Hands-on Skills Hands-on Skills


A carpenter is a trained craftsperson skilled in woodwork. She/he measures, marks, cuts, shapes, fits and finishes timber – either by hand or with power tools.

They can work in many areas, for instance on construction sites, fitting out shops and bars, and building sets for film and TV. If you enjoy working with wood and want to put your practical skills to good use, this could be an ideal career for you. You'll need an eye for detail, good maths skills for working out measurements and the ability to follow technical plans. Employers usually want people with some construction experience and relevant qualifications. You could start as a joiner's mate or labourer to get some site experience then take further training to qualify. Another common way into this career is through an Apprenticeship scheme.


What The Job Involves

What are the key responsibilities for this position?

Key Responsibilities

Plan, set-out and build structures using wooden fixtures and fittings
Fit wooden structures including floor joists, floorboards, kitchen and bathroom units, window frames, floor trusses and wall partitions (first fixings)
Install skirting boards, door surrounds, doors, cupboards and shelving, as well as door handles and locks (second fixings)
Build temporary wooden supports to hold concrete in place while it sets, for example building foundations (formwork)
Make and fit interiors in shops, bars, restaurants, offices and public buildings
Construct stage sets for theatre, film and TV productions

Employers usually look for people with some on-site experience and qualifications. If you have not worked in construction before, you may be able to start as a joiner's mate or labourer to get site experience. Once working, your employer may offer you training in carpentry and joinery.

Another route is to take a full-time or part-time college course in carpentry and joinery. This would give you some of the knowledge and practical skills needed for the job and may improve your chances of finding work in the industry.

Entry Requirements

Labouring site experience
CSCS card
Level 1 Basic Construction Skills
Level 1 in Wood Operations
Level 2 (NVQ) Certificate / Diploma in Wood Occupations
Level 2 Diploma in Construction Crafts (carpentry and joinery)

What key skills and personal attributes help with this role?

Skills & Attributes

Good practical hand skills
Ability to work neatly and accurately
Good co-ordination
Attention to detail
Ability to follow technical drawing and plans
Good maths skills for measuring and working out quantities and angles
A reasonable level of fitness
Ability to work as part of a team and unsupervised
Awareness of health and safety

How much can you expect to earn and what are the career progression options?

Salary & Progression

Starting salary: £15,000 a year.
Newly qualified carpenters: £15,000- £17,000 a year
Experienced carpenters: £17,000- £29,000 a year
Senior, chartered or master carpenters can earn in the region of £29,000 - £40,000
Self-employed joiners can set their own rates
Hands-on Skills Hands-on Skills
Case Study

Kelsey Tuffin


Kelsey Tuffin was awarded our Student of the Year at our recent Graduation Ceremony.

Kelsey Tuffin came to the Trust in April 2016, when she attended a Budding Builders course at the Bermondsey Training Centre where she earnt her CSCS card. Kelsey impressed us all with her work ethic and her skill as a joiner, and was invited back to Bermondsey as a volunteer to work with the next course.

Kelsey achieved a placement with JT Ellis and has since been offered a job as a carpenter - more proof (if it were needed) that jobs in construction are not just for boys!

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Key: Budding BuildersBudding Builders
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