Essential skills for success as an industrial mechanic (Millwright)

Industrial mechanics (Millwrights) use essential skills to complete trade-related tasks. Use this fact sheet to:

  • learn how essential skills are used on the job;
  • find out the skills you need to succeed in your trade; and
  • help prepare yourself for your career.


  • Read notes from co-workers, such as descriptions of work completed.
  • Read directions on product labels for safe handling, usage and first aid procedures.
  • Read memos and notices from supervisors, co-workers and suppliers, such as notices about scheduled power shutdowns.
  • Read bulletins from regulatory organizations about changes to standards, regulations and code requirements.
  • Read manuals for operating, troubleshooting and repairing tools and equipment.

Document use

  • Look for caution and warning signs to identify hazards in work areas.
  • Scan labels for information, such as part, model and serial numbers.
  • Locate data in lists, tables and schedules, such as to find out what tools and parts are needed to assemble machinery.
  • Fill in forms, such as purchase orders.
  • Interpret schematic drawings.
  • Retrieve data from scale drawings, such as to identify the locations of machinery to be installed and serviced.


  • Measure using rulers, tapes, thermometers and scales.
  • Compare measurements such as width, height, temperature, pressure and rotations per minute on a variety of parts and specifications to make sure they are within an acceptable range.
  • Estimate time required to complete installation and repair tasks.
  • Adjust and align machinery and equipment according to specifications.
  • Use specialized measuring tools such as vernier calipers, micrometers, angle finders, feeler gauges and dial indicators.
  • Calculate loads, capacities and dimensions for mechanical components and systems.


  • Write brief text entries in forms and logbooks, such as observations of equipment performance.
  • Write incident reports in forms that describe malfunctions, breakdowns and accidents that identify potential causes and effects.
  • Write maintenance and repair procedures.

Oral communication

  • Talk to suppliers and contractors about equipment specifications, deliveries, service times and price quotes.
  • Discuss work orders, equipment malfunctions and job task coordination with co-workers.
  • Communicate with supervisors about work progress and seek their guidance and approvals.
  • Discuss issues such as safety, productivity, major repairs and policy changes at meetings with co-workers, supervisors, engineers and clients.
  • Teach practices and procedures to co-workers, apprentices and clients.

Working with others

  • Work independently.
  • Form teams with co-workers, clients and contractors when installing and overhauling large pieces of equipment or completing industrial systems.
  • Participate in discussions about work processes or product improvement.
  • Demonstrate how to perform tasks to other workers.
  • Orient or train new employees.
  • Monitor the work performance of others.


  • Determine whether to refurbish, repair or replace worn and defective parts.
  • Assess whether designs meet technical specifications, performance requirements and regulations.
  • Plan job tasks based on work assignments and follow planned work schedules to coordinate work with co-workers and contractors.
  • Take necessary steps when parts needed for maintenance and repairs are unavailable, such as fabricating replacement parts or obtaining approvals to use non-standard parts.
  • Select materials and methods to maintain, repair and improve industrial equipment and systems.
  • Evaluate the safety of work environments.
  • Use a number of sources to find technical information needed to troubleshoot faults with machinery and systems.

Computer use

  • Use databases, such as maintenance and financial systems databases.
  • Use computer-assisted design, manufacturing and machining programs.
  • Use email to communicate with supervisors, clients and suppliers.
  • Use handheld devices such as vibration data collectors and analyzers.

Continuous learning

  • Read manuals and bulletins to stay aware of new developments in the industry.
  • Learn informally by exchanging information with co-workers and suppliers.
  • Attend training workshops on new equipment and safety procedures.
  • Take courses to learn and improve technical skills.
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