Alternative titles for this job include Joiner, bench joiner

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

Average salary (a year)

£17,000 Starter


£38,000 Experienced

Typical hours (a week)

40 to 45 a week

You could work

evenings / weekends occasionally

How to become a carpenter

You can get into this job through:

  • a college course
  • an apprenticeship


You could take a college course like:

  • Level 2 Diploma in Bench Joinery
  • Level 2 or Level 3 Diploma in Carpentry and Joinery

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

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

More Information


You could do an intermediate or advanced apprenticeship in carpentry and joinery. There are 2 options:

  • site carpenter
  • architectural joiner

Both of these apprenticeships are available at intermediate and advanced levels.

For both 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.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

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

More Information

More Information


Further information

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

What it takes

Skills and knowledge

You'll need:

  • 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

What you'll do

Day-to-day tasks

Depending on where you work, you will:

  • 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 to hold setting concrete in place - shuttering
  • fit interiors in shops, bars, restaurants, offices and public buildings
  • construct stage sets for theatre, film and TV productions

Working environment

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.

Career path and progression

With experience, you could become a site supervisor or construction project manager.

You could also move into construction estimating and contracts management, or specialise in areas like stage sets or heritage restoration.

You could start your own business or train apprentices.

Current opportunities

Apprenticeships In England

ATA Level 2 Carpentry Apprenticeship

  • Wage: £169.65 - £320.19 Weekly
  • Location: Loughton

Apprentice Workshop Joiner

  • Wage: £172.00 Weekly
  • Location: Scunthorpe

Courses In England

Carpentry (Site) Intermediate Diploma

  • Start date: 01 September 2021
  • Location: Newport

Dip Site Carpentry L2

  • Provider: MID-KENT COLLEGE
  • Start date: 06 September 2021
  • Location: Gillingham

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