Carpenters are very skilled craftsmen who are highly important within the building and construction industry.

There are two categories carpentry apprenticeships fall in, one is Structural Carpenters – Craftsmen who are involved in the building and construction of big structures, and Detail Carpenters – Craftsmen involved with furniture, be it making, assembling or repairing it. Many carpenters describe their work as a form of relaxation and an excellent way to train patience, which is helped by the fact that a carpenter can work anywhere in the world.

Older apprentices can benefit greatly from the Australian Apprenticeships scheme, as tools needed for carpentry apprenticeships can get pricey. If you are over the age of 25 (twenty-five) when you complete your apprenticeship, you may be entitled to help with finances towards tools and equipment.

What do you get taught in carpentry apprenticeships?

Carpenters are skilled craftsmen who primarily build, install and repair buildings, furniture and other objects that have timber. The work is very manual and it can be carried out both indoors and outdoors.

The main tasks undertaken in carpentry apprenticeships are:

  • Carefully study drawings and specifications to understand how things are built
  • Erects structures and the framing of roofs.
  • Cuts wood to make structural components and furniture
  • Repair broken structures and components
  • Work with different materials, including wood, metals, perspex and plastic
  • Installs external cladding on buildings, including walls doors and window frames.
  • Build staircases

Skills required

  • Excellent manual dexterity
  • Creative type
  • Patient approach to work
  • High attention to detail
  • Keen to learn
  • Good mathematics skills
  • Great interpersonal skills for clients.

How long are Carpentry Apprenticeships?

Carpentry is a highly skilled profession, so carpentry apprenticeships tend to be slightly longer than others, the average completion is between 2-4 years, depending on whether you can apply to RPL and how quickly you become skilled.

Can I apply or RPL (Recognition of Prioir Learning)

Carpentry is a trade many people have skills in without prior training, which means that if you are interested in completing an apprenticeship, particularly a mature age apprenticeship. If you have knowledge and skills, that you obtained through past experiences, training and education, you may well be eligible to apply for RPL and reduce the amount of training required.

If you wish to apply for RPL, you must complete the following steps:

  1. Gather all relevant proof of skills or experiences. This can be previous employment references, certificates or records.
  2. Next you must meet with an assessor who will review your submission and assess whether your claims match up with the requirements of the apprenticeship you are applying to.
  3. The assessor will most likely arrange a practical test at a suitable workplace, and this will provide you with the opportunity to demonstrate your skills and competences levels. This test will focus solely on relevant skills that you would learn in your apprenticeship.

Please note though that there are usually fees involved with this, to get an idea of costs, you might expect for the initial application itself to cost $300 and if the assessor feels you might be eligible for RPL, you will need to pay another $85 per unit for the assessments.

Career Outlook

The carpentry trade is one of highly skilled workers, and they are high in demand. Wherever there are things being built with wood, there will be a need for a carpenter. Due to the nature of the work and skills involved, carpentry can be a highly entrepreneurial career, which explains why over a third of carpenters are self-employed. Most recently qualified carpenters look for a good mentor to teach them until they become experts and then go on to start their own business. However, one of the downsides of this is that bad weather some times means unpaid downtime, which can cause problems.

Where can I find apprenticeships and jobs?

If you are looking for carpentry apprenticeships or jobs, try looking for some on the government’s website – or try our job section. Good luck and if you get an apprenticeship or job, send us an email with your story, we’d love to hear it and share it with everyone else on here!

-Mature Age Team