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What is Carpentry?


Choosing a career is not the easiest of tasks. This is particularly true for new school leavers, who are faced with an unprecedented landscape in which to build a life for themselves. With living costs having skyrocketed, and with a new age of AI threatening the livelihoods of workers in numerous industries, there seem to be fewer and fewer ‘safe jobs’ in which to couch oneself.

But there remain many different kinds of jobs which in turn fulfil financial requirements and meet personal ambitions. Vocational, trade-based work is in relatively high demand, and there are certain roles within trade work that attract passion, driven artists as well as young entrepreneurs. Carpentry is one such industry, but what exactly is it?

The Ins and Outs of Carpentry

Carpentry describes a broad yet niche vocational field, relating to working with wood. Carpentry is a broad field in that it encompasses a wide variety of potential job roles and specifications, from basic domestic joinery work to furniture building, functional design and even artistry.

Whatever the role, carpentry is a hands-on and highly-skilled profession in which to (quite literally) build a career. The more common job roles in carpentry, though, tend to revolve around refurbishment, renovation and repair. The domestic contracting business is an extremely lucrative one, and tradespeople highly sought-after for their instrumental contributions to domestic homes and commercial enterprises alike.

Key Skills and Requirements

But what does a budding carpenter need to possess in order to get a foot in the industry? Firstly and most importantly, they must be handy with hand tools. Carpentry is the manipulation of wood and other materials to create or repair, and as such something that requires a steady hand and experience of wood materials. Qualifications can help with this process but are unnecessary in the face of experience. Besides hands-on skills with tools and equipment, there is little else that someone needs to build a meaningful career in carpentry.

However, it is worth touching upon now that a large percentage of jobbing carpenters in the UK are not salaried; rather, they are self-employed, and hence work on a project-to-project basis. This also means that carpenters seeking a career should be in possession of their own equipment and storage. Early investment in good quality hand tools and power tools alike can ensure readiness for a wide range of potential projects, and make winning work much easier.

Routes and Progression

Given that most carpenters work on a freelance basis, ‘progression’ in carpentry is not quite as simple as in other vocations or professions. The early years of a carpentry career might be spent interning under an established freelancer or contracting firm, within which there might be room to graduate into supervisory or project management roles. Arguably the most lucrative route forward, though, would be to lean into the freelance nature of the role and chart a personal path in which rates and projects are chosen by you.

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