Property management

Carpenter

Carpenters and joiners make and install wooden structures, fittings and furniture.

Annual Salary

£16,000 to £40,000

Average UK salary in 2018 was £29,588 (source Office for Statistics)

Working hours

40 to 45

What's it all about?

You’ll work as an employee or a self-employed contractor for large and small construction companies. You may work on a construction site, a client’s premises, or in your own workshop.

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 can get into this job through:

  • a college course
  • an apprenticeship

College

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) for a level 2 course
  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) for a level 3 course

Apprenticeship

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:

  • some GCSEs, usually including English and maths, for an intermediate apprenticeship
  • 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), including English and maths, for an advanced apprenticeship

You'll need a Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS) card to work on a building site.

Go Construct has more information about building careers and training.

£16,000 to £40,000

Starter salary: £16,000 to £24,000

Experienced salary: £25,000 to £40,000

Overtime and extra shift pay may increase your income. Self-employed carpenters and joiners set their own rates.

These figures are a guide.

40 to 45

You'll usually work 39 to 45 hours a week, Monday to Friday. You may need to work some weekends or evenings to meet construction deadlines.

This is a physically active job. You could work outdoors in all weathers, up ladders and on scaffolding or roofs. You could also work indoors where conditions could be dusty or cramped. You'll use protective equipment and clothing on all jobs.

You'll normally travel between sites, and you may need to work away from home at times.

You’ll need a full driving licence and may need your own van and tools.

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.

You can find out more about becoming a carpenter from Go Construct and House Building Careers.

Skills required and how your skills match up

What skills are required?

You'll need:

  • to be able to follow technical drawings and plans
  • maths skills to calculate quantities and angles
  • the ability to pay close attention to detail and make accurate measurements 
  • the ability to use, repair and maintain machines and tools
  • the ability to work on your own
  • sensitivity and understanding
My top 5 skills from the skills bank
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