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Job Photographs

  • Two men in high visibility clothing are looking at an ID card.

    For every site you work on, you have to show your CSSC card.

  • A man, wearing a protective suit, is standing in a workshop at a workbench.  He is sawing a piece of wood, using a small saw.

    Cutting wood by hand using a mitre saw.

  • Two men in high visibility clothing are looking at a laminated document.

    If they work on site, carpenters and joiners will liaise with the site manager.

  • A man is standing at a workbench in a workshop.  He is glueing some small pieces of wood and clamping them together.

    Joining wood by glueing and clamping the pieces of wood together.

  • A man is outside at a workbench.  He is holding a long plank of wood.  On the work bench, there is an electric saw.

    As well as working indoors, joiners sometimes work outside.

  • A man in a blue jacket is passing a long plank of wood to another man.  The second man is wearing ear protectors.

    Once the wood has been cut to the required length, it's passed to another joiner to add to the building.

  • Carpenter/Joiner



Carpenters and joiners use their skills to make structures and fittings such as windows, roofs, floors, walls and doors from wood and wood materials. They use a variety of hand and power tools to cut, shape and join the wood.

Also known as

  • Joiner
  • Woodworker

Video: - Mikael: Joiner

Video: - Nathan: Joiner

Video: - Jermaine: Carpenter

Work Activities

As a Carpenter or Joiner, you will use your skills to make structures and fittings such as windows, doors, stairs, furniture and shop fittings from wood and wood materials.

You'll skillfully cut, shape and join wood using a wide range of tools including hammers, planes, chisels, screwdrivers and measuring tapes. You might also get to use power tools and cutting machines.

Carpenters and Joiners have to study drawings, make calculations and select suitable materials to meet design requirements.

There are many different types of Carpenter and Joiner. Here are a couple of examples:

  • Bench Joiner - usually based in a workshop making things like doors, window frames and roof beams
  • Site Carpenter - based on-site doing things like fitting door handles and locks, or repairing broken furniture

Health and safety is an important aspect of the job, so you will often need to wear some form of protective clothing. You might work in a workshop, or on a building site.

Being able to read, write and speak Welsh may be an advantage when you’re looking for work in Wales.

Personal Qualities and Skills

To become a Carpenter/Joiner, you'll need:

  • good hand skills
  • to be physically fit
  • number skills, as you will have to work out angles and measurements
  • to pay attention to detail and have an eye for shape and colour
  • a head for heights for any work up ladders or on scaffolding
  • to be aware of the importance of health and safety in this industry

As you may have to travel around locally, a driving licence would be useful for this type of work.

This job might not be suitable for people who have skin conditions, such as eczema, or breathing complaints, such as asthma.

Pay and Opportunities


The pay rates given below are approximate.

  • Starting: £21,500 - £23,500
  • With experience: £25,000 - £28,500
  • Senior Carpenters/Joiners earn £30,000 - £33,000

Hours of work

Carpenter/Joiners usually work around 39 hours, Monday to Friday, with occasional overtime.

Where could I work?

Employers include building, construction and civil engineering companies of all sizes. These range from local building firms employing one or two operatives, to nationally known firms employing hundreds of operatives.

Opportunities for Carpenter/Joiners occur on building sites in towns, cities and rural areas throughout the UK.


Opportunities occur for Carpenter/Joiners to work independently as self-employed sub-contractors.

Where are vacancies advertised?

Vacancies are advertised in local/national newspapers, on recruitment and employers' websites, and on Find a Job (

Social media websites, such as LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook, are a great way to network, find vacancies and get in contact with possible employers. Make sure that your profile presents you in a professional manner that will appeal to potential employers.

Take a look at our General Information Article 'Finding Work Online'.

Entry Routes and Training


An Advanced Level Apprenticeship is a great place to start. Take a look at our article 'Apprenticeships - How do I apply?' for more details on applying for apprenticeships.

There are various relevant vocational qualifications such as City & Guilds and BTECs. These courses may be in a more general subject area, such as construction. See below for more details.

Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS)

You need a CSCS (Construction Skills Certification Scheme) card to work on site. These cards show that you are qualified to do the work you've been employed for.

CSCS cards will cost £36 and you will have to pass the appropriate Construction Industry Training Board health, safety and environmental test. This costs £21. You will then complete an application form and pay the total price of £57.

