Person learning carpentry at Able Skills Construction Training Centre. They are using a saw to cut a piece of wood

Carpentry is one of the oldest professions in the world, and to this day still remains a vital element of the construction industry.

Throughout the years, rules and regulations in the construction industry have shifted and been updated as new technologies emerge, and to ensure the sector remains a safe environment for both tradespeople and customers. 

Because of this, there are many instances where experienced carpenters who began working in the profession years ago may not hold formal qualifications despite possessing the high levels of skill and in-depth knowledge required to obtain the official accreditation. 

To account for this, streamlined courses, known as Experienced Worker Practical Assessments (EWPA), have been designed to allow experienced carpenters to quickly gain their NVQ. Rather than undertaking a full training course, you’ll simply have to attend a profiling session, gather some evidence and complete a practical assessment to confirm your competence. 

Why do I need a formal NVQ qualification in carpentry? 

Holding an NVQ is proof that you have met the National Occupational Standards for the industry, and achieving your Level 2 NVQ in carpentry is now necessary before applying for your CSCS Card, a requirement for anyone wanting to work on a construction site. 

Aside from this, holding a formal qualification is also a great way to prove that you have trained to a high, industry-recognised standard to both customers and employers.

What level of NVQ do I need?

This will depend on the standard of the CSCS Card you want to hold. An NVQ Level 2 is the minimum requirement for a blue skilled worker CSCS card, Level 3 for a gold CSCS card and levels 5, 6 and 7 NVQs for black CSCS cards. 

You can find out more about the different levels of CSCS cards here.

How do I get my carpentry NVQ?

If you are an experienced carpenter who has been in the industry for a minimum of five years, then an Experienced Worker Practical Assessment will allow you to obtain your NVQ Level 2 quickly and efficiently. 

While there is no set timeline on how long the process will take, if you have the evidence to prove your experience in the industry then it can be completed quickly.

To be eligible for an EWPA candidates must: 

  • Be site experienced in all the stated skills of the carpentry NVQ
  • Have sufficient experience with the skills of the NVQ so that planning your working day, problem-solving and decision-making are a usual day-to-day activity
  • Be able to cope with the demand of an intensive practical assessment process
  • Be able to work safely at all times
  • Be able to discuss your work and activities with others 

What if I have no experience in the industry?

For those who are new to the industry, an introductory carpentry course is a great way to get a taste of what skills are required, while an NVQ course can take you from complete beginner to fully qualified in just eight weeks. You can read more about working in the industry here.

Want to find out more about completing an EWPA in carpentry? Or want to learn more about carpentry courses in general? Our team would be happy to point you in the right direction. Drop by the training centre anytime we’re open for a chat, or if you can’t make it in, call us on 01322 280 202.