NHS buildings need to be kept in good repair so they are safe and pleasant for patients, staff and visitors. Carpenters maintain and repair parts of buildings, mainly working with wood products.
Training and qualifications required
There are no set entry requirements but employers usually expect a qualification in carpentry or joinery, such as an NVQ, certificate or diploma. They may also expect some experience of construction work and qualifications and/or experience in other related areas such as painting and decorating. Although carpenters often join the NHS fully qualified and experienced, it may be possible to train in carpentry or joinery in which case employers usually ask for GCSEs (or equivalent) including English and maths. When you start as a trainee carpenter, your training will include health and safety, using tools and equipment safely and all aspects of carpentry and joinery. You will be expected to study for relevant qualifications and may be encouraged to become multi-skilled eg in painting and decorating or plumbing.
Expected working hours and salary range
Estates staff working in the NHS are paid on the Agenda for Change (AfC) pay system. As an estates support worker, you could start on AfC band 2. As a qualified craftsperson in estates maintenance, you will typically start on AfC band 3. With further training and experience, you could apply for more senior positions at bands 4 and above. Carpenters and joiners in the NHS are likely to work standard hours of around 37.5 a week. Some may work shifts including early starts, evenings and weekends. Terms and conditions will usually be different for carpenters and joiners working outside of the NHS.
Desirable skills and values
Carpenters need to be interested in practical work and repairs, able to follow technical instructions, accurate and methodical, willing to work at heights where necessary, able to use hand tools and power tools and health and safety aware. They also need practical skills, manual (hand) skills and organisational skills.
With experience, you could become a supervisor, overseeing the work of a team of staff. With further experience, you could become a manager, responsible for the maintenance and repairs service for a hospital, area or trust. Some carpenters become self-employed by setting up a business, either on their own or with one or more colleagues.