Carpentry is one of the oldest and most in-demand building skills. Apprentice carpenters use natural resources (wood/timber) to create wooden fixtures and fittings. As a carpenter, you could install doors, flooring, and furniture in new construction, restore or adapt existing structures, develop sets for film and theatre companies, and perform a variety of other things.
Throughout your apprenticeship, you may help:
- 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 called shuttering which holds concrete that has not dried yet in place
- fit interiors in shops, bars, restaurants, offices and public buildings
- construct stage sets for theatre, film and TV productions.
- Apprentice carpenters can earn in the region of £17,000 – £20,000
- Trained with experience carpenters can earn in the region of £20,000 – £30,000
- Senior, chartered or master carpenters can earn in the region of £30,000 – £45,000
You will typically work 40 to 45 hours per week, occasionally working evening and weekends.
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 dusty, at height and you’ll travel often.
You may need to wear protective clothing.
Qualifications you can achieve as an apprentice carpenter include:
- Level 2 Carpentry and Joinery – Entry requirements for this level include some GCSEs, usually including English and maths, or equivalent, for an intermediate apprenticeship. This qualification will take 24 months to complete.
On a carpentry apprenticeship, you’ll learn:
- knowledge of building and construction
- to be thorough and pay attention to detail
- knowledge of maths
- the ability to work well with others
- the ability to work well with your hands
- the ability to use, repair and maintain machines and tools
- the ability to work on your own
- excellent verbal communication skills
- to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device.
Career path and progression
With experience, you could become a site supervisor or construction project manager.
You could also move into:
- construction estimating
- contracts management
- a specialist area like stage sets or heritage restoration
- starting your own business
- training apprentices
- teaching at a further education college