In NHSScotland, Joiners make and repair wooden structures or objects, such as stairs, doors, window frames or items of furniture. They may work outside or in a workshop.

Joiners are sometimes known as Carpenters.

My name’s Alex and I’m an apprentice joiner for the NHS. This is me in my first year. An average day would be going around fixing fire doors, looking at fire doors and see if they’re working, see if they’re closing properly, or fixing windows, usually checking cylinders on doors, making sure they’re all working perfectly well.

On my first year, I won’t be able to work on my own, as I won’t have any tools. On my second year, I should be able to work on my own. It just depends if I’m ready for that.

I enjoy being hands on, being outside. You’re always on your feet doing stuff.

I got an apprenticeship via MTS, Midlothian Training Services. It was a job that came up and I applied for it. I had to go through to Edata, to get an aptitude test, which is 40 – 50 questions on all work outside, measurements, area and space. You need to be able to pass that and you need to have a 95% pass rate.

If you know what you’re doing, or if you’ve done it before, it also helps when you get in to the trade. So any previous experience usually helps.

After my 4 years, I get qualified as a joiner through the college and through the NHS.

The NHS is a good place to work, because you’re always on your feet, you’re always hands on. You always have work to do. You’re always supported with what you need, if you need any tools. It’s a really good job to be in and I’m happy I went in to it and I’m happy I got in to it.

Working as a Joiner, you would repair and maintain existing hospital buildings and facilities. You could also work on construction sites for new buildings.

You would usually work with other Joiners or Maintenance staff in a team. You may also work on your own on smaller jobs. It is important to be able to work alone or as part of a team.

As a Joiner, your tasks would normally include:

  • cutting and shaping timber for floorboards, fire doors, skirting boards and window frames
  • fitting cupboards and shelving, as well as door handles and locks
  • repairing damage around the hospital building

Useful skills include:

  • aptitude for practical work and repairs
  • attention to detail
  • good level of physical fitness
  • good maths skills for measuring
  • following technical plans and drawings
  • working accurately and meeting deadlines

Useful abilities include:

  • the ability to understand instructions
  • the ability to use hand tools and power tools

You can join NHSScotland to become a Joiner through a Modern Apprenticeship. See the section on Modern Apprenticeships below.

Another route is to apply for a role as a joiner with suitable qualification and experience. A typical qualification a joiner might have is an SQA SVQ Wood Occupations (Construction): Carpentry and Joinery – Level 3 (SCQF Level 5) or previous experience as a Joiner.

Modern Apprenticeships offer those aged over 16 paid employment with the opportunity to train for jobs at craft, technician and management level. 

Modern Apprenticeships in Construction: Building Level 2 and Level 3 (SCQF 5 and SCQF 6) are frameworks for people interested in working as a joiner or carpenter. Find out more about these Modern Apprenticeships on the Skills Development Scotland (SDS) website:

Healthcare Support (Non-clinical) at SCQF Level 6 and SCQF Level 7 is another framework for people interested in working in a healthcare setting in a non-clinical support role. For more information about this Modern Apprenticeship framework, look at:

You will be helped and encouraged to develop your career in NHSScotland. 

Once employed, NHSScotland encourages staff to study Scottish Vocational Qualifications (SVQs). You may have the opportunity to study for additional qualifications, such as: 

Visit the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA)  website to find out more about the full range of qualifications for to people working in or seeking to work in the NHS in Scotland.

Career pathways

Gaining new qualifications will help your career prospects, leading to more senior roles with a greater level of responsibility.

With further experience and qualifications you could progress to a role, such as a Higher Technician, Trades Supervisor or Estates Officer.

Learn more about the NHSScotland Estates and Facilities career pathways.

Once qualified, Joiners are able to join these organisations:

Construction Industry Training Board (CITB)

The CITB works with employers to encourage training and improve skills within the workforce to ensure the construction sector has the skills to meet its clients’ needs and future challenges. Find out more on the CITB website.

The Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB)

CIOB is a professional body for construction management and leadership. It accredits educational courses and training to raise standards of construction management around the world. Find out more on the CIOB website.