A Day in the Life of a Joinery Apprentice

Joinery is all about making things out of wood, it could be doors, window frames, staircases, roof timbers, or floorboards. Joiners build shop displays, and kitchen units and even work on the set of television programmes and films to help build sets. It’s a popular apprenticeship for young people who like making things out of…

What is a Joinery Apprenticeship?

An apprenticeship is on-the-job training in a joinery workshop for anyone who wants to train as a joiner. You don’t need any formal qualifications, but Maths is helpful as you will need to be able to calculate measurements for cutting timber.

Apprenticeships are usually offered at either intermediate or advanced levels and these lead to a Level 2 or Level 3 diploma in carpentry and joinery. Most of an apprentice’s time is spent in the workshop working under the supervision of an experienced joiner but many apprenticeships also involve a day a week at a local college.

What Characteristics do we look for in a Joinery Apprentice?

Problem-solving skills are important as joiners need to look at a customer’s order and the drawings and work out the measurements. Old properties don’t tend to conform to a standard so it’s helpful to be able to problem-solve and think things through although a lot of this skill comes over time and with experience.

Being a team player is really important as you’ll always be working with other people in the joinery so communication skills are probably the most important attribute. Being able to ask questions, talk about different issues, and communicate clearly with the installation team is so important.

An Average Day for a Joinery Apprentice

The first job of the day is checking all the machinery and getting everything ready to work. This is one of the first jobs any apprentice is taught alongside safety protocols and so our apprentices tend to be responsible for getting the workshop ready to go in the morning oh and putting the kettle on! Prepping the workshop and then clearing up at the end of the day are crucial aspects of any successful joinery. We make sure the apprentices learn about current health and safety, welfare regulations, and approved codes of practice and this is also taught at college.

During the day, our apprentices help skilled joiners with their work, so we allocate small and simple tasks as part of a bigger project, for example, selecting, measuring, and cutting timber for a sash or casement window. The bench joiner will probably make the mortice and tenon joints though in the early days. So, the apprentices are always supervised and have someone they can ask but we encourage them to start to work a little bit independently as soon as they have enough skill and know-how.

Apprentices have to learn how to interpret information from drawings and specifications which come in lots of different formats, such as electronic and CAD which is Computer Aided Design. These are some of the skills an apprentice will learn through a mixture of time in the joinery workshop and day release at college: –

  • Accurate measuring
  • Marking out
  • Fitting
  • Cutting using a range of different tools and machinery
  • Splicing
  • Mitring
  • Scribing
  • Horizontal and vertical levelling including laser levelling
  • Finishing
  • Positioning
  • Securing
  • Identify and apply safe use, storage, and maintenance of hand tools, power tools, and equipment

A college course complements the time spent in the workshop really well, it gives the apprentices a chance to focus on certain key skills that they want to learn more about or perfect. Joinery is a real mix of traditional craftsmanship and skills with some modern materials and computer design. It’s a great trade and a good joiner will never be out of work.

The Last Word from Joseph Blackhall, Apprentice Bench Joiner

“The best thing about being an apprentice is that you are in the workplace learning, seeing how people tackle jobs so the environment is very educational – you’re learning more than you realise. I really enjoy the buzz in the workshop, it’s a great team here”

We have a busy joinery workshop that bespoke designs timber sliding sash and casement windows for all types of properties. We make and install for historic homes right through to ultra-modern and contemporary houses. We blend traditional methods with the latest hardwoods and modern materials so customers can enjoy a quality window with superior thermal regulation, security, acoustic control, and draughtproofing. We also repair and refurbish old windows on-site and in our workshop.

Contact us here to find out more about our window design service or if you are looking for joinery repair and restoration for your home.