The first step in a career for life24 April 2023
The British Woodworking Federation has posted members’ career experiences in its online apprenticeships resource to highlight the breadth of opportunities that the sector offers new recruits, from craftwork, to hi-tech computer aided design, sales to engineering. CEO Helen Hewitt reports
This years’ National Apprenticeship Week [which took place from February 6-12] was centred around the theme of ’Skills for Life’ and refl ected on how apprenticeships help individuals develop the skills required for their future career. Woodworking and joinery-focused apprenticeships offer an alternative route to university and can provide a lifelong career.
However, there are outdated perceptions that an apprenticeship and career in woodworking consists purely of learning traditional skills. Our sector’s heritage skills are something we’re incredibly proud of and will continue to attract craftspeople to the industry, but this is just one facet of what we do in our forwardlooking sector.
More and more companies are blending traditional skills with new innovative manufacturing technologies and machinery, with a growing focus on green skills and reaching net zero.
The roles available to apprentices have never been more diverse – from skilled craftspeople and technical computer-aided design specialists to site managers, quantity surveyors, health and safety managers and engineers. There are also opportunities for those with varied experiences and skills such as marketing, sales, HR and operations.
To highlight the breadth of experiences and skills that apprenticeships offer, the British Woodworking Federation (BWF) gathered the experiences of our members who started their own careers as apprentices. By sharing these experiences, we aim to raise awareness of the rewarding careers our sector has to offer and encourage people to consider a career in woodworking and joinery.
Members told us how the wide range of skills gained through a woodworking and joinery apprenticeship unlocked a huge number of opportunities for them as they progressed through their career.
One member, whose apprenticeship led him on a journey from young site carpenter to competent site carpenter, supervisor, and all the way through into management, said that he chose to do an apprenticeship because he wanted to learn a skill which would allow him to grow and progress in the future and be put to good use in the building industry.
This sentiment was echoed by another member who emphasised that completing an apprenticeship in a master skill such as joinery can open doors around the world.
Apprentices’ experiences are many and varied, and everyone has their own individual passion. But at the core, a love for our craft, combined with the opportunity to translate this into a rewarding career is what motivates people in our industry. Long may that continue.
You can read more about what our members had to say as part of our online apprenticeships resource at https://www.bwf.org.uk/news/apprenticeships/.