- Work with wood, as part of construction or in building furniture or other items
- With experience, option to specialise in areas like shop fitting, building stage sets, or heritage restoration
- You may need to work outdoors in all weathers, up ladders and on scaffolding or roofs
A carpenter creates wooden products that are often used to create structures, such as furniture, artwork, foundations, doors, and window framing.
- Discussing plans with clients and site managers, 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 outdoors in all weathers, dusty and at height and you may need to travel often.
Carpenters need to be able to work with their hands, have creativity and imagination and good math skills.
To become a carpenter you could take a college course like a Level 2 Diploma in Bench Joinery, a Level 2 or Level 3 Diploma in Carpentry and Joinery, or T Level in On Site Construction.
You could also do an intermediate or advanced apprenticeship in carpentry and joinery. There are 2 options available, site carpenter and architectural joiner. You'll do on the job training and spend time with a college or training provider.
There is also the option of doing a wood product manufacturing operative intermediate apprenticeship, although this has more of a focus on furniture making
Employers usually look for some on-site experience and qualifications. You could start as a joiner's 'mate' or labourer to get site experience. Once working, your employer may offer you training on the job.
You'll need a Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS) card or equivalent to train and work on a construction site.
With experience, you could become a team leader, site supervisor 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 and training in further education settings.