A machinist sets up and operates equipment such as lathes, milling machines, saws, grinding machines, drilling and boring machines, shapers, planers, precision measuring tools, hand and power tools, and related attachments and accessories. These cutting tools are used to manufacture and repair parts and products made from metals, plastics, rubber textiles, fiberglass, and space age alloys. 

Machinists can specialize or continue to work on various tools. In general, they are trained to: 

  • Study specifications, drawings, or sample parts to determine the machining operation needed
  • Calculate dimensions and tolerances and prepare working sketches if necessary
  • Measure and mark the metal
  • Assemble machines, install attachments
  • Setup and operate tools to perform precision machining operations
  • Determine cutting speeds and feeds, then cut and file material
  • Turn and/or bore contours, spheres, and parallel surfaces
  • Drill and ream holes using drills, lathes, and mills
  • Mill, shape, or plane surfaces, mill gears
  • Cut threads, keyways, slots, serrations, and grooves
  • Grind and sand metal surfaces
  • Test surfaces for cracks, hardness, and finishes using a variety of equipment and applications
  • Manipulate metal through the use of heat
  • Fit parts to mechanisms and verify dimensions and maintain cutting tools

NoteYou can also train to be a CNC machinist, after you complete either your machinist OR tool & die certification. A CNC machinist is someone who programs, sets up, and operates metal cutting computer numerical control machines including: 

  • Computer numerical control lathes
  • Computer numerical control mills
  • Computer numerical control electrical discharge machines (EDM)
  • Computer numerical control grinders


Source: CareerTrekBC


Work environments for construction careers can be located outdoors or indoors or both. Work hours may vary as well. Some positions are seasonal while others are all year round, but part-time. Other positions are project-based and may require you to work full-time until the project is complete. And, of course there are careers that have full-time hours all year round.

Below is a list of workplaces where you might find opportunities to gain apprenticeship hours and/or experience:

  • Machine shops
  • Rail companies and by metal product
  • Farm machinery manufacturing
  • Aerospace industries

Source: Apprenticeship Manitoba Handbook and Manitoba Prospects


If you answer YES to the questions below, then a career as a Machinist could be the career for you!

  • Do you have the mechanical ability to use tools and machines to build complex parts?
  • Do you have good eyesight?
  • Do you have good hand-eye coordination?
  • Can you work both metric and imperial measurements?
  • Do you have the ability to estimate and measure sizes and distances accurately?
  • Are you able to work independently at tasks that require concentration?


The Government of Canada Job Bank has identified Nine Literacy and Essential Skills (Reading, Writing, Document Use, Numeracy, Computer Use, Thinking, Oral Communication, Working with Others, and Continuous Learning).

Below you will find links to the Essential Skills Profiles for this occupation and/or related ones:


Below you will find the annual salaries for apprentices and Journey Persons for Machinists:

Minimum for Apprentices

Skills Booklet 2016, Skills Canada/Manitoba


Average for Journey Persons

Skills Booklet 2016, Skills Canada/Manitoba

$45,000 – $56,600

For more information on apprenticeship wages, click here


Note: To receive the most up-to-date information about satisfying apprenticeship level requirements, contact Apprenticeship Manitoba or visit


Program Length (Minimum Years)

4 years

Level Requirements

Required Hours for each level (L)

L1: 1, 800 hours L2: 1, 800 hours L3: 1, 800 hours L4: 1, 800 hours

Technical Training/Year (weeks in class)

Y1: 9 weeks Y2: 8 weeks Y3: 8 weeks Y4: 4 weeks

Additional Licensing


Trades Qualification Requirements (minimum experience required)

Minimum years of experience required

(within last 10 years)

6 years

Minimum hours experience required

10,800 hours

Practical Exam required


Compulsory Apprenticeship/Certificate of Qualifications required to work


Red Seal Trade available