Joiners construct, erect, install, maintain, and repair structures, furniture, and fixtures made of wood, lightweight steel and other materials. Joiners perform similar tasks to carpenters with the slight difference being that joiners often join wood without the help of nails and carpenters use nails instead. Also, joiners often do the majority of their work in workshops, producing items such as cabinetry, furniture, window frames and stairs whereas a carpenter typically works on-site.

Similar to carpenters, joiners are expected to be able to work from blueprints and schematics, design furniture and fixture layouts, apply the right measurements, and pick the right materials in order to make sure they build, repair, or maintain the best structures and fixtures possible. A passion for detail and precision is essential when embarking on a fulfilling career as a joiner. 

  • Read and interpret blueprints, schematics and drawings to determine specifications and calculate requirements.
  • Build foundations, floor beams, subflooring, walls and roof systems.
  • Fit and install trim and finishing items such as doors, stairs, mouldings and hardware.
  • Oversee apprentices and other construction workers.
  • Prepare layouts with conformance to building codes and regulations.
  • You have good hand-eye coordination, manual dexterity, mathematical aptitude and good conceptual skills.
  • You enjoy working on fixtures, furniture, and finishings and generally contributing more refined carpentry skills to a project.
  • You enjoy being physically active and changing tasks
  • and projects.
  • You consider yourself an expert craftsman and like
  • working with your hands.
  • You enjoy working with innovative building materials
  • and construction technologies.


Careers in the B.C. shipbuilding & ship repair industry usually begin with an apprenticeship for Red Seal trades, or with a job directly at a shipyard. Many get their start in shipbuilding as a shipyard labourer prior to being accepted into an apprenticeship program.

Discuss possible career steps with your school counsellor, career counsellor, or a union hall representative and consider high school trades programs and post-secondary pre-apprenticeship programs as a great place to start learning about the trades. 

ACE-IT High School Program (cabinet maker)


Most apprenticeships require you to have a high school diploma and to complete a foundations certificate as a prerequisite prior to starting your apprenticeship. Check with available training providers to learn their specific eligibility requirements. 

There are different pathways you can take in order to become an joiner. In order to be eligible for industry certification as an joiner, you can complete a three to five-year apprenticeship program or you can apply a combination of over four years of practical work experience as an joiner, plus some high school, college or other industry courses.


Red Seal trade certification allows for movement between provinces.

The Interprovincial Standards Red Seal Program


Employer sponsored apprentices are selected and sponsored through an application process. Union sponsored apprentices are selected and sponsored through their trade union and can be recruited by employers based on the needs of a shipyard.


Apprentices can receive up to $4,000 in grants to pay tuition, travel, tools, or other expenses. If you are considering an apprenticeship, visit the Red Seal program for information on how to get started.