The CSCS application form has four sections that you will have to complete:

  • section A: This section is where you complete your personal details and attach a passport photo or your Health, Safety & Environment Test photo
  • section B: This is where you fill in your occupation details and state which card you need. The different cards are skilled, craft and operative cards.
  • section C: This a declaration section where your current employer, previous employer or a CSCS card holder will declare that you meet the requirements of the card
  • section D: This is the details of your card requirements and what evidence you need to get a CSCS card


Apprenticeships will usually involve work- and college-based training. You will also receive training in subjects like health and safety.

The Institute of Carpenters offers qualifications in carpentry and joinery. There are various levels of qualification. The one that you take depends on the amount of experience or training you have.

BTEC also offer a level 2 qualification in construction and the built environment. This course has a range of mandatory and optional units, which include:

  • construction principles
  • construction design
  • construction technology
  • health and safety in construction
  • management of a construction project
  • projects in construction
  • quantity surveying
  • construction in civil engineering

Other courses could be available in your area.

Work Experience

Previous experience working in building or woodworking would be really useful for this career.


In the construction industry, it is possible to work up from craft-level positions to managerial roles, such as Construction Manager.


Entry requirements vary. You do not always need educational qualifications to enter this type of work.

However, the following vocational qualifications could help you to stand out from the crowd:

  • City & Guilds level 2 or level 3 - carpentry & joinery
  • City & Guilds level 2 or level 3 - construction

To get onto a City & Guilds or BTEC level 3 qualification or an Advanced Level Apprenticeship, you'll usually need 5 GCSEs at grade C/4 or above, including English and Maths, or to have completed an Intermediate Level Apprenticeship.

To enter a City & Guilds or BTEC level 2 course in construction, you'll usually need at least:

  • 4 GCSEs at grades D-G or 3-1.

However, individual centres may have different entry requirements. You may be able to get on to one of the courses without any qualifications.

Adult Opportunities

Age limits

It is illegal for any organisation to set age limits for entry to employment, education or training, unless they can show there is a real need to have these limits.


Related skills, for example, in building or woodworking, are useful.


Many people go into this career via a Construction Building Intermediate Level Apprenticeship or Advanced Level Apprenticeship.


Grants are available from the Carpenters Company Charitable Trust.

Further Information

Apprenticeships: Get In. Go Far

National Apprenticeship Service (NAS)

Tel: 0800 015 0400




Local government vacancies


Skills Development Scotland - Modern Apprenticeships

Tel: 0800 9178000



myjobscotland: Scottish local government vacancies

Scottish enquiries



City & Guilds

Address: 1 Giltspur Street, London EC1A 9DD

Tel: 020 7294 2468




Skills for the construction industry

Address: Bircham Newton, Kings Lynn, Norfolk PE31 6RH


National Heritage Training Group (NHTG)

Address: Carthusian Court, 12 Carthusian Street, London EC1M 6EZ

Tel: 01342 326171




Northern Ireland Enquiries

Address: Nutts Corner Training Centre, 17 Dundrod Road, Crumlin, County Antrim BT29 4SR

Tel: 028 9082 5466



Construction Employers Federation (CEF)

Irish enquiries

Address: 143 Malone Road, Belfast BT9 6SU

Tel: 028 9087 7143



Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS)

Address: Bircham Newton, Kings Lynn, Norfolk PE31 6RH

Tel: 0844 5768777



Publisher: CITB-ConstructionSkills

Tel: 0344 994 4010




Skills for the creative industries



Creative Choices

Publisher: Creative & Cultural Skills



Scottish Building Apprenticeship and Training Council (SBATC)

Scottish enquiries

Address: Crichton House, 4 Crichtons Close, Holyrood, Edinburgh EH8 8DT

Tel: 0131 5568866



Creative & Cultural Skills

Skills for craft, cultural heritage, design, literature, music, performing arts and visual arts



Institute of Carpenters (IOC)

Address: 32 High Street, Wendover, Buckinghamshire HP22 6EA

Tel: 0844 8797696



Carpenters' Company Charitable Trust

Address: Carpenters' Hall, Throgmorton Avenue, London EC2N 2JJ

Tel: 020 7588 7001


The Doorway

Timber careers


Construction Industry Training Board (CITB)

Address: Blue Court, Church Lane, Kings Langley, Hertfordshire WD4 8JP

Tel: 01923 260000



Careers Wales - Welsh Apprenticeships

Tel: 0800 028 4844


Croeso i Gyrfa Cymru

Dewiswch iaith


Welcome to Careers Wales

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