipment. Machinists may also be involved in performing heat related processes on metals to shape and set metal designs.

Fitters and turners perform similar work, but may specialise in using specific tools and equipment in addition to the more general machines that a metal machinist may operate. Fitters may work exclusively on the assembly process of complicated goods and products, while turners may work only on the cutting process.  

In general, fitter and turner and machinist jobs use precise, complicated, and often potentially dangerous equipment to produce parts for other tools, equipment, and machines used in a range of industries including mining, the aviation industry, and the automotive industry. As part of the production process, they are involved in:

  • Using technical specifications

  • Interpreting those specifications to produce precision parts

  • Preparing pattern equipment for the cutting and production processes

  • Setting machine controls and operating the equipment

  • Using industrial tools to assemble parts


As of 2014, data from the ATO, collated and reported by OpenWage reports an average annual salary of $81,000 for fitters and turners. Annual wage growth is anticipated at 5.2%, so wage levels will continue to stay markedly above the average Australian wage of $57,000.  The level of pay varies quite significantly across Australian states, with workers in Tasmania averaging only $72,000 but Western Australia paying up to $105,000.

The pay for metal machinists is lower than fitters and turners with an average salary of $61,000. Again, there is marked difference between the states in the salary paid to machinists. Wages start at $55,000 per annum in Tasmania and are highest in Western Australia at $75,000. Annual wage growth is estimated at 4.3%.

The wage difference between the states is likely due to fitters and turners and machinists working in mining jobs in states like Western Australia.


Most fitter and turner jobs and machinist jobs require a Certificate III or IV, and workers normally enter into these jobs via an apprenticeship. These apprenticeships take about four years to complete and can be started while the employee is still at school.  

The Department of Education and Training provides details of a Metal and Engineering Training Package. This provides a good overview of the typical subjects that comprise a Certificate II or IV qualification. Workers in these jobs can go on to gain Diploma and Advanced Diploma training if desired.

The Department of Education and Training details training and certification requirements along with specific units unique to fitter and turner and machinist jobs. Gold Training offers a range of accredited and non-accredited training. If Gold Training does not have the specific course listed, the Department of Education and Training maintains a register of training providers along with the courses they administer. Individual states also maintain details of education and training requirements, along with relevant apprenticeship and traineeship information for most job occupations.