Joiners work with timber to create staircases, windows and doors, furniture, kitchens, cupboards and interior woodwork.
The Role
  • Learning the uses of different types and grades wood and choosing the right one for the job
  • Understanding technical drawings and how their work will fit within the building
  • Cutting wood on machines or by hand, measuring and marking it according to the design
  • Doing site surveys
  • Working with suppliers and sub-contractors
  • Producing cutting lists
  • Creating design drawings
  • Producing sketches of the work needed and specifications
  • Producing bills of quantities
  • Drafting job briefs for work to be done
  • Using a range of equipment from traditional tools to state-of-the-art computerised cutting equipment and hi-tech drawing and design software
  • A setter-out combines drawing skills on CAD with hi-tech design to get everything ready for joiners to begin cutting wood
  • A CNC operator uses a computer numerically controlled (CNC) machine to cut and shape wood and other materials into specialised shapes
  • Wood machinists are  responsible for translating drawings into components by setting up a range of machines and processing the timber accurately and efficiently
  • A joinery foreman is responsible for running a joinery workshop – from every member of staff that arrives in the morning to every wooden item that goes out the door
  • Supporting apprentices' learning
  • Overseeing production output and quality
  • Managing production schedules and budgets
  • Maintaining and developing product quality
  • Developing staff skills
  • Producing progress reports to company management
  • Newly trained bench joiners can earn in the range of £17,000 - £20,000
  • Trained with experience bench joiners can earn in the range of £20,000 - £30,000
  • Senior/master craft bench joiners can earn in the range of £30,000 - £40,000
Salaries depend on location, employer, level of responsibility, and the amount of overtime worked.  Self-employed bench joiners set their own pay rates.
Qualifications & Training
There are no formal requirements to be a joiner but useful subjects to study at school include design and technology, maths and English, with GCSE exam grades 9-4 (A*-C) or equivalent such as the Welsh Baccalaureate or BTECs. A good way to start as a joiner is to apply for an apprenticeship with an employer you’d like to work for. To find an apprenticeship, visit the Government's website in England, or Career Wales in Wales, or World of Work for Scotland. For more information on woodworking careers visit: As your career goes on, On-site Assessment and Training (OSAT) can add to your qualifications in wood machining, supervision and team leading, and management