Carpentry Apprenticeship

Carpentry apprenticeship

Carpentry is a gratifying career, ideally suited to those who like to work with their hands, have strong attention to detail, and have good hand-eye coordination. Carpenters construct, install, finish, and repair structures using timber and non-timber products on residential and commercial land, construction sites, or specialist workshops. Carpentry Apprenticeships provide individuals with the opportunity to train and study for a nationally recognised qualification. The qualification offers on- and off-the-job learning to enable apprentices to develop skills while earning a wage. 

Apprenticeships take approximately four years to complete and involve training in a skilled trade. They can be done full-time, part-time, or school-based to tailor the role to the individual’s circumstances. Anyone with eligibility to work in Australia can undertake an apprenticeship. 

In Australia, demand for carpenters continues to grow. There has been a housing and construction boom in recent years, particularly in the East Coast cities such as Sydney, Melbourne, and Brisbane. Due to the national skills shortage, the Australian Government created the Additional Identified Skills Shortage payment incentive payment. Eligible apprentices, including carpenters and joiners, will receive $2,000 at the 12-month point from the commencement of the apprenticeship and an additional $2,000 when the apprenticeship ends.

The state of Carpentry Apprenticeships in Australia

COVID-19 significantly disrupted the apprenticeship system in Australia. In mid-2020, experts were concerned that the economic downturn would affect the number of apprenticeship commencements. 

Research from the Mitchell Institute at Victoria University published in May 2020 indicated that the number of new apprentices and trainees could decline by 30% between 2020 and 2023. In their report, the Mitchell Institute warned that “downturns into the number of apprenticeships can have long-lasting effects and raise the prospect of skills shortages occurring which hamper a coronavirus economic recovery”. In response to the crisis, the Australian Government provided wage subsidies to employers taking on Australian apprentices. 

However, the situation is looking much less bleak than expected. Research conducted by The National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER) found that the number of individuals commencing an apprenticeship in trades rose by 27.4 per cent compared to 2020 to 85,425. Moreover, the construction trades, which includes carpentry, saw a 36.3% increase in commencements between 2020 and 2021.

What are the typical duties of a Carpentry Apprentice?

Carpentry apprentices will be required to complete a range of different tasks. For example, apprentices will review drawings, choose timbers and materials, order timber, and cut and assemble timber. The role will also involve regular face-to-face discussions, meaning apprentices should possess good communication skills and work well in a team. 

Are there requirements for becoming a Carpentry Apprentice?

There are no specific educational prerequisites to make you eligible for an apprenticeship. You can join the carpentry field with no formal qualifications if you can demonstrate your competency to an employer. However, most carpenters complete an apprenticeship, with 72% of the carpentry workforce in Australia holding a Certificate III or IV qualification. 

Carpentry apprentices should possess several vital skills if they are to succeed in the field. This includes good attention to detail, a decent grasp of mathematics, and interpersonal communication skills.

What is the average wage for a qualified carpenter?

According to Job Outlook, an initiative created by the Australian Government National Skills Commission, the median full-time carpenter receives $1,358 a week before tax. Additionally, the organisation believes carpentry has strong future growth projections. 

The average hourly wage of a qualified carpenter varies by state. 

How to become a Carpenter

To officially become a carpenter, you will need a Certificate III in Carpentry. Applicants must have completed Year 10 to undertake the apprenticeship. The qualification covers work in both residential and commercial applications and will take approximately 48 months to complete. You may improve your chances of gaining an apprenticeship by completing a building and construction traineeship, which usually lasts 12 months.

After completing the apprenticeship, carpenters must either be accredited or work under the supervision of a registered building practitioner in some states. Additionally, workers in the sector must undergo safety induction training. After this training is complete, they will receive a Construction Induction Card (CIC), commonly known as a “White Card”.

How to find a Carpentry Apprenticeship

If you’re interested in undertaking a carpentry apprenticeship, you will need to contact the Australian Apprenticeship Support Network. Apprenticeship Network providers offer personalised advice and support services to help apprentices complete their courses. For example, providers will help you find an employer and registered training organisation to complete your course, provide you with a training contract for both parties to sign, and help you access financial support such as a Trade Support Loan

Additionally, Australian Apprenticeship Pathways (AAPathways) provide further information and resources to help eligible individuals find a suitable apprenticeship. AAPathways offer valuable resources such as the work type explorer tool, job and training descriptions, job hunting tips, and practice aptitude quizzes.

Carpentry Certificates

There are different Certificates individuals can receive from undertaking a Carpentry apprenticeship. These include:

Certificate III in Carpentry

A Certificate III in Carpentry will teach apprentices a range of essential skills and processes, including but not limited to using carpentry tools, equipment and materials, carrying out demolitions of minor building structures, installing floors, windows, and doors, constructing roofs, and more. The apprenticeship has a core unit consisting of competency requirements covering essential skills and knowledge required for the construction industry. 

Additionally, the qualification allows individuals to specialise in a chosen occupation, such as a joiner carpenter, framework carpenter, green carpenter, or formwork carpenter. A Certificate III in Carpentry will take apprentices 48 months to complete in all eight states.

Certificate III in Joinery

Those who wish to become stairmakers may be interested in the Certificate III Joinery qualification, which supersedes and is equivalent to the Certificate III in Joinery (Stairs) qualification. There are no specific entry requirements for the qualification. During the course, apprentices will install and cut glass, produce manual and computer-aided production drawings, assemble, and install stairs, and more. Once completed, apprentices can become joiners or stair builders. 

After completing a Certificate III in either Carpentry or Joinery, you will become eligible to enrol in a Certificate IV course. 

Start your Carpentry career by undertaking an apprenticeship

Carpenters are in high demand in Australia. As a result, employers in the field offer competitive salaries once you have completed your qualification. If you’re looking for a practical career where you can work with your hands, carpentry might be the answer.

If you are interested in learning more about carpentry and joinery apprenticeships, visit the Australian Apprenticeships and the Australian Apprenticeship Pathways websites.