How do I find a carpentry apprenticeship?

Carpenters are skilled craftsmen (or women) and due to the level of skill required a carpentry apprenticeship is often required to obtain employment in carpentry.

Carpenters work with timber and typically construct and maintain buildings and other wooden structures. The term joiner or joinery may also be applied though this tends to be applied to cabinet and furniture making.

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Carpentry work is varied and can involved manual labor and working both indoors and outdoors. Rates of pay will depend upon the carpenters level of skill and experience and the specific area of carpentry (or joinery) that they work in. Competition for carpentry jobs can be high though so anything you can do to give yourself an edge over other candidates in interviews will help – Show me how to give winning interview answers!

Being a practical skill which can also involves a high degree of technicality carpenters usual acquire their skills through a combination of study and practical experience. As with many skills time and experience are invaluable in reaching the required level so carpentry apprenticeships are an excellent way of entering this field of employment.

The qualifications and formal training required to be a carpenter differ greatly depending on which country you work in. Some countries have no formal training requirements so apprentices can easily enter the trade. Other countries have strict standards and trainees must complete a formal apprenticeship of 3 or 4 years and some countries have recognized qualifications which may not be obligatory but will help to find employment.

Carpentry apprenticeships can be completed either within a formal training environment or with a practising carpenter but usually a combination of both formal study and on the job training provides the best opportunity to gain technical skills and practical experience.

Once an apprenticeship is complete the you can then become a qualified or journeyman carpenter but many carpenters choose to seek further qualifications and become master carpenters.

To enter carpentry you will need high school levels of education with acceptable passes in mathematics and English and an aptitude for practical and manual tasks. Subjects covered in carpentry apprenticeships include carpentry theory, first aid and health and safety, planning, building codes and regulations, construction techniques, selecting materials, correct use of hand tools and power tools and wood treatment and wood identification.

As carpentry involves a variety of tasks with varied complexity a carpentry apprentice will usual first become familiar with basic tasks. Carpenters can be permanently based in a workshop, work out on site or a combination of both. Typical construction tasks for a carpenter include fitting doors and door trims, skirting boards, wooden floors, roof structures, timber framing and more and with the use of modern power tools and manufacturing processes has removed much of the drudgery of working with wood.

The skills of the carpenter are constantly in demand. Despite mass production and modern construction techniques the use of natural and renewable materials such as wood remain widespread and a qualiffied carpenter can apply themselves in many woodworking trades. Another advantage to a career in carpentry is that unlike service jobs that are not location dependent a carpenter is unlikely to be outsourced to a low wage economy abroad.

 


 

The first question most aspiring carpenters ask is how do I find a carpentry apprenticeship?

Unfortunately that’s not an easy question to answer as a great deal is dependant on which country you live in and sometimes even which city or region of that country you live in. Firstly different countries have different standards, regulations and qualifications for carpenters. In some countries a carpenter will need to pass an approved qualification whereas in others a suitable qualification may be desireable but not a necessity. Different regions can also have different training systems and funding too.

We hope to be able to bring you more comprehensive information about finding a carpentry apprenticeship specific to your own location in the coming months but here are some great tips to help you get started in carpentry.

 

Contact local colleges or training centres

Local colleges or construction training centres are usually a good place to start. They’re the ones most likely to know the carpentry apprenticeship situation in your local area and be able to advise you on qualifications, grants and training available. Even if a college course is not suitable or available colleges are usually more than willing to help you with information on how to find courses or work placements.

 

Contact local carpenters and carpentry and woodworking companies

Now some companies might be too busy to talk to you or reply to your letters or email but don’t take that negatively. It’s nothing personal and if you keep on contacting local carpenters some will be willing to give you some help and guidance.

Always remember when you contact anyone to be as professional as you can. Every possible contact is a potential employer so alway be polite and conduct yourself as you would for a job interview. Appear enthusiastic, interested, hardworking and reliable – even if a company doesn’t have any vacancies today they may in the future and if you’ve left a good impression of yourself (and your contact details!) they may come back to you in future.

Another option if there aren’t any carpentry apprenticeships available at the moment is to offer to help out at a carpentry company or a local carpenter free of charge for a while. Now working for nothing isn’t great – worse than carpentry apprenticeship wages and you might get the dirty, tough or boring jobs but it will get you what every employers likes to see – experience! Gaining work experience this way in invaluable and shows your commitment to learning and getting employment and can even get you valuable references to show to potential employers and make contacts in the trade and might even hear of potential apprenticeship vacancies.

Above all don’t give up – there might not be a lot of apprenticeships in your area and there might be a high demand for them so do whatever you can to show that you’re willing to learn, adaptable and determined to succeed to make yourself stand out from the crowd!