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What does carpentry and joinery involve?

Carpentry and joinery involves working on new buildings or structures, or repairing and restoring existing ones.

A carpenter/joiner will use tools such as hammers, saws, planes, chisels, electric drills and cutting machinery. Work from drawings, instruction sheets and measurements is usually necessary and workers have to make sure that their work is accurate and meets design requirements. They may also need to make calculations.

Work may be in a workshop or on-site and workers are responsible for keeping the site or workshop tidy and for looking after tools and equipment. Working conditions can be dirty and dusty as well as cold and damp, especially if outdoors.

Health and safety is important in this type of work and clothing such as protective footwear, safety helmets, facemasks, goggles, ear protectors, gloves and overalls are worn.
What skills will I need?

  • All carpentry and joinery jobs in the construction industry require physical fitness, strength and stamina as the work can involve bending, stretching, lifting and carrying.
  • Most jobs involve working at heights on scaffolding or climbing ladders, so you need to have a head for heights.
  • You need to be able to understand instructions and carry them out accurately and efficiently. The ability to work both alone and in a team is also important.
  • If you choose to work in construction, you need good practical skills and need to be able to work with your hands.
  • For many jobs, you need simple mathematical skills to plan and make measurements.
  • Some jobs might not be suitable for people who suffer from skin conditions, such as eczema, or breathing complaints, such as asthma.
  • The ability to drive is useful and may be required for some jobs.


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