From assembly lines and construction digs to extraction sites and refineries, businesses rely on a key equipment specialist to set up the work area and break down machinery – the millwright. But go on Google, and you’re likely to see popular search terms involving millwrights and safety. Some people may be a little concerned about this skilled craftsman job due to it involving so many facets of installing and operating machinery.
These professionals assemble, install, maintain repair, and dismantle heavy, motor-driven equipment at construction sites and in large manufacturing and processing centers according to layout plans and blueprints.
But from flying objects to sprains, a millwright job poses risks just like any other. Thanks to protective gear, though, the risks are not as great as the rewards. Make no mistake about it, being a millwright is still an excellent career worth exploring.
Work Conditions of a Millwright
Millwrights and industrial mechanics work the standard work week of 40 hours (8 hours a day, 5 days a week). Of course, there will be peak periods where they will be required to put in some overtime work, as with many other careers in the construction industry. As a millwright, you will often work closely with other professionals, including electricians, welders, and steamfitter/pipefitters. The job can be physically demanding as it involves working with heavy materials and specialized equipment like hoists, pulleys, hydraulic lift-trucks, cutting torches, and even lasers.
You will be required to make precise angles and measurements according to the blueprints, as well as perform preventative maintenance and repairs as needed in all sorts of weather conditions. Safety is the top priority on these jobs, so millwrights undergo training to work safely and wear special equipment to protect against injury. After gaining enough experience as a millwright, you could go on to become an instructor in an apprentice school for new millwright trainees.
Mental Capabilities of a Millwright
Millwrights, by nature, are thinkers. This personal skill makes this career safer by default, because the average millwright has to be aware of their surroundings, and the equipment they’re working with.
Even before the equipment gets to the site, the millwright is already there, checking drawings and blueprints, consulting with managers, and choosing the best location to set up the machinery. Sometimes, this even requires building a new foundation or reinforcing the floor.
Due to their hands-on involvement, millwrights have an in-depth understanding of how machines operate and were even historically competent to carry out carpentry duties, according to the Millwright Employers Association.
One thing anyone interested in this job should consider is the awesome perks. Wages for a millwright can vary depending on the contract, company, location and economic conditions. Millwrights are typically paid by the hour and can get either time-and-a-half or double-time for all work done beyond their regular shifts as union members. This means that even from the first day of apprenticeship, one can earn a good wage with accompanying benefits, such as
- Zero school loans or tuition to pay back
- The opportunity to earn while you learn
- Pay raises – Apprentices get regular raises, usually every six months
- Health and retirement benefits start right away
Job Skills and Requirements
Let’s not forget the job requirements for this trade. Millwrights start out as apprentices for about 4 years. The apprenticeship program is designed to provide hands-on experience and classroom-based training totaling about 8,000 hours of work. You must be at least 18 years old, with a high school diploma and the physical ability to do the work. Before becoming an advanced millwright, you must learn to master the following skills:
- Mechanical skills — Using a wide variety of tools and machinery
- Technical Skills — Reading and comprehending blueprints and other technical documents
- Troubleshooting Skills — Following a problem to the source and solving the issue
Once you’re working, you’ll need to stay on top of technological advances and changes in the industry. Millright jobs are where you can construct a real career from a talent for tinkering, so if you’ve got what it takes, consider giving it a go.