Construction millwrights and industrial mechanics (NOC 7311)

Worker with toolbox, welding torch and protective face shield

Minimum education: Diploma, Certificate or Apprenticeship Training

  • Average salary
  • Occupation size
  • Job stability
  • Demand growth
  • Below Average
  • Excellent

Profile last updated: August 31, 2016

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01 Overview

Construction millwrights and industrial mechanics install, maintain, troubleshoot, overhaul and repair stationary industrial machinery and mechanical equipment. This unit group includes industrial textile machinery mechanics and repairers.

Construction millwrights:

  • are employed by millwrighting contractors

Industrial mechanics:

  • are employed by manufacturing plants, utilities and other industrial establishments

People in these occupations:

  • have a mechanical aptitude, enjoy working with machinery and possess strong trouble shooting skills
  • follow procedures closely when adjusting machinery or installing new equipment
  • should have good eye-hand coordination, strength and agility
  • should also be able to work well both independently and as part of a team
  • should have strong communication skills   

02 Earnings

Provincial median salary


Source: Estimated median employment income based on 2015 Job Bank median hourly wage rate (median annual salary = hourly wage rate x 40 (hours per week) x 52.14 (weeks per year))

Provincial hourly rate

  • $18.45/hr
  • $32.00/hr
  • $40.00/hr

03 Duties

Construction millwrights and industrial mechanics perform some or all of the following duties:

  • read blueprints, diagrams and schematic drawings to determine work procedures
  • install, align, dismantle and move stationary industrial machinery and mechanical equipment, such as pumps, fans, tanks, conveyors, furnaces and generators according to layout plans using hand and power tools
  • operate hoisting and lifting devices such as cranes, jacks and tractors to position machinery and parts during the installation, set-up and repair of machinery
  • inspect and examine machinery and equipment to detect and investigate irregularities and malfunctions
  • install, troubleshoot and maintain power transmission, vacuum, hydraulic and pneumatic systems, and programmable logic controls
  • adjust machinery and repair or replace defective parts
  • run machine tools such as lathes and grinders to make parts required during overhaul, maintenance or set-up of machinery
  • clean, lubricate and perform other routine maintenance work on machinery
  • build foundations for machinery or direct other workers to build foundations
  • assemble machinery and equipment prior to installation using hand and power tools and welding equipment

04 Work environment

Millwrights and industrial mechanics typically work 40 hours per week. Shift work is common and employees may need to work on call in order to respond to machinery breakdowns. In addition, workers may be required to temporarily relocate to remote locations.

Millwrights and industrial mechanics work inside manufacturing facilities, where the environment is often noisy and dirty. They may also work outside, where workers are exposed to weather. As well, workers may work at heights from ladders and scaffolds or in cramped spaces.

Workplace hazards include moving machinery, falling objects and potential falls from heights. As a result, millwrights and industrial mechanics must be fully trained in safety procedures.

05 Workforce and employment statistics

Workforce characteristics

7,600 workers are employed
63 % of workers are working mostly full time

Employment by gender

Labour force by age group

Source: 2011 National Household Survey

06 Job requirements

Education, training and qualifications

Completion of Grade 10 or equivalent (including English 10, Mathematics 10, Science 10) is the minimum education requirement; however, completion of secondary school is preferred. Other beneficial qualifications include:

  • completion of a three- to four-year apprenticeship program (or a combination of more than three years work experience in the trade and some college or industry courses) for certification by the Industry Training Authority

Certification is not mandatory in B.C., but it can offer more well-rounded training and will likely increase work opportunities. Millwright and industrial mechanic apprenticeships:

  • can be started in secondary school, through entry-level training at colleges and technical institutes, or by direct entry to the workforce
  • require workers to find a sponsor employer who is willing to participate in the program

Millwrights and industrial mechanics are eligible for Inter-provincial Standard Endorsement (Red Seal) qualification through the Industry Training Authority, which allows holders to work in any province or territory. Once individuals pass the final examination of their accredited training program, they will achieve certification and will automatically receive a Red Seal endorsement.

