Building your community

Joiners in local government work on the construction and maintenance of council buildings such as houses, schools and town halls.  Joiners prepare and fix into place all the wooden parts of new buildings, such as floor joists, roofs and door frames. They also carry out maintenance work on existing buildings.

Work Environment
Joiners work inside and outside and are usually required to wear hard hats and boots with steel toe-caps and extra protective clothing, such as goggles, gloves, facemasks and ear defenders for some jobs.  The work is very physical and may involve heavy lifting.  Joiners often work at heights, using ladders and scaffolding.  Joiners normally work a standard 37-hour week but tend to start early at around 7.30-8.00am depending on daylight hours.  There may also be an out of hours on-call system in operation.

Daily Activities
Joiners work from plans and drawings provided by architects and engineers.  They plan the order of their work and calculate how much of each material they need. They measure the wood and mark out where any cuts or joints need to be, then use tools such as saws, chisels and planes to cut and shape the wood.  Joiners use a variety of methods to fix the pieces of wood together.  They may use hammers and mallets to knock pieces into place then fix with nails, screws, glue or specially cut joints.  Some pieces arrive pre-fabricated from a factory or workshop and just need assembling.

In the early stages of construction, joiners carry out the 'first fix'.  This means getting the basic structure in place and includes the roof, floor joists, floorboards, wall partitions between rooms and staircases.  The 'second fix' requires neater work and involves making and fixing door frames, window frames, doors, window sills, skirting boards, picture rails, cupboards, shelves, etc.  To finish off, joiners fit any small items, such as door knobs, handles and locks.  As well as working on new buildings, joiners also carry out alterations and refurbishments on existing buildings.

Skills & Interests
Joiners need to be:

  • physically fit, with good hand-to-eye co-ordination; 
  • skilled using their hands;
  • good at basic maths for measuring and doing calculations;
  • safety conscious;
  • courteous and polite when working in people\'s homes and work places.

Entry Requirements
Although there are no set entry requirements, some GCSEs/S grades or equivalent vocational qualifications may be required, particularly in English, maths and technology.  Some councils may ask for some previous experience working within a building and construction environment.  Training schemes for joiners often combine on-the-job experience with day release to college.  You may be able to work towards N/SVQs in carpentry and joinery.  Apprenticeships and Advanced Apprenticeships in construction are also available.

Future Prospects & Opportunities
With experience and further training, joiners may be able to progress to supervisory jobs or roles within construction management.  They may also be able to move into other construction related roles such as building control or building maintenance engineering.

Further Information & Services
Apprenticeship information
Association of Master Tradesman
Bconstructive CITB Careers Information
British Woodworking Federation
Construction Industry Council
Construction Industry Training Board

Careers Wales have produced a Spotlight article on careers in construction:

You may find further information about this area of work through Careers Wales ( or in your local library, careers office or school careers library.

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