Careers in Woodworking UK

Thinking about a career change? If you’re someone who’d prefer to create something unique with your hands rather than type on a keyboard, why not consider careers in woodworking UK? We’ve got all the information you need right here.

Woodworking is one of the oldest trades known to humans. In fact, woodworkers were an important part of society for the ancient Egyptians, Jewish, Roman, Greek and all other early civilizations. As a woodworker, your job involves designing and making objects from a range of woods for different purposes. You can specialise in working on different scales – from creating small decorative objects or designing and making furniture to building houses or even boats.

So, if you’re planning on changing careers early or later in life, there are plenty of career opportunities in woodworking.

Becoming a Woodworker

Woodworking is a skill that takes years of training and practice to master. Therefore, unless you were lucky enough to study woodwork in school, you will most likely need to retrain.

Below are the different paths you can take to become a woodworker:


In order to become a woodworker through University, one option is to study a course in Furniture & Product Design. Make sure to check the course specifications in advance so you can be sure they cover the area you’re interested in. Some institutions currently offering courses include:


It’s also possible to do a college course to get the qualification you need to become a woodworker in the UK. Examples of courses include:

  • Level 2 Diploma in Furniture Making
  • Level 2 Diploma in Carpentry and Joinery
  • Level 3 Diploma in Wood Machining

The pre-requisites are:

  • 2 or more GCSEs at grades 9 to 3 (A* to D) for a level 2 course
  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) for a level 3 course

Adult Apprenticeships

Adult apprenticeships are a great way to get on-the-job experience while you learn your new skill. The best option would be to do an intermediate apprenticeship in furniture manufacturing, or carpentry and joinery.

It’s important to do your research and make sure you know what level of qualification you’ll be getting from your chosen apprenticeship.

Woodworking Jobs in the UK

Once you’ve completed your training, you can start looking for woodworking jobs in the UK or even abroad. You’ll most likely specialise in one area of woodworking during your training and this is where you’ll be focusing your search for employment. Some of the most common specialisations of woodworking include:

  • Furniture Designer – specialises in designing furniture for manufacturers
  • Joiner – generally builds complete structures in a workshop such as stairs, windows, doorframes, doors, etc. for buildings
  • Carpenter – similar to a joiner but works on construction sites (not workshops). Carpenters might hang doorframes, fit window frames, repair wooden fixtures, etc.
  • Cabinet Maker – build, repair and install wooden cabinets, furniture and fixtures
  • Machine Operator – (or machinist) operates very specific machinery like wood sawing machine setters.
  • Construction Manager – supervises construction projects and collaborates with architects and engineers

Finding Careers in Woodworking UK

If you’re ready for a career change and want to work with your hands and be creative, then maybe a career in woodworking is something you’d be interested in. With opportunities for contract or self-employed work, a career in woodworking can provide you with the flexibility and the exciting career change you were looking for.

Check out Refreshing a Career’s live jobs board for the latest woodworking jobs in your area. We’ve got loads of help and advice for career changers such as choosing the right career for you and dealing with CV gaps.

Feel free to contact us if you have any questions and don’t forget to sign up for our newsletter using the form below for all the latest from Refreshing a Career.

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