Careers | Millwright/Industrial Mechanic

Millwright Tradesperson

The Millwright installs, maintains, dismantles and reassembles machinery for repairs or modification. In order to perform all of these functions effectively, the millwright must possess a wide range of knowledge. Mechanical reasoning, communication and decision making are major aspects of the millwright trade.

The Millwright is not confined to one area of the workplace; he/she will move to various pieces of machinery to perform his/her duties. The machinery is as diversified as the industry itself. Over the past few years the trade has become very high tech. The use and knowledge of computers is an asset. Not all industries are high tech, but as a millwright you may be required to work with older equipment one day and state of the art equipment the next.

The certified Millwright is qualified by education, experience, and examination. They work in both heavy and light industry for the purpose of:

  • maintaining existing machines
  • construction of new machine installations
  • research & development

Professional Maintenance Millwrights dismantle and reassemble or make modifications to maintain existing machinery.

Maintenance Millwrights, sometimes called Industrial Mechanics, do the maintenance repairs and modifications. They usually maintain steady long term employment.

Professional Construction Millwrights work on new installations and therefore constantly relocate to new locations.

What skills do you need to become a Millwright?

In order to perform all of their duties effectively, the millwright must possess a wide range of knowledge and skills in many trades. Mechanical reasoning and ability, communication and decision making are major aspects of the millwright trade. Over the past few years the trade has become very high tech., therefore knowledge of computer technology is an asset.

Machinist Tradesperson

The certified Machinist is a highly skilled tradesperson qualified by education, experience, and examination to work with machine tools to bring castings or pieces of material to required sizes and shape by removing material. This is accomplished by operating a variety of machine tools, the lathe being the most common.

The size of the piece of material that the Machinist works with can vary from a few grams in weight to a tonne or more. Likewise, the accuracy of the sizes may vary from a few millimetres to 0.01mm or less (an average hair is about 0.05mm). The Machinist is also concerned with the surface finish of the work. This can vary from rough machined surfaces, to a high mirror finished surface. They may be required to work to a wide tolerance (rough work) to a very fine tolerance (fine accurate work).

The Machinist must understand the relationship between planning, machining operations, time and cost.

What skills do you need to become a Machinist?

Like the millwright, the machinist must possess a wide range of knowledge in the trade, have good mechanical reasoning ability, math and communication skills. The machinist must understand the relationship between planning, machining operations, time and costs. Machinist should have a thorough knowledge of metallurgy and heat-treating. They should also have a basic understanding of welding, hydraulics, electricity and computer technology.

How Do These Trades Relate to Each Other?

Very often a journeyperson has to combine the skills of both trades to carry out his duties. He/she may have to machine a component to size and then fit it to a machine to replace worn or damaged parts.

Just about every item you can buy has had both a Millwright and Machinist associated with it, or with the machinery that was used to produce it. Therefore, there is always a high demand for the skilled Millwright and Machinist.

Points To Think About:

Many highly qualified Engineers started their working lives as apprentice Millwrights or Machinists.

There are certain prerequisites required before entering these trades. First of all, you must ask yourself,

"Do I have the will, the commitment and the capabilities to succeed as a tradesperson?"

Trades people should be in good physical condition. They use strength, finesse and have excellent hand-eye coordination on a day to day basis. They must also be competent in mathematics, physics, and mechanical reasoning. Communication, planning, and organizing are vital aspects of these trades.

The best way to become a qualified millwright or machinist is to successfully complete a formal four-year apprenticeship. Upon graduating from an entry-level or pre-apprenticeship program, you may be eligible for credit towards time served in your apprenticeship. Many employers will not hire an apprentice who has not completed an entry-level program.

It is also extremely important to realize the financial aspects of being a full-time student.

Employment Opportunities

Virtually in all industry.

Millwrights are employed in all resource industries, manufacturing plants, utilities, processing plants and other establishments.

Machinists work in manufacturing shops that produce or repair parts. They also work in other industries usually in conjunction with the millwright to maintain, repair or modify existing machinery.

Some examples are the following:

  • Pulp and paper
  • Manufacturing
  • Lumber industry
  • Steel works
  • Fish processing plants
  • Shipyards
  • Mines
  • Armed Forces
  • Power Stations
  • Oil Refineries
  • Vehicle Manufacturing
  • Railways
  • Dam and Road construction
  • Merchant Navy

Student Employment

KPU students are eligible for employment both on and off campus. Please see the Student Employment Centre for job posting and instructions for using Workopolis.

Working at KPU

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