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Job Photographs

  • Somebody is standing at a table, in a workshop.  They are assembling a white, wooden box.

    Making up fixtures in a workshop.

  • A man, wearing blue overalls and a hard hat, is assembling a large wooden desk.

    Putting together a cash desk in a shop.

  • A man is standing on a ladder at the front of a shop.  He is painting a large sign.

    Adding a sign to a shop front.

  • A man is standing at a workbench.  He is drawing on a large sheet of paper.

    Shop fitters need to be able to read and interpret plans and diagrams.

  • Two men, wearing blue overalls, are standing in a room, assembling glass display cabinets.

    Working on interior cabinets.

  • A man, wearing blue overalls and a hard hat, is using a spirit level on a metal door frame.

    Using a spirit level to check that the fittings are vertical.

  • Shopfitter

Shopfitter

Introduction

Shopfitters construct the interiors of shops and other commercial buildings, such as hotels and museums. They may also install shop fronts.

Shopfitters use a range of materials, for example, wood, sheet materials, glass, metals and plastic. Time is spent in the workshop making bespoke furniture and also installing the finished article on-site.

Also known as

  • Carpenter - Shopfitter
  • Joiner - Shopfitter

Work Activities

Shopfitters are employed in a specialist sector of the construction industry which involves the fitting out or refitting of bespoke fittings in retail premises, non-retail and leisure facilities. The work is mainly inside but can also involve some exterior fittings and improvements.

Designers and clients work closely with you in the surveying, measuring and the preparation of the detailed design drawings. This involves up-to-date IT skills, or using CAD software.

Shopfitting covers a wide variety of different trades all under the one name. Other titles used include:

  • Shopfitter - joiner
  • Site fixer
  • Setter out

Shopfitters who are trained to bench joinery standard make a range of articles such as counters, partitions, worktops, shelving and seating. You will work with a variety of different materials, such as wood, glass (including double glazing), Perspex and plastic. Metals, such as aluminium, are also used.

The Setter Out produces a drawing to illustrate materials to be used and how the bench joiner should put together the piece of bespoke furniture. These are transported to the site where they are installed according to the overall design or plan.

Site Fixers provide the final touches, such as adding handles and decorative fittings or adding special finishes to surfaces.

For all these tasks, a range of hand tools are used, but more often you will operate at the cutting edge of technology with the use of CNC machines.

Work environments are compliant with up-to-date health and safety legislation. Shopfitters need to be aware of current safety procedures when using equipment and machinery. Protective clothing should also be worn, such as goggles, ear-protectors and boots.

You sometimes work at heights.

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 Shopfitter, you will need:

  • good hand skills
  • to work quickly and accurately under pressure, as much of the work is done to a deadline
  • creativity and an artistic eye
  • to be fit and fairly strong, as you will be on your feet for most of the day and might have to help in moving heavy equipment and materials
  • some experience of using CAD software
  • to be aware of the importance of health and safety in the construction industry
  • maths and literacy skills

Working conditions can be dusty, so the job may not be suitable for you if you have allergies or a condition such as asthma.

Pay and Opportunities

Pay

The pay rates given below are approximate.

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

Hours of work

Shopfitters usually work 39 hours a week. However, you are sometimes required to work long and irregular hours, which may include evenings, nights and weekends.

Where could I work?

Employers are Shopfitting firms. Many are small businesses employing only a few people.

Opportunities for Shopfitters occur with firms in towns and cities throughout the UK.

Self-employment

Opportunities occur for experienced Shopfitters to work independently as self-employed Craftworkers.

Where are vacancies advertised?

Vacancies are advertised on all the major job boards, on Universal Jobmatch, and at Jobcentre Plus.

Entry Routes and Training

Entry

An Intermediate or Advanced Level Apprenticeship will also help you to get into this job. Take a look at our information article 'Apprenticeships – How do I apply', for more details about applying for apprenticeship positions.

There are various relevant qualifications available from organisations like City & Guilds and Edexcel. These courses may be in a more general subject area, such as construction.

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 around £30 and you will have to pass the appropriate Construction Industry Training Board health, safety and environmental test. You will then complete an application form.

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.

Training

If you would like some training, BTEC 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

Practical skills gained in the building and construction industry at operative or craft level are an advantage.

A practical background for example, in woodwork, is useful for this career.

Progression

An experienced Shopfitter could go on to become a:

  • Setter Out
  • Construction Site Manager
  • Contract Manager

Qualifications

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

To get onto an Intermediate or Advanced Level Apprenticeship, you’ll usually need five GCSEs at grade C/4 or above, possibly including English and maths.

To enter a City & Guilds or BTEC level 2 course in construction, you'll usually need at least 4 GCSEs.

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.

Skills/experience

Practical skills gained in the building and construction industry at operative or craft level are an advantage.

A practical background using your hands, for example, in woodwork, is useful.

Courses

Many people go into this career via an Advanced Level Apprenticeship in Construction Building.

Further Information

Apprenticeships: Get In. Go Far

National Apprenticeship Service (NAS)

Tel: 0800 015 0400

Email: nationalhelpdesk@findapprenticeship.service.gov.uk

Website: www.apprenticeships.org.uk

Skills Development Scotland - Modern Apprenticeships

Tel: 0800 9178000

Email: info@skillsdevelopmentscotland.co.uk

Website: www.myworldofwork.co.uk/modernapprenticeships

City & Guilds

Address: 1 Giltspur Street, London EC1A 9DD

Tel: 020 7294 2468

Email: learnersupport@cityandguilds.com

Website: www.cityandguilds.com

CITB-ConstructionSkills

Skills for the construction industry

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

Website: www.cskills.org

CITB NI

Northern Ireland Enquiries

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

Tel: 028 9082 5466

Email: info@citbcsni.org.uk

Website: www.citbcsni.org.uk

Construction Employers Federation (CEF)

Irish enquiries

Address: 143 Malone Road, Belfast BT9 6SU

Tel: 028 9087 7143

Email: mail@cefni.co.uk

Website: www.cefni.co.uk

Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS)

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

Tel: 0844 5768777

Website: www.cscs.uk.com

bConstructive

Publisher: CITB-ConstructionSkills

Tel: 0344 994 4010

Email: myapprenticeship@citb.co.uk

Website: www.bconstructive.co.uk

National Association of Shopfitters (NAS)

Address: NAS House, 411 Limpsfield Road, Warlingham, Surrey CR6 9HA

Tel: 01883 624961

Website: www.shopfitters.org

Careers Wales - Welsh Apprenticeships

Tel: 0800 028 4844

Website: ams.careerswales.com/

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