how to become a joiner

Joiners are true craftsmen, they use their hands and an assortment of power tools to work with wood, building objects. The work is creative and exacting at the same time. You could make furniture, cabinetry, and shelving. Or interior fittings like windows, doors, and staircases. Moreover, you could be building large wooden structures such as the framing in a house, or putting down subflooring layers, or floorboards. You will find working with wood a very rewarding field because the material requires skill and passion to manipulate. Within the role of a joiner, there is a lot of room for further specialisation. For example, you could focus on building house frames, or you might want to only build furniture. Once your skills grow there are opportunities to pursue a specific area of joinery work which you are passionate about. 

Do you have a love of wood as a material and a strong desire to use wood to build things? Are you creative and exacting at the same time? If so, then you could lift off a career in joinery. Joiners are in demand and the industry is growing. Keep reading to discover the low-down on joiner career pathways and how to get started on your journey.

Step one: Choose a vocational training course

Taking a training course is a good option as your first step towards becoming a joiner. A course which teaches you a foundation of knowledge, in relation to construction, will stand you in good stead. In addition, taking a course before you take an apprenticeship demonstrates your commitment to a career as a joiner. This will help you stand out from the crowd when applying for apprenticeships.

Step two: Search for an apprenticeship

Taking an apprenticeship is the best way to learn the skills a joiner needs. Due to the specialised nature of the work, working practically with an expert is the best way to learn. When applying don’t forget to highlight your strengths, your qualifications and any relevant experience you have. Employment in joinery has risen sharply in the last few years, and experts expect the trend to continue. This makes it a perfect time to embark on a career in this profession.

Step three: Undergo a safety induction training  

Joinery often involves working with power tools to cut, and sand wood. This means you will often need to undertake special safety induction training before you can start work on your apprenticeship. Usually, your employer or the company running the apprenticeship will provide this training.

Step four: Build on your experience

After completing your apprenticeship, well done you, you will usually progress to work for the company who provided your training. However, if not, you can also seek work by regular means. Make sure you tailor your resume and cover letter for each application. Once you are working, concentrate on building up your skills, and perfecting your new trade.

Step five: Consider a specialisation

Joiners with experience can translate their skill set into some interesting career progressions. Specialising may mean going back to your studies. Yet, the need for extra study varies according to the specialisation.
Building Inspector
Joiners and carpenters work can be dangerous. The experience you have will set you up to become a building inspector. In this specialisation, you ensure construction sites follow the WHD protocols. You need to have good all-round knowledge of procedures on the construction site.
Joinery is a specialised and practical skill. This is best passed from joiner to joiner. Once you have considerable experience under your belt, you could become a Vocational Educations and Training lecturer (VET). In this important specialisation you focus on passing your skills to the next generation. You could also become a technical teacher, focusing on teaching the practical side of joinery.
Construction Manager
If you are an organisational master you could consider construction management. In the role, you oversee and manage construction sites. You make sure workflow on the site is going smoothly, and workers are following safety protocol. Joiners often do well in this role because of their health and safety awareness. 
Quantity Surveyor
For those people who would like to leave the practical side of joinery behind, you may enjoy becoming a quantity surveyor. In this specialisation, you focus on the administrative side of construction. Specifically managing and analysing construction costs and contracts. Quantity surveyors take responsibility for financial forecasting, undertaking cost-benefit analyses, and overseeing risk management
Inventory Officer
If you love calculating the materials needed for a job. Or you love the part when you choose the most suited materials. Then, working as an inventory officer could suit you perfectly. In this role, you calculate the quantity and type of materials required making sure to minimise wastage

What do Joiners do?

Joiners lead a very interesting life at work. There is a huge amount of variation between the projects you work on. Primarily, your work is building objects or structures with wood. From there, the tasks and projects vary wildly You may find yourself building furniture or large wooden structures for a building project. Perhaps, you work in the workshop crafting smaller objects. Or on large-scale projects, you spend most of your time on the construction site. As an important part of your work, you read plans and specifications prepared for you by architects or designers. You may give feedback to them flagging up any potential issues with the design. In addition, you may advise architects and designers on which materials are most appropriate. Once you complete the planning stage you get to work. Working with wood you measure, cut, assemble and use sanding machines to finish the surface.


  • Cutting and assembling materials
  • Erecting frameworks. For example, roof frames, subflooring, floorboards
  • Repairing existing woodwork.  For example, staircases, doorways, window frames
  • Consulting with project managers and clients
  • Planning material specifications based on architectural drawings

Skills for Success

If you would like to realise success as a joiner it is important to approach your work in a methodical and careful way. You need to read and understand technical drawings, so you can follow the specifications. Joiners need to listen well, and communicate clearly. This is because you are usually working to build something according to a brief, and you need focus on delivering exactly what the client wants. You should be familiar with the general construction industry. In particular, when working on large-scale projects on construction sites. An important skill for success is to understand the particular qualities of wood. Then, work successfully within the limitations of the material. You need to have a keen eye for health and safety and a good understanding of the on-site protocol. Lastly, while you work, try to use good practice to reduce wastage.

Skills and attributes

  • Pragmatic and methodical
  • Careful at measuring up
  • Able to use relevant tools – i.e wood saws
  • Good communication skills
  • Physically fit
  • Can read architectural drawings and follow specifications

What is a joiner salary in Australia?

In Australia, joiners earn a median wage of $54,987 per year. This varies according to a number of factors and is intended as a reference only, from Payscale 05/’18.

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