Machinists set up and operate a variety of machine tools to cut or grind metals, plastics and other materials to make or modify parts or products with precise dimensions. Machining and tooling inspectors inspect machined parts and tooling in order to maintain a high degree of safety, integrity, and quality control. 

Machinists make very unique instruments and components with specific requirements for use in industrial machinery or products. Good knowledge of metals and their behaviors in different conditions, as well as the insight to match processes with machine tools, are solid traits inherent in a good machinist. A passion for learning about ongoing technological developments and an eagerness to always keep pace are key traits of an expert machinist.

  • Read and interpret blueprints, schematics, drawings and charts to determine the next plan of action.
  • Install, operate and maintain a variety of machine tools including computer numerically controlled (CNC) tools in order to perform varying machining tasks like sawing, turning, milling, boring, planning, drilling and precision grinding.
  • Verify dimensions for accuracy and conformance to manufacturer specifications with the use of precision measuring tools.
  • Compute dimensions and allowances in order to measure and lay out work pieces
  • You have strong communication, reading, and math skills.
  • You are able to take measurements with exact precision and accuracy.
  • You enjoy coupling your computerized technical skills with your mechanical skills to create a finished product.
  • You enjoy physical labour applied through different taks 
  • and project priorities.
  • You have a passion for following technological innovations as they are applied to industrial machinery and processes.


Careers in the BC shipbuilding & ship repair industry usually begin with an apprenticeship in Red Seal trades or with a job directly at a shipyard. Many get their start in shipbuilding as a shipyard labourer prior to being accepted into an apprenticeship program.

Discuss possible career steps with your school counsellor, career counsellor, or a union hall representative and consider high school trades programs and post-secondary pre-apprenticeship programs as a great place to start learning about the trades. 

ACE-IT High School Program (Millwright/Machinist)


Most apprenticeships require you to have a high school diploma and to complete a foundations certificate as a prerequisite prior to starting your apprenticeship. Check with available training providers to learn their specific eligibility requirements. 

There are different pathways you can take in order to become a machinist. In order to be eligible for industry certification as a machinist, you can complete a three to five-year apprenticeship program or you can apply a combination of over four years of practical work experience as a machinist, plus some high school, college or other industry courses.


Red Seal trade certification allows for movement between provinces.

The Interprovincial Standards Red Seal Program


Employer sponsored apprentices are selected and sponsored through an application process. Union sponsored apprentices are selected and sponsored through their trade union and can be recruited by employers based on the needs of a shipyard.


Apprentices can receive up to $4,000 in grants to pay tuition, travel, tools, or other expenses. If you are considering an apprenticeship, visit the Red Seal program for information on how to get started.