Do you like working with your hands? Enjoy creating structures from wood? Want to see your work in a real home or building? If so, then a career in carpentry might be just want you’ve been looking for. Here is our essential guide on how to become a carpenter.
Do your research
Just like in any other industry, there is more than one type of carpenter out there, and if you aren’t sure exactly what field you’d like to go in, then you might end up in a job that you didn’t really want at all. In order to ensure that you’re qualified for your dream job
, you first need to do some research to find out what kind of carpenter you’d like to become so you can plan for the next step.
Here are a few common type of carpenters:
- Shopfitter, Joiner, Fix or Finish carpenter: These carpenters are responsible for creating wood furniture, window and door fittings, parquet floors and stairs. They can be contracted for new homes and renovation projects, or they can also create and sell their own furniture.
- Framework carpenter: This type of carpenter is responsible for creating the frame of a building - both home and commercial. These professionals are usually the first ones to begin work when a new home or building is going up.
- Formwork carpenter: A little different than other carpenters, formwork carpenters are responsible for the creation of falsework and shuttering, both of which require concrete. These serve as moulds.
- Green carpenters: If you want to make the earth a better place to live and join the green movement, then you might be interested in green carpentry. This carpenter will use environmentally friendly materials to make homes more energy efficient or sustainable.
Though you don’t have to stay in one branch of carpentry forever, it may be difficult to learn framework if you’ve been concentrating on building dining tables, coffee tables and China cabinets, or vise versa. Decide what you’d like to focus on now so that when it comes time to look for an apprenticeship, you’ll know where your interests truly lie.
Start your apprenticeship
Carpentry isn’t something you learn overnight. It’s a dedicated industry that requires both study and training onsite. If you really want to excel in carpentry and move up in your career, then you need to receive the necessary training and get your certification.
Once you complete Year 10, you will be able to start your apprenticeship with a carpenter
or a construction firm. Most employers will have certain education qualifications, but most will accept apprentices who have at least completed Year 10 of their education.
Apprenticeships provide excellent on-the-job training in a way that you could never get in the classroom. You’ll see how expert carpenters fill their days and what’s like to be working as a carpenter day in and day out. Your teacher will show you how to handle certain woods and instruct you on trends that come in and out of carpentry work.
You’ll also get to see the business side of carpentry. Like many other professionals, carpenters often work face to face with customers, which means they have to have great communication skills and be able to understand what the customer actually wants. You’ll learn to communicate with suppliers and detail exactly the kind of materials you will need to complete the job.
Most apprenticeships last about four years. During those four years, however, you won’t be working as an apprentice the whole time. There is another important component to learning carpentry.
Before you can become officially certified as a carpenter, you must complete your training in a TAFE institution. At the Kangan Institute, most of our new students first start with a Certificate III in Carpentry to get them going on the right track towards their career goals.
The Certificate III in Carpentry
course provides real-life work for training carpenters to prepare the for the different types of work available in housing and industrial construction. When possible, this course uses simulations to get students thinking about how they’ll apply their knowledge in a controlled environment. Though most of the work is hands-on, there will be written tests to assess how well students comprehend the material.
A Certificate III in Carpentry can also help you advance towards other building and construction careers. With the right training, you can become a builder, building inspector, leading hand, sub-foreman, foreman or a project manager. If you want to further advance your career, you might go on to complete your Certificate IV in Building and Construction
After you complete your courses and apprenticeship, you will be able to apply for a Certificate of Completion, which is issued by the Victorian Qualifications Authority. This nationally recognised accreditation shows that you have completed your training and are ready to start working in the carpentry industry.
If you want to be involved in the construction industry, be sure to consider a career in carpentry. Many carpenters consider their work an art form, and given their talents at creating beautiful pieces of furniture, it’s easy to see why.
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