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Knocking on wood: the path to becoming a carpenter

Following recent news regarding the easing of planning regulations for residential extensions, carpenters could be more in demand than ever.

David Cameron and Nick Clegg have announced that property owners will now be able to construct extensions of up to six or eight metres from the rear wall of a home, depending on whether it is a terraced or detached home.

This relaxing of laws, despite only being temporary, will ensure that demand for tradesmen such as painters, decorators, carpenters, plumbers and electricians to carry out the work, is high.

So, just how do you go about becoming a carpenter? A carpenter is a skilled tradesman and craftsperson who falls into one of two basic categories. The first is detail carpentry, which involves making or maintaining items such as furniture used in homes and offices. The second is structural carpentry, which involves constructing buildings such as apartment blocks and schools.

If you are interested in carpentry as a profession, it is a good idea to make the most of educational classes such as mechanical drawing, maths and woodworking as early as possible, ideally whilst still at school. Those keen to become carpenters should bear in mind that many carpentry apprenticeship schemes will require that applicants have GCSE grades A-C in maths, English and a science or technology subject, or a GNVQ equivalent under their belt.

Applying for an apprenticeship within the industry is also a crucial step, and valuable experience can be gained such as familiarising yourself with the tools of the trade and picking up on-the-job training. Many courses can last between two and four years and also include some element of classroom study.

Following the apprenticeship, it is worth getting in contact with the Home Builders Federation (HBF) and The National House Building Council (NHBC) for more information and possible job opportunities relating to carpentry.