What Does a Motive Power Machinist Do?

A Motive Power Machinist (410K) is a skilled craftsperson who sets up and operates precision metal cutting and grinding machines such as lathes, milling machines, drills, shapers, boring mills and grinders. A motive power machinist may use this variety of equipment to manufacture, install, operate, disassemble, re-condition, adjust, repair or replace engines, suspensions, flywheels, brake components, blocks, cylinder heads, crankshafts, connecting rods and other parts commonly used in automotive vehicles.

Job Related Skills, Interests and Values

  • reading and understanding blueprints, charts and tables
  • making , fitting and assembling parts using your hands or hand and power tools
  • estimating and measuring sizes and distances accurately and laying out work pieces
  • working with numbers
  • seeing and comparing slight differences in objects
  • working independently at tasks that require concentration as well as physical effort

You may find additional information about this trade and applicable standards at the Ontario College of Trades (OCOT) website – Motive Power sector link: http://www.collegeoftrades.ca/membership/resources/training-standards.

What Preparation and Training Do You Need?

  • Grade 12 or the equivalent (GED or ACE) is required under the Ontario College of Trades Apprenticeship Act (2009)
  • complete a motive power machinist apprenticeship program of 5,340 hours or three years years that includes a combination of work experience in the trade (90%) and three levels of college or industry courses (10%)
  • successfully complete the required examinations and hours of employment in order to be awarded a Journeyperson certificate

What’s Your Future in Motive Power Machining?

Most workers in this occupation work full-time, some in small machine shops that employ two or three machinists, or in larger ones that employ several hundreds. Shift work may be required. Industries in Southern Ontario that employ machinists include:

  • motor vehicle parts manufacturers
  • machinery and equipment manufacturers
  • aircraft and parts manufacturers
  • motor vehicle manufacturers

The trend in the last decade has been toward computerized numeric control (CNC) machines that are usually programmed by an engineer or programmer. The machinist however, must understand the programming process, be able to understand the digital readout, and is usually responsible for two or three machines. Job prospects improve for machinists with C.N.C. skills and experience and employment may be found with:

  • motor vehicle parts manufacturers
  • machinery and equipment manufacturers
  • aircraft and parts manufacturers
  • motor vehicle manufacturers
  • primary steel producer

Wage Rate

  • you  start at a wage rate that is less than that of journeyperson machinist
  • this rate increases gradually as you gain more competency 
  • the journeyperson’s rate varies in the range of $14.00 to $25.00 per hour, plus benefits

Self- Rating

Ask Yourself: Is Motive Power Machining For You?

Do you enjoy working with your hands and with hand and power tools?

Yes      No

Is it easy for you to spot differences in how objects look?

Yes      No

Are you able to stand for long periods of time?

Yes      No

Can you understand written instructions?

Yes      No

Do you like to keep up to date on new techniques?

Yes      No

Are you pretty good at working with numbers?

Yes      No

Do you enjoy working with machines and tools?

Yes      No

If you answered Yes to most of these questions, Motive Power Machining may be for you!

You may also want to explore other careers that require similar interests and skills:

  • Tool & Die Maker
  • Millwright
  • Stationary Engineer
  • Metal Patternmaker
  • Gunsmith or Locksmith


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