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A machinist apprentice is an individual who is training to work with various types of industrial machine equipment that is used to create a wide range of components for other types of equipment and applications. As part of the apprenticeship, aspiring machinists are paired with experienced professionals who can oversee their pursuit of the vocation. During the course of this period of oversight and learning, the machinist apprentice will have the opportunity to learn safety regulations connected with operating the machinery, the evaluation of different metals used in the creation of new products, and even how to choose the right tools for the manufacturing of different types of goods.
During the process, the machinist apprentice will function as a helper and aid to the experience machinist. This will often involve taking care of routine tasks such as obtaining raw materials for jobs and handling certain steps in the manufacturing. At times, the tasks may seem somewhat mundane and repetitive, but they offer the chance to learn the reasons behind those tasks in an actual working environment. As a result, the machinist apprentice gets to develop real life experience even while acquiring the practical knowledge.
Under the tutelage of the mentor or trainer, the machinist apprentice will also learn to apply the basics relevant to a wide range of career options that require machinist training. This means learning how to distinguish between different alloys used in the course of production, having some idea of how to handle those alloys to best effect, and understanding both the nature and purpose of a wide range of machine tools. Knowing how to use and manage basic maintenance on grinders, millers, drills, and lathes goes a long way in preparing the machinist to become a professional in his or her own right.
As the apprenticeship progresses, the machinist apprentice takes on a more active role in the production of finished goods. The mentor incrementally turns over additional responsibilities to the apprentice, eventually granting responsibility for entire projects. This type of on the job training makes it possible to apply any knowledge learned in a classroom while still offering the chance to translate that knowledge into practical experience.
The amount of time that the machinist apprentice spends in this type of relationship will vary. In some instances, the apprenticeship may last for as little as a few months, or go as long as five to seven years. During that time, the apprentice will take gradually take on more and more responsibility, until he or she is performing all the tasks associated with work as a full-fledged machinist.