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Arts & crafts

Model maker

Model makers create 3D models for many uses, from prototypes and film sets, to construction, engineering and architecture projects.

Annual Salary

£19,000 to £31,000

Average UK salary in 2022 was £33,200
(source Office for National Statistics)

Working hours

43 to 45 variable

You could work: evenings / weekends / bank holidays; flexibly

4.8%
Future employment

There will be 4.8% fewer Model maker jobs in 2027.

Day to day tasks

On a typical day you could:

  • discuss the brief with the designer or client
  • use freehand drawing skills or computer-aided design (CAD) to illustrate initial ideas
  • use a range of hand, power and machine tools and computerised equipment to make models
  • use electronics or mechanical methods to make working models with moving parts
  • carry out finishing processes like hand colouring or spray painting
  • make fully functioning prototypes of new products
  • use 3D printing and Computer Aided Manufacturing (CAM) tools

Working environment

You may need to wear protective clothing.

You could work in a creative studio or in a workshop.

Your working environment may be dusty.

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course
  • a college course
  • an apprenticeship
University

You can do a foundation degree or degree in a subject like:

  • modelmaking
  • 3D design
  • art and design
  • sculpture
  • visual effects
  • product design

You'll usually need a portfolio of work to get onto a course. A foundation course in art and design can help you to prepare for this.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • a foundation diploma in art and design
  • at least 1 A level, or equivalent, for a foundation degree
  • 2 to 3 A levels, or equivalent, for a degree
For more information
College

You could do a college course to help you get started as a model maker. Courses include:

  • Level 3 Award In 3D Computer-aided Design
  • Level 3 Diploma in 3D Design and Crafts
  • Level 4 Diploma in Art and Design

A Level 3 Diploma in Carpentry, Woodworking or Engineering Design may also be helpful.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, for a level 3 course
  • 1 or 2 A levels, a level 3 diploma or relevant experience for a level 4 or level 5 course
For more information
Apprenticeship

You may be able to get into this job through an apprenticeship that includes model making skills. For example, a Building services design technician or Engineering, woodworking, pattern and modelmaking advanced apprenticeships.

You can also do a Props technician advanced apprenticeship if you want to work in TV and film.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English and maths, for an advanced apprenticeship
For more information
Direct application

You may be able to apply for jobs if you have experience of model making from other work like engineering, architectural technology, set design, carpentry or prop making.

More information

Career tips

Making things out of different types of materials as a hobby can help you to stretch your creativity and practise problem solving. You can demonstrate your potential to course providers and employers by creating a portfolio.

Further information

Find more advice about working in model making in the creative industries through ScreenSkills.

For information on model making in architecture go to the Society of Architectural Illustrators.

You can get more information on working in creative careers from Discover Creative Careers.

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You could specialise in making models for a particular sector like architecture, advertising and exhibitions, product design, film, TV or animation.

With experience you could lead a team of model makers or manage a model making business.

You could run your own business or become an agent for other model makers.

Skills required and how your skills match up

What skills are required?

You'll need:

  • design skills and knowledge
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • knowledge of engineering science and technology
  • patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
  • knowledge of manufacturing production and processes
  • the ability to come up with new ways of doing things
  • to be flexible and open to change
  • analytical thinking skills
  • the ability to work well with your hands
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently
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