A career that measures up!

If you’ve ever assembled a toy plane with dozens of small parts, just imagine how many parts–and what size–it takes to assemble an airliner! There is no routine to the day-to-day of machinists and machining and tooling inspectors in aerospace. These workers, essential to the proper functioning, reliability and safety of aircraft, are both highly creative and obsessed with precision. With complete mastery of their machines and tools that cut and grind metal, plastic or other materials, they create unique and precise shapes. With time and experience, the best machinists can become machining and tooling inspectors. Then, they inspect the machined parts in order to ensure that quality standards are maintained, always looking out for the best ways of improving practices.

“You’ve got to adapt to technologies that are constantly evolving and be super careful. You should know that the dimensional tolerances of our industry sometimes reach 0.0025 millimetres. That’s not much at all!” says Benoit Bertin, a numerical control machinist at Messier-Bugatti-Dowty.

In aerospace, these experts must also have knowledge of exotic materials, components and alloys. The ability to read technical drawings, plans and technical specifications perfectly is essential, as is the use of quality control instruments, which are often quite sophisticated.

Schooling

If you’re thinking about a career as a machinist, a vocational diploma in machining technology is required, and experience in the field is paramount. Many types of training are offered to diversify your skills, such as an Attestation of Vocational Specialization in machining on numerical control (NC) machine tools, an Attestation of Vocational Specialization in die-making or tooling, and courses to learn certain types of software. Skilled machinists may obtain the Red Seal, which ranks them at the top of their profession and gives them great job mobility.

To become a machining and tooling inspector, in addition to the basic training, several years of experience as a machinist, tool and die maker or machine tool operator are often required.

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