CNC Operator
Work-Based Learning Program:
Info for Job Seekers

CNC Operator: Job Seeker Info
Hiring In The Future

CNC Operators play a key role in many Ontario advanced manufacturing businesses, responsible for ensuring that cutting, drilling, shaping and finishing metal products and components on CNC machines/workcells is done correctly and efficiently. Typically, the job involves properly loading the correct materials/workpieces into a CNC machine/workcell, monitoring the CNC machine/workcell operations, unloading the finished workpieces from the CNC machine/workcell and performing measurement/inspection procedures to ensure that finished items meet quality and technical standards.

BUT – many Ontario advanced manufacturing companies are reporting a shortage of capable, experienced CNC Operators. And that’s where we come in. We are the WBLC – and we’ve brought together Ontario advanced manufacturing companies to solve this challenge. We’ve launched the CNC Operator Selection and Learning Program – a program that helps job seekers get hired by a participating Ontario advanced manufacturing company, complete the WBLC CNC Operator Learning Program (approx. 10-12 weeks of paid on-the-job training) and become Certified as an WBLC CNC Operator, leading usually to continuing full-time employment with the participating Ontario advanced manufacturing company and to future career opportunities at that company and at other Ontario advanced manufacturing companies.

Is This the Opportunity You’ve Been Looking For?

    • Do you like making things?
    • Are you good with details?
    • Do you like working with your hands?
    • Do you like using your brain and thinking?
    • Are you ok with basic math – addition, subtraction, etc. ?
    • Do you enjoy working relatively independently?
    • Do you like having responsibility and being accountable for your work?
    • Do you like physical activity at work?
    • Do you prefer being busy all the time rather than having periods of inactivity?
    • Do you prefer being on your feet, doing stuff, rather than sitting at a desk.

    If you can answer YES to most of these questions, then being a CNC Operator could be a good job for you, and the start of a rewarding career in advanced manufacturing.

What Exactly Is CNC?
And What Does A CNC Operator Do?

What Is CNC Machining? – CNC means Computer Numerical Control. This means a computer converts the design produced by Computer Aided Design software (CAD), into numbers. The numbers can be considered to be the coordinates of a graph and they control the movement of a CNC machine’s cutter. In this way, the computer controls the cutting and shaping of the material into parts. Call it 3D manufacturing.

What Does A CNC Operator Do? – CNC Operators work with CNC machines such as drills, lathes, mills, presses and others that shape metals and plastics into finished parts or workpieces. Operators read work instructions, load the machine with materials or workpieces, start the machine and monitor its operations to ensure it is performing properly. They unload the finished part/workpiece from the machine and inspect the item to ensure it complies with all quality standards and technical specifications. Operators may deburr and/or polish completed parts/workpieces and maintain a clean, well-organized workstation.

What Will You Get Out Of This Job?

The job pays reasonably well. Starting wages are usually between $15 and $18 per hour. After two years of experience, CNC Operators are paid from $22 to $30 per hour and, depending on the firm they are working for, may be eligible to receive bonuses.  This can be a life-altering opportunity. Becoming a CNC Operator can be an excellent decision for you. The job is interesting and pays reasonably well. It is in demand and is unlikely to be eliminated as manufacturing processes change and evolve. Long-term employment and the stability it brings is a good thing to have in a job

Even better – it can provide a career for you in advanced manufacturing. By applying yourself, learning more about machining, asking to learn about more difficult machining assignments, you could be become a candidate for a CNC Machinist job or other more technical jobs. CNC Machinists make more money than CNC Operators. If you demonstrate other non-technical skills, you could become a quality specialist or a lead hand or a supervisor.

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    How Does The Program Work?

    The CNC Operator Work-Based Learning Program is a great opportunity to learn in-demand skills and get a great stable job.  The program works like this:

    Apply to the WBLC CNC Operator Work-Based Learning Program

    To apply to WBLC and complete the WBLC Online Assessment, please click “Apply to WBLC” below or above.

    The WBLC Online Assessment will help you to understand your current aptitudes, attitudes, and personal characteristics.  For some people, their natural abilities and talents fit perfectly with the job.  Hopefully that’s you!

    When WBLC has reviewed your completed online assessment, Manpower will contact you if you have been selected to proceed to the WBLC Interview process.

    Go Through the WBLC Interview Process

    Manpower will contact you by phone to arrange for an in-person interview to confirm your eligibility for this program and to understand more about your aptitude, attitude, and personal characteristics.

    This is an important interview.

    They will also speak to you about your availability to travel outside your preferred location for opportunities.

    If you pass the WBLC Online Assessment and this WBLC Interview, you are now a Candidate for hiring by an Ontario advanced manufacturing company who is participating in this WBLC Work-Based Learning program.

    Get Hired by a Canadian Advanced Manufacturing Company

    Participating companies who are interested in hiring you will invite you for an interview and a tour of the company.  Manpower will coordinate your interviews.

    An employment interview is a very important one, so you should prepare yourself well and make every effort to present yourself positively.

    If the company extends an offer of employment and if you choose to accept – you will now become an employee of the hiring company and a Trainee in the WBLC CNC Operator Work-Based Learning Program. That means you will receive a pay cheque from your company while you are learning your new job.

    Acquire the Basic Theoretical Knowledge and Basic Practical Skills
    (e-Learning + Classroom Learning)

    Over approximately 7 months, you will acquire the basic theoretical knowledge and basic practical skills for your job through a combination of:

    • E-Learning: delivered online at your employer in the earlier months
    • Classroom training: limited to about 2-3 weeks at an outside location
    • On the job training: throughout the entire 7 months

    The basic theoretical knowledge and basic practical skills (competencies) you will acquire include all the following topics:

    • Manufacturing Terminology
    • Types of CNC Machines
    • CNC Machine Operations
    • Machine Maintenance Practices
    • Blueprint Reading
    • Applied Math
    • Materials
    • Tools
    • Measurement
    • Cutting Fluids
    • Workplace Safety
    • WHMIS

    Get On-The Job Training to become a CNC Operator

    This part of the program is about 23 weeks. There are very clear industry-developed Technical Learning Outcomes (TLOs) defined for the entire training period.

    During your on-the-job training, you will not be on your own to learn the job. There will be a trainer helping you – providing instruction, assistance and direction. Your trainer will review the Technical Learning Outcomes with you and be responsible for making sure you are progressing towards completing them by the end of the on-the-job training period.

    Further details on this important phase are in the CNC Operator Job Overview pdf (above)

    Get Certified by WBLC

    As you progress towards the completion of your WBLC program, you have the opportunity to be certified by WBLC as a CNC Operator. Certification is a public statement that you have passed and are highly qualified to perform specified duties – in this case, those of a CNC Operator.

    WBLC’s certification process consists of testing and assessing your mastery of the Technical Learning Outcomes for the job and, if acceptable, certifying you as a CNC Operator based on:

    • your successful passing of tests administered during the e-learning and classroom training
    • demonstrating to our WBLC Assessor that you can carry out mold maintenance operations as per work orders, drawings and process instructions
    • Demonstrating your knowledge of general manufacturing technical practices and procedures and knowledge of CNC specific technical work practices by completing an on-line examination.

    At this point, you will have clear, objective evidence that you are a WBLC Certified Mold Maintenance Technician [Level 1] who can be a productive, valuable, promotable employee and advance your career going forward with your employer by contributing to the greater business success of the company.

    The certification will be issued by the Work-Based Learning Consortium and over time will be accepted by many employers as evidence of your capability and expertise.