Workers with 9,900 hours of documented, directly related work experience who have not entered an apprenticeship program may obtain certification by passing a challenge exam administered by the Industry Training Authority. For more information please see the Industry Training Authority website at

Workers already licensed or certified in another province or territory in a provincially regulated occupation will have their credentials recognized in B.C. For more detailed information, contact the provincial regulator. A list of provincial regulators can be found at

07 Subject Areas & Training Resources


Trades/Apprenticeship Resources

08 Career paths

Millwrights and industrial mechanics work in closely related occupations. While employed in one occupation, workers may learn some of the skills and techniques of the other. This provides a high degree of employment flexibility.

Additionally, workers may be cross-trained in a second, related trade, such as pipefitting, welding, machining or electrical maintenance. With experience, workers can advance to supervisory positions or start their own businesses.

09Employment outlook

N/A - Data not available or not provided due to data quality issues

Provincial Outlook:

Unemployment rate

  • 7.3%
  • 7.1%
  • 6.6%

Job openings

  • 500
  • 360
  • 240

10 Insights from industry

In addition to retirements, a substantial number of jobs will result from worker turnover, as employees leave the occupation or move from one job to another.

Most workers in this group are employed by the Manufacturing industry. In B.C., manufacturing activity is dominated by the wood product and pulp and paper sectors. These sectors have seen limited growth as companies struggle to overcome the impact of U.S. export duties, a strong Canadian dollar, increased international competition and the damage caused by fires and pine beetle infestations. Older mills are being phased out and automation is being used to reduce labour costs in the mills that remain. These factors will all limit the demand for workers in this industry.

New technological developments, such as self-diagnosing machinery, robotics, laser tools and ultrasonic measurement, may somewhat reduce the demand for skilled construction millwrights and industrial mechanics. However, other technological developments, such as the further expansion of green technology, could positively impact demand for these workers.

Construction millwrights and industrial mechanics will be expected to undergo continued skills development to become skilled in a wide range of new technologies.

Workers in this group with additional skills in such areas as welding, electrical work, and power engineering may have an advantage in finding work. Many companies are looking for a construction millwright or industrial mechanic who is able to conduct other trade work, especially in smaller plants without an electrician or engineer.

11 In their own words

My Career Path

1.  How did you get started in this job?

I was hired as a maintenance mechanic helper with a window manufacturing company. It took years and years of night school courses to eventually become a millwright. That was in the late 70s.

2.  If you knew then what you know now, would you have done anything differently?

It would have been easier to have gone to school full-time. You may not use the education right away, but at least you've got it under your belt.

3.  What would you say to someone starting out in this career today?

Know how to handle the business side of the work. Take business administration courses. This industry has excellent opportunities because not many people still work with their hands. It's still relatively low tech, although there is a tendency toward needing to know more about computer controls.

4.  Where do you see yourself going with this job in the future?

I'd like to retire in five years, and I'll sell the business. It's been really fun.

5.  What are some of the main forces of change in the industry right now? How will those affect you?

In our specific region, there are fewer big companies. People are moving to light manufacturing companies that produce very specific, small products. This is a good set-up for a millwright.

A typical workday

7:00 am I head out on an emergency call that came in last night. A 50 employee company is down and everyone is panicking. I diagnose the problem. It turns out to be a ruptured hose on a two-component sealant pump. I have my van full of tools and a palm pilot for sourcing. Everything is up and running by lunchtime.
1:30 pm I have a meeting with the owner of a company to discuss plans for custom building a piece of tooling. We revise and refine the details for an aluminum access panel. A millwright is a bit of an electrician, plumber, machinist and mechanic, all rolled into one.
3:00 pm It's time to return calls and draw up some quotes. Since I own the business, I also deal with bills. Sourcing is a big part of the job. I am the expert when it comes to troubleshooting and I have to find dealers, components and figure out to solve the problem.


12 Additional resources