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Career profile: CAD technician

Career profile: CAD technicianAre you creative and good at drawing? CAD technicians (or engineering designers) use computers to help with the design of engineered products from architecture to aircraft.

A what?

CAD stands for computer-aided design. The technicians or draughtspeople who use these specialised programs help engineers to visualise their ideas.

On the job

CAD technicians are needed for almost every aspect of engineering, so they could work for a civil engineering firm (which makes buildings and other types of structures), a rail network (helping to design trains and tracks) or an electronic systems company. Virtually all engineers work with CAD technicians.

The job involves creating designs on a computer, so you would mainly based in an office. Most CAD technicians work in a team with other engineers and designers. Junior draughtspeople work on smaller parts of the project while more experienced people will help sketch out large sections of the product.

Future prospects

There are lots of job openings for talented CAD technicians all over the country. As well as engineering firms, you could work in broadcasting and telecommunications industries or for public utilities such as water and electricity supply, local authorities and government departments.

The salary can range from anywhere between £15,000 to over £30,000 a year, depending on your experience and where you work.

How do I get there?

One way to become a CAD technician is to do an apprenticeship. You can do these at 16 or 18 and the entry grades tend to be four GCSEs/S grades (A-C/1-3) including maths and chemistry or technology, or an Intermediate GNVQ/GSVQ Level II.

Another route is by doing an Advanced Vocational Certificate of Education (AVCE)/GSVQ Level III, or a BTEC national certificate/diploma, or SQA national certificate group award in an engineering subject, project control or management. Entry for these courses is the same as for apprenticeships.

Apprenticeships which may be available in England are Young apprenticeships, Pre-Apprenticeships, apprenticeships and Advanced apprenticeships. Try visiting www.apprenticeships.org.uk to find out which would suit you.

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