Carpentry – A Hands-On Trade

Carpentry is a hands-on trade, and New Zealand carpentry qualifications are developed with the industry in mind. Many are linked to apprenticeships so students earn while they learn.

Unlike a joiner, who crafts wooden components in a workshop, a carpenter is more involved in on-site construction. They install structural elements and fittings such as doors, windows, and cabinets.


If you enjoy hands-on work and are ready to take your career to the next level, carpentry might be the perfect option for you. New Zealand carpentry courses are designed with the industry in mind, and you’ll graduate with a nationally recognised qualification that you can use on the job. Many carpentry courses are also linked to apprenticeships, letting you earn while you learn and providing you with a job when you’re done.

This entry-level programme is an ideal pre-entry qualification for a construction trades apprenticeship, and it’ll give you the skills to start your career as a labourer or apprentice carpenter. You’ll learn about health and safety, trade mathematics, and a range of basic carpentry concepts and techniques. You’ll also be expected to understand legislation, consents and licensing, and the ability to prepare and sustain work areas. You’ll be able to choose from a wide range of tools and hand-held power equipment to develop your practical skills.

Training options

New Zealand needs carpenters and while the demand for new buildings is low, there’s still work to be done in residential refits and commercial construction. Carpenters earn around NZ$65,000 to $80,000 per year.

Apprenticeships are an excellent way to learn the trade and become a qualified carpenter. These programmes can last up to three years and include a combination of study and on-the-job training. You’ll learn all aspects of carpentry, from building foundation structures to installing cladding and roofing. You’ll also develop skills in building internal walls, staircases, and doors.

Employers expect a high level of competency from carpenters. They must be able to stick to the blueprints when constructing frames and structures, as well as solve problems that may arise on the job. The best candidates have a strong attention to detail, which is essential for finishing tasks such as fitting windows and doors. They also need to be able to use industry-recognised hand and power tools.

Work environment

Carpenters work on a wide range of projects including building houses, repairing furniture and designing bespoke woodwork. They can also work on heritage projects and shop fittings. Many people start their career as a temporary carpenter and go on to secure a permanent position with a reputable company.

Those interested in becoming a carpenter can complete a four-year apprenticeship with BCITO. During this time, they will receive one-on-one training from qualified carpenters and gain experience on the job. They will then become a journeyman, which is one step away from being a fully-qualified carpenter.

Being a carpenter requires both hard and soft skills. Creativity is helpful when designing bespoke woodwork, and attention to detail is essential when measuring or cutting materials. Mathematical skills are also useful for calculating a budget or estimating project costs. Other important qualities include strong communication skills and the ability to work unsupervised. A career in carpentry is a rewarding and fulfilling way to work.

Career opportunities

In New Zealand, there are numerous job opportunities for skilled carpenters. These jobs include a variety of specialist fields like heritage carpentry in Auckland, shop fitting and set design. These roles provide a steady stream of employment and offer good pay.

Carpenters can also become construction site managers after gaining experience. This job involves overseeing all aspects of the construction process. It requires a high level of competency and attention to detail, which can be achieved through an apprenticeship.

Other career opportunities for qualified carpenters include working for furniture production companies and designing antiques. These jobs offer a great deal of creative freedom and a competitive salary. The average salary for a carpenter varies between $27 and $50 per hour. The remuneration package depends on the employer and the complexity of the work. The higher the skill level and specialisation, the greater the remuneration.

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