Carpenters and joiners make and install wooden structures, fittings and furniture. Carpenters make things out of wood, such as staircases and roof timbers for new buildings. They go out and fit these items in place and also mend things that are broken or damaged.
Depending on where you work, you will:
- Discuss plans and job instructions with clients or site managers
- Cut and shape timber for floorboards, doors, skirting boards and window frames
- Make and fit structures like staircases, door frames, roof timbers and partition walls
- Assemble fitted and free-standing furniture
- Install kitchens, cupboards and shelving
- Build wooden supports to hold setting concrete in place – shuttering
- Fit interiors in shops, bars, restaurants, offices and public buildings
- Construct stage sets for theatre, film and TV productions
Carpenters can be employed by carpentry and joinery firms, building companies and civil engineering companies. Many carpenters are also self-employed. They do contract work for a number of organisations. Some make furniture and decorative pieces.
Carpenters work in various places. Some carpenters work on building sites and are outdoors in all weathers. Others work indoors such as in a workshop. Carpenters can also work for local authorities, for construction companies or even building sets for theatre, film and television.
Most carpenters usually work between 40 and 45 hours a week and they might work into the evenings or at weekends in order to get the job done.
Starting salary £17,000. Predicted -2.2% job decline leading to: 5,434 fewer jobs by 2027.
Employers will value practical experience, so site experience is important. Some start out as a joiner’s mate or a casual labourer before becoming a carpenter. Some employers may require some GCSEs, usually including English and Maths, or equivalent or an intermediate apprenticeship. You could also apply for an apprenticeship. If you have an EHCP you may be able to apply under the DfE exemption which allows the apprentice to use Entry Level 3 English and Maths qualifications. The apprentice would have to be competent enough to successfully achieve all other aspects of the apprenticeship requirements, become occupationally competent and achieve Entry Level 3 in English and Maths before the end of their apprenticeship.
College – you could start off with a Certificate in Pathways to Construction in Entry Level 3 or Level 1 or Level 1 Carpentry and Joinery if you have no formal qualifications.