Carpentry is an important profession that requires building and assembling wooden structures, furniture and furnishings. Most carpenters learn this trade through an apprenticeship, which allows them to learn practical skills from a master carpenter, earn a salary, and earn a nationally recognized credential. If you enjoy hands-on work and have good physical aptitude and dexterity, a career in carpentry can be very satisfying. In this article, we describe what it takes to complete a carpentry apprenticeship, provide an easy-to-follow guide to starting a carpentry career, and answer some of the most frequently asked questions about carpentry.
What is meant by an apprenticeship in carpentry? (carpentry apprenticeship)
A formal carpentry apprenticeship usually lasts about four years and generally involves learning and working under the guidance of an experienced craftsman. Apprentices learn how to work with wood and can develop their carpentry skills. The apprenticeship provides an opportunity to gain knowledge about carpentry. In carpentry, apprentices work with customers to determine their needs, communicate with suppliers, and solve problems as they arise. Apprentices usually spend one day of the week at an accredited vocational school and can do other work at their own pace.
Related: What is a carpenter?
The tasks of apprentices in the carpentry trade
The duties of apprentice carpenters vary. The tasks you do each day may include:
watching experienced carpenters learn from their work
Assisting carpenters by helping them with tools and other materials
Training and studying at college or an accredited institution
cleaning, maintenance and handling of construction machinery
cleaning up the work area after completion of the project
understanding how to read and understand diagrams and blueprints
Fabricating small structures from blueprints under the guidance of an experienced carpenter
assisting in the selection and ordering of lumber and other building materials
cut, assemble and measure materials
inspecting damaged structures and repairing damage
How do I get an apprenticeship in carpentry?
There are several steps to begin your career in carpentry with an apprenticeship. These steps are in the following order:
- Gain relevant experience
Although it is generally not required to become a carpenter, experience working on a construction site or doing other physical labor can be helpful in getting an apprenticeship. If you are still in school, look for weekends or vacations working on construction sites that hire teens as laborers. If you have completed your schooling and do not yet have this type of work experience, consider opportunities that will give you the chance to work with your hands while you prepare to begin your education.
Related topics: What is vocational training?
- Consider an apprenticeship preparation course
Preparatory training is not a requirement for apprenticeship training, but it can give you an advantage over other applicants. Many people take technical and vocational education and training (TVET) courses while still in high school. This type of course gives you the opportunity to work on a construction site and learn useful skills each week while you are in 10th and 11th grade. TVET courses count toward your high school grades and you get paid for your work, even if you are still in school. Vocational courses usually lead to a certificate, such as Certificate I in Construction.
Once you leave the school you attended, you can think about enrolling in an apprenticeship program for a Certificate II in Construction (Carpentry). This is an apprenticeship preparation program that can last up to 10 weeks. It is a basic introduction to carpentry tools, such as setting up the work area, measuring, and safety in the use of carpentry tools.
- Apply for a WHS white card
Workers whose occupations frequently involve construction have a white card “WHS”. To obtain the white card WHS, you must complete an introductory course on safety protocols and guidelines for working on construction sites. Once you have your card in hand, it is valid for as long as you work in construction. If you have not worked in construction for at least two years, your credential is considered expired. Employers or the college may be able to help you obtain an unstained card.
- Create your resume for a construction apprentice
The goal of your cover letter is to highlight any relevant work experience, such as working on a construction site or other positions that require construction of or work. It is possible to include additional full-time or part-time work experience, as they are transferable skills