Joiner, bench joiner
Carpenters and joiners make and install wooden structures, fittings and furniture.
Salary Range: £16,000 to £40,000
How to become a carpenter
You can get into this job through:
- a college course
- an apprenticeship
You could take a college course like:
- Level 2 Diploma in Bench Joinery
- Level 2 or Level 3 Diploma in Carpentry and Joinery
You’ll usually need:
- 2 or more GCSEs at grades 9 to 3 (A* to D), or equivalent, for a level 2 course
- 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, for a level 3 course
You could do an intermediate or advanced apprenticeship in carpentry and joinery. There are 2 options:
- site carpenter
- architectural joiner
You’ll do on-the-job training and spend time with a college or training provider.
You could also do a wood product manufacturing operative intermediate apprenticeship.
You’ll usually need:
- 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English and maths, for an advanced apprenticeship
- some GCSEs, usually including English and maths, or equivalent, for an intermediate apprenticeship
- you’ll need a Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS) card or equivalent to train and work on a construction site
What it takes
Skills and knowledge
- knowledge of building and construction
- to be thorough and pay attention to detail
- knowledge of maths
- the ability to work well with others
- patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
- the ability to use, repair and maintain machines and tools
- the ability to work on your own
- sensitivity and understanding
- to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device
What you’ll do
Depending on where you work, your day-to-day tasks may include:
- discussing plans and following instructions
- cutting and shaping timber for floorboards, doors, skirting boards and window frames
- making and fitting wooden structures like staircases, door frames, roof timbers and partition walls
- making and assembling fitted and free-standing furniture
- installing kitchens, cupboards and shelving
- building temporary wooden supports to hold setting concrete in place (shuttering)
- making and fitting interiors in shops, bars, restaurants, offices and public buildings
- constructing stage sets for theatre, film and TV productions
You could work in a workshop, at a client’s business, on a construction site or at a client’s home.
Your working environment may be you’ll travel often, outdoors in all weathers, cramped, dusty and at height.
You may need to wear protective clothing.
Career path and progression
With experience, you could become a team leader or project manager.
You could also move into construction estimating and contracts management, or specialise in areas like stage sets or heritage restoration.
You could also start your own business or move into training.