Everywhere you look you will see work that has been completed by a joiner. The chest of drawers at the end of your bed, the wooden doors in your house, the shelving unit at your local deli: a joiner helped create all of these. It’s because of this that joiners are highly sought after.
Joiner vs carpenters: what’s the difference?
A joiner is a skilled tradesperson who works with wood to create different fixtures, fittings and constructions which are then used in a myriad of different ways. They are very important to the construction industry making many of the materials a carpenter will then install on a construction site. For example, joiners will make doors or window frames that will be used to build houses and offices.
There are a lot of similarities between joinery and carpentry but essentially a joiner is more concerned with working in a workshop and creating the pieces of furniture or fixtures which a carpenter then installs on site.
Specifically, joiners connect wood together to form things such as stairs and trusses and often work without screws or metal fasteners. It’s a job which requires attention to detail and a high degree of accuracy.
Experience needed to become a joiner
Whilst there are no specific qualifications to work as a joiner, most employers will expect you to have some on-site or construction experience. If you don’t have any then you can start as a labourer, joiner’s mate or apprentice and learn the trade on the job.
The other option is to take a course at a further education college in joinery or carpentry, which would give you the practical skills you need for the job as well as increase your chances of finding work within the industry. However, you will be expected to have GCSEs or other qualifications in maths and English.
It is important you have good mathematical skills to take measurements, accurately interpret designs and make products.
Day in the life of a joiner
You can expect to be in a workshop fitting various items for future installation by carpenters. This could cover everything from making staircases and kitchen cabinets to constructing shelving units and timber frames.
You will work with lots of woodworking machinery and tools, becoming familiar with their different uses. You might also use computer-aided design (CAD) software in your designs while some days will be spent cutting and shaping wood for things like floors, doors or frames. Other days will see you make specific fittings or furniture for everything from film sets and shops to new build homes.
Career progression and salaries
The average joiner earns around £28,000 a year but this will vary depending on your skills, location and experience. You can either work for a larger company or eventually set up your own joinery business. There is scope for moving from entry-level joinery roles into management and training or you can specialise in different types of joinery.
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