What's involved - View carpentry apprentice Carla's video

Carpenters and joiners make and install the wooden fixtures and fittings found in household and commercial construction projects.

These can include floor joists, floorboards, kitchen and bathroom units, window frames, doors, roof trusses and wall partitions. It also involves hanging doors and boxing in pipes and is a skilled job that uses special tools and many different kinds of wood.

As with all trades, a carpenter and joiner needs to have a good understanding of how to work safely.

Skills required

If you enjoy using your practical ability, have good coordination skills, a methodical approach to work and an eye for detail, then becoming a carpenter and joiner could be ideal for you.

You'll need to be able to follow technical drawings and plans, as well as being good at Maths to measure and calculate angles. You'll also need to be fit and happy to work on your own as well as part of a team.

Qualifications required

There are no formal requirements although it would help to have GCSE's in English or Welsh and Maths at A*-C (Applications from students with the Foundation or Intermediate Welsh Baccalaureate are also welcomed).

Salary ranges

(This is a guide to the average salary a fully qualified and experienced person might expect to get.)

£17,000 - £31,000

Progression routes

Apprentices who follow the Carpentry and Joinery/Shopfitting pathway can have a varied career working on new builds, refurbishments or in specialist areas. Bench Joinery apprentices will see a variety of wood products in production, depending upon the company.

This apprenticeship will enable progression to:

  • Advanced Apprenticeship (Level 3) in Site Carpentry

After gaining work experience, there are also opportunities to progress into furniture production, occupational work supervision, management or technical support areas.

 

Find out what a real apprentice thinks:

 

Which company do you work for?

I work for Morrison Facility Services and they do council house maintenance and repairs.

What do you do day-to-day?

In my day job I do more than carpentry, I also make and fit doors and also do bits of plastering, plumbing, tiling and floor tiling - all different things really. I just love being able to do my own thing really - going out and leaving my own little stamp everywhere.

What's the coolest thing you've done so far?

The best thing I've done and the thing I'm most proud of in the last three years is a Level 3 practical exam which is a hipped roof, simply because I got to build it from scratch.

What are the good bits about your job?

What I like most about my apprenticeship is being able to learn on the job, the same thing that I'm learning at college. My employers do push me a lot - to keep going and going and going and saying 'what are you doing next?' They're the questions you get all the time.

What would you say to anyone who wanted to try this?

If you're thinking of doing it just get up and do it. Don't think about it, do it!

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

In 10 years I'd like to be a contracts manager. A contracts manager is somebody that oversees the contracts of a big organisation, makes sure that everything's going right, making people do what they're supposed to do really.

What's it like being a female on site?

I like to think it's good that I'm doing something different, not something that all girls do, a bit out of the ordinary. In the workplace being female hasn't really mattered to me because they treat me like one of them, one of the lads, looking out for me all the time.

I think it's definitely something that girls should think about doing more, because it's not that they're not able to, it's just that they're a bit scared. I think you have to walk in, you have to keep your head high and prove that you deserve to be there.