Overview of the UK wood industry

Wood has been a much favoured construction material for quite some time – thousands and thousands of years to be precise! Although other materials have now replaced wood where it was once king of construction, it still very much leads the way in many areas.

We have all heard of the traditional carpenter, but wood is the weapon of choice for many other professions, including bench joiners, timber framers and general joiners. Wood still plays an important part in most construction projects in the UK, whether it is used for the timber frame of a roof, a door, or a staircase.

There are more than 70,000 types of wood out there ladies and gents and each has its own advantages, disadvantages and particular uses. The construction industry is responsible for over 60% of the UK’s annual consumption of wood. The industry as a whole is valued at over £7.5 billion.

Career progression in the wood industry

From sawmilling, processing, manufacturing and fabrication, to the sales, marketing and transportation of wood, there are many options for career development.

The industry reportedly employs over 180,000 people in the UK, who work as part of 20,000 different distribution and wood processing companies. As well as the production of wood itself, there are also general management opportunities within this area, focusing on anything from marketing and administration to sales and project management.

Any profession that uses wood at its core requires highly skilled individuals to deliver the many products that can be fashioned out of this versatile material. The key professions in the world of wood are: carpenters, joiners, timber framers, form workers, timber merchants and wood machinists.

What is the role of a carpenter?

The carpenter is the most well-known of the wood-related occupations. This career path has quite the number of famous alumni too; Jesus probably being the most well-known.

Generally, a carpenter’s role is to construct, restore, repair and install various woodwork products and related materials. These products could be anything; from windows, furniture, stairways and cabinets, to shelves, floors and roofs. These guys could be working on all kinds of projects ranging from ornate pieces, to large scale building frameworks.

What is the role of a timber framer and joiner?

Timber framers and joiners are mostly involved with structural work. Even today, every building uses wood in some part of its structural composition. It’s the responsibility of timber framers and joiners to prepare and install these wooden components. Framing is usually carried out in a large workshop, using a selection of handheld tools and fixed machinery. These frames are then transported to the site, where framers and joiners ensure they fit properly and are secure.

Reckon you could knock a decent career in wood into shape? Keep chipping away at it and you could grow into a fully-fledged pro in this field!

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