Career Options

If you’re setting out in the woodworking industry you will want to know how you can climb your way up the ladder of your career.

Depending on what your current qualification level is, there will be different options available to you, but there are great career pathways available from the school-leaver to the university graduate. Don’t forget there are both workshop or site, and office-based careers in the woodworking industry.

The woodworking industry is also part of the wider timber industry that covers careers from forestry to the distribution and selling of timber to woodworking companies that make things out of wood.

Click on your entry point below to see the career options available to you.

  • School Leavers
    • In the UK, you can leave school at 16 and go into an apprenticeship. This allows you to boost your qualifications while earning a real wage.

      You can enter the industry as an:

      – Apprentice Joiner
      – Apprentice Machinist
      – Apprentice Site Carpenter
      – Apprentice Shopfitter

      For these apprenticeships, you don’t need formal qualifications, but you should, at the very least, have an interest in practical work and making things.The industry is known for it’s creativeness, so if you’re a bit artistic, that’s an added bonus.

      If you haven’t got a C or above in Maths and English, you’ll be required to gain a good standard in these subjects as part of your apprenticeship (a national requirement), but both of these are important in the woodworking industry.

      Sometimes you can enter the trade as a labourer, particularly on construction sites, and move into apprenticeship afterwards.

      Large woodworking manufacturers may run their own training programmes for assembly operatives, who put woodworking products together, like windows and doors, for example.

      Once you have an industry qualification, you can start to gain experience, and after some years, you can start to move into supervisory or management positions, or you could even consider starting a business yourself.

      About Woodworking Apprenticeships
  • College Leavers
    • If you’ve carried on to A-Levels or Scottish Highers until you are 18, there are more options available to you. You can still go in as an apprentice, or there are some office-based options which would allow you to go straight into full-time work.

      Apprenticeship options:

      – Apprentice Joiner
      – Apprentice Machinist
      – Apprentice Site Carpenter
      – Apprentice Shopfitter

      For these apprenticeships, you don’t need formal qualifications, but you should, at the very least, have an interest in practical work and making things.The industry is known for it’s creativeness, so if you’re a bit artistic, that’s an added bonus.

      If you haven’t got a C or above in Maths and English at GCSE/Scottish Standards, you’ll be required to gain a good standard in these subjects as part of your apprenticeship (a national requirement), but both of these are important in the woodworking industry.

      If you have A-Levels/Scottish Highers in Design Technology and related subjects, these will help you get into apprenticeships more easily.

      However A-Levels you have may help you get a job straight away in some of the office-based roles such as:

      – Administrator
      – Trainee Estimator
      – Trainee Accounts Secretary

      A-Levels that could be useful would be:

      – Business Studies
      – Economics
      – Design Technology
      – Maths
      – English

      All of these options allow you climb the career ladder through to supervisory and management positions, as well as the opportunity to set up your own business.

  • Graduates
    • The woodworking industry is a vibrant part of the manufacturing and construction industries, and is looking for bright and motivated graduates to help drive growth within a company and for the industry as a whole. Depending on the degree you undertake, will depend on the type of role you can do in a woodworking company.

      Degrees in Engineering, Manufacturing and Construction related subjects will be highly relevant for you to enter as a graduate in a technical capacity.

      While graduates are valuable to any size woodworking companies, those actively looking for these types of candidates are likely to be Medium to Large in size – so companies around the 20+ staff mark.

      Types of roles you might have as a graduate entrant:

      – Estimator
      – Designer
      – Technical Officer

      For those doing degrees without an industry-specific focus, the following would still be highly valuable for woodworking companies:

      – Business
      – Economics
      – Management
      – Marketing

      These degrees could be used in standard occupations related to these subject areas.

  • Non-Craft Careers
    • The woodworking industry like any other requires the general business functions, plus specialist non-craft jobs.

      General business functions include management, HR, payroll, marketing and sales. Specialist office-based roles include estimator (quoting for work), health & safety, product design etc.

      These can be entered at different levels from school leavers to post-graduates.

  • Other Timber Careers
    • The timber industry has a number of different areas including timber merchanting, sawmilling, panel production, timber frame, forestry, paints and coatings, furniture and more.

      If you’d like to learn more about these careers and how you can get into these industries, visit the ProSkills website