Carpenters play a key role in the construction and house building industries, completing wood-related tasks such as cutting skirting boards and floorboards, making staircases and fitting roof joists.
Undertaking a building and construction apprenticeship with a focus on site carpentry is the most common route into the job, but some tradesmen begin as labourers and later obtain NVQ or City & Guilds carpentry qualifications.
Once time-served or qualified, carpenters can find staff jobs with construction and building maintenance contractors or in the public sector. The average annual salary for the role is around £24,000, although good tradesmen can expect to be paid more in north-west England and London.
Many experienced carpenters opt to work on short-term contracts via recruitment agencies, as they are usually more lucrative than permanent jobs. Companies building new housing developments, shopping malls, hotels and industrial complexes all need additional carpentry skills on a short-term basis, particularly during the fitting-out stage of projects.
One other popular career option for carpenters is to become a sole trader and carry out ad-hoc jobs for households and local businesses. There is always demand for reliable tradesmen to work on loft conversions and complete tasks such as hanging doors and replacing wooden window frames.