What they do
Carpenters build and install the wooden and metal structures and fixtures that make up commercial or residential buildings. They may also finish and repair wooden structures such as foundations, walls, roofs, windows and doors. They plan and construct floors and frameworks, roofs and ceililngs, which may be made from either timber or metal, and may also lay timber floors.
Carpenters also cut and shape the materials they work with, and assemble or nail them into place. They may also install door handles, locks, flooring underlay, insulating material and other fixtures.
Carpenters are needed throughout the state, from the construction of office buildings in the Perth CBD, to the construction of houses in suburban areas, or the buildings for new mining operations in the Pilbara.
Specialisations include: Formwork Carpenter, Prop and scenery maker
Carpenters work on building and construction sites and as such may work in dirty, dustry, muddy or noisy conditions. Carpenters may also have to work in cramped spaces, or at heights. Building sites may be hazardous spaces, and with the use of power tools, carpenters will usually be required to wear safety gear.
Tools and technologies
As carpenters work mostly with different types of timber, they need to be familiar with a range of power and hand tools, precise measuring equipment such as spirit levels and instruments for measuring angles, as well as platforms and ladders for working at heights. Depending on the scale of the job they are working on they may also need to use safety harnesses. They need to use safety equipment such as hard hats, gloves, steel-capped boots, safety glasses and ear protection.
How do I become one?
Education and training
To become a carpenter, you usually need to complete an apprenticeship in carpenter, carpentry and joinery or carpentry (housing). The apprenticeships usually take between 24 to 48 months to complete and are available as school-based apprenticeships.
You may improve your chances of gaining an apprenticeship by completing the Certificate II in Construction Pathways [pre-apprenticeship (carpentry)] offered at TAFE Colleges and other registered training organisations throughout Western Australia (WA).
You may also improve your chances of gaining an apprenticeship by completing a traineeship in building and construction trade. The traineeship usually takes 12 months to complete and is available as a school-based traineeship.
Apprenticeships and traineeships
As an apprentice or trainee, you enter into a formal training contract with an employer, enabling you to complete training towards a nationally recognised qualification. You spend time working and learning practical skills on the job and you spend some time undertaking structured training with a registered training provider.
You can do an apprenticeship or traineeship if you are a school-leaver, re-entering the workforce or as an adult or mature-aged person wishing to change careers. You can even begin your apprenticeship or traineeship while you're still at school.
If you are still at school you can access an apprenticeship through your school. Talk to your school's VET Co-ordinator to start your training now through VET in Schools. If you are no longer at school you can apply for an apprenticeship or traineeship and get paid while you learn and work.
Required registration and licensing
In WA, carpenters carrying out work valued at more than $20 000 must be registered as, or work under the supervision of, a registered building practitioner. Contact the Building Commission Division of the Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety for more information.
Workers in the construction industry must undergo safety induction training and be issued with a Construction Induction Card (commonly known as a "White Card"). In WA, training is conducted by registered training organisations authorised by the WorkSafe Division of the Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety.