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Wood machinist

Wood machinists cut and prepare wood for construction projects. They may produce timber for panelling, floorboards, kitchen counters, bars, banisters, skirting boards, window and door frames, and more. As a wood machinist, you would require a good understanding of different types of timber and their uses, and the ability to use a range of hand tools and machinery.

Average salary*

£17000

-

£35000

Typical hours per week

41 - 43

How to become a wood machinist?

There are several routes to becoming a wood machinist. You could complete a college course, an apprenticeship or apply directly to an employer for work.

You should explore these routes to becoming a wood machinist, to find out which is the right one for you. Although some of these options have certain qualification requirements, many employers are more interested in people who are enthusiastic, willing to learn and can follow instructions.

You may need a Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS) card to work on a construction site.

College/training provider

You could complete a college course to help you become a wood machinist, such as:

  • Level 1 Certificate in Basic Construction Skills
  • Level 1 Diploma In Carpentry and Joinery
  • Level 2 Diploma in Wood Machining
  • Level 2 Award in Timber and Panel Products.

You'll need:

Apprenticeship

An apprenticeship with a construction company is a good way into the industry.

You could complete an intermediate apprenticeship as a wood product manufacturing operative, or an advanced apprenticeship in wood machining.

You'll need:

  • 2 - 3 GCSEs, usually including English and maths, or equivalent (intermediate apprenticeship)
  • 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English and maths (advanced apprenticeship).

Apprenticeships are open to anyone over the age of 16. As an apprentice, you’ll be fully employed by your company and expected to work a minimum of 30 hours a week. Your time will be split between on-the-job experience and a college or training provider.

Work

If you have some previous experience in carpentry or joinery, you could apply directly to an employer to become a wood machinist. You could begin your career as an assistant or trainee. As you become more experienced, your employer might offer training to help you progress in the role.

Work experience

Work experience is essential to gaining employment within the construction industry. You could gain this at school, or by working weekends and holidays with a company or relative who works as a wood machinist. Potential employers will always be pleased to see work experience listed on your CV.

Skills

Desirable skills for a wood machinist include:

  • Knowledge of different types of wood and their uses
  • Ability to use a range of tools and machines
  • Accurate measuring skills
  • Good communication skills
  • Ability to read technical drawings.

What does a wood machinist do?

Depending on the project, the responsibilities of a wood machinist vary daily.

The typical duties of a wood machinist include:

  • Following technical drawings and templates
  • Selecting the right timber for a job and calculating the quantity needed
  • Use computer-aided design or manufacturing (CAD/CAM) programmes or computer numerically control (CNC) software
  • Using handheld saw, planes and routers to cut and shape wood
  • Preparing, maintaining and operating woodworking machinery
  • Following strict health and safety guidelines
  • Working in a workshop or sawmill.


How much could you earn as a wood machinist?

The expected salary for a wood machinist varies as you become more experienced.

  • Newly trained wood machinists can earn £17,000 - £20,000
  • Trained wood machinists with experience can earn £20,000 - £35,000.*

Hours and salary depend on location, employer and any overtime you may do.

* Salaries have been collected from multiple industry sources and have been updated as of 2019


Vacancies

Check out the latest wood machinist vacancies:

As these are external websites, the number of vacancies related to your preferred role may vary. New opportunities will be posted as they come up.

Career path and progression

As a wood machinist, you could move into a related role such as carpentry, joinery or you could become a shopfitter, kitchen or bathroom fitter. Alternatively, you could adapt your skills to become a CAD operative.

With experience, you could progress into a more senior role as a supervisor, team leader or manager.


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