Construction millwrights and industrial mechanics (NOC 7311)

High opportunity occupation

About this job

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.

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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   
Common job titles
  • adjuster, ammunition-assembling machine
  • adjuster, knitting machines
  • fixer, textile - cards / carpet looms
  • fixer, textile - shearing / spinning
  • installer-repairer - automatic pinsetting
  • machine setter, braiding


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

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.

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.

Career paths and resources

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.

Additional resources