Retraining and potential apprenticeships at 30, in Joinery/ Cabinet fitting?

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  • Retraining and potential apprenticeships at 30, in Joinery/ Cabinet fitting?
  • deadlydarcy
    Member

    Things are on the up at the moment, and folk are shelling out a lot of money on kitchens, floors ( 😀 ), etc. again. Sooo…whaddya fancy? Kitchens…that kind of thing?

    I’d have thought a kitchen fitting company would value somebody mature and committed, more than somebody cheapy cheap. They really depend on people turning up to site on time, all the time, being mature with customers, being tidy, not hungover on the job etc. You will have to prepare to have a few years not earning much. But keep your head down, get a reputation for doing things right first time, being the guy who never seems to have a snag-list as long as the boss’s arm on every job. Make contacts. Keep contacts, then maybe think about going for it on your own once you’ve got a few years. Oh, and keep your head down.

    Honestly, 31 is still young these days…I was that age when I got mrs deadly to print me up some business cards and dropped them into laminate flooring selling shitholes. It was a tough couple of years throwing down shit for not great money. But eventually, you make your own “luck” and things will work out.

    Go for it. And, btw, keep your head down. 🙂

    IanW
    Member

    I have absolutely no idea about training for those skills but I do know you have hardly got started at 30 and have chance for 3 or 4 careers yet.

    bensales
    Member

    Sounds to me like you’re a prime candidate for starting your own business.

    psychobiker
    Member

    I did exactly this, worked in engineering since school, but had become bored/disillusioned with it. At the time was doing up the house and found I enjoyed woodworking. Wife suggested I try college to learn how to do it properly. Ended up on a three year course in the evenings, found I really enjoyed bench work so concentrated on that. 6 months before the course finished got made redundant and local company took me on in the joineey shop based on my college tutors reference. They allowed me to do all of my work based evidense and therefore gained an nvqii in bench joinery. Have now been employed at the same place for the past 12 years and love it.

    Thanks

    Marcel.

    tacopowell
    Member

    I left school at 16, spending the following two years gaining NVQ’s in Cabinet making,
    At the time I was more interested in getting wasted and staring at girls,
    I got my qualifications but never pursued a career in the area, Instead deciding that working at ToysRus would be more beneficial (Don’t),
    Ever since I’ve worked in different jobs, all non skilled, Photo lab, Printers and currently as a learning disability support worker,
    The latter I’ve been doing for around 4 years now and in that time I’ve seen massive changes in the care system,
    Changes based on budgets been slashed in almost all aspects of the job, Meaning it’s very hard to do my job in supporting people to fulfill their lives, there is also little to no prospects in this job.

    I’m 31 next month and I’m now fully aware that a misspent youth has had it’s toll on me but I’m extremely keen to make big changes in my life so that I can provide for potential family (12 months of trying).

    I have the natural ability to build things, Particularly using wood and although I’ve lost almost all the knowledge and techniques I learnt at college,
    I know I can still learn and still build things, Current project been a Dog shed using reclaimed pallet wood which is looking pretty good.

    A quick scan for local courses gives me this , thisandthis

    My question for anyone who works in the industry or anyone who has experience in been an apprentice as an adult is;

    Will my age work against me in finding a position/job or will my maturity, desire and commitment help in convincing potential employers I’m the man for the job?
    *edit
    another question I should ask, Is there even much work in the area?
    All well and good wanting an apprenticeship but if the industry is struggling than I’ve got no chance!

    I’m aware that many companies struggle to take on older folk due to the financial benefits of paying a 16 year old £3 an hour but surely it would pay to take someone on whom has maybe more long term potential?

    I’ve a day off on Wednesday and will pop into a couple of local cabinet makers/ kitchen fitters, simply to ask advice on my position.

    ski
    Member

    31 is young!

    Got a mate on his last year of training and he is 46 he had already had offers from kitchen firms looking for someone mature.

    Chance are you will not be the oldest on the course and by quite a margin.

    Go for it.

    Premier Icon kayak23
    Subscriber

    Hi Tacopowell.
    I am an instructor/technician on a C&G furniture making course at Warwickshire College in Leamington Spa(about an hour from Nottingham)
    From what you say, what we teach sounds ideal for you.
    You can choose from evening classes, 1,2 or 3 days a week, level 1,2 and 3 City & Guilds.

    We have a really diverse range of students, many of similar ages to you that have decided to branch out and change vocation.

    The courses you link to there look more on the carpentry side of things. We have carpentry at our college but our course is specifically Cabinetmaking/Furniture making.

    It’s a great course, I did it myself in 1995 before going on to study at degree level at Bucks College and graduating aged 28.

    If you’d like to chat to us about the courses then give us a call. We have students who travel similar distances.

    Here are a few videos to help see what we’re about.

    [video]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LIBcs_essqw[/video]

    [video]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gDuXeM8-BR8[/video]

    [video]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TJp-YP4R9yI[/video]

    Anyway, if you’re interested in discussing anything, we’re more than happy to help, and you are certainly not too old! 🙂
    Warwickshire College

    chambord
    Member

    What level qualifications are typically required to go on and find work? Would a level 2 NVQ be a minimum standard required by most employers? Or is it more down to experience?

    I’ve often wondered about doing similar myself (I’m 29) but I worry I’d struggle to find work afterwards.

    Edit: Sorry for slight thread hijack :/

    tinybits
    Member

    If you were somerset based, I’d jump at the chance if employing someone with skills, the right attitude and a willingness to learn. It would nt be minimum wage and woild include release to do the course as well.
    Can’t answer for up there, but bench joiners / cabinate makers aren’t common so tend to get decent work.

    bikebouy
    Member

    I’ve got a couple of mates who’ve done similar.

    One worked in IT and really hated it, binned it 6 years ago to train as a Sound Recordist (TV/Media?Radio) and picked up an agent right away and has been working flat out ever since, well paid too and has time off to spend with his wife/kid and rides his bike, so a sucess then.

    Another mate who worked in the city flat out bailed to go on a carpentry course for rustic carpentry, sort of bespoke renovations and repairs to thatched cottages and the like, built some trebuche’s and has been hacking the North/South Downs and Northumberland staying in his camper whilst on jobs. To say he’s a happy man is an understatement, never seen him soo bloody happy. Moneys a little tight he moans but then he was on a whack, but he chages £400 a day and folks seem happy to pay that.

    Note: both are self emoployed.

    tacopowell
    Member

    You will have to prepare to have a few years not earning much

    Currently earning a little over minimum wage so at least working in joinery I could be working towards a more comfortable wage unlike now where there is no light at the end of the tunnel!

    Oh, and keep your head down.

    I think I’m ready to be at that place now!

    chance for 3 or 4 careers yet.

    I’ve always wanted to be a UPS driver so I could drive around in those vans with an open door and shorts, Hope yet.

    Sounds to me like you’re a prime candidate for starting your own business.

    Tad premature? I lack the knowledge and confidence to do anything on my own! I certainly would like to in the future but I need to gain the experience of working with wood again.

    Have now been employed at the same place for the past 12 years and love it.

    Sounds good, How’s business doing recently? Has the company been taking on new people?
    What sort of things to build?

    Go for it.

    I’ve got that feeling!

    You can choose from evening classes, 1,2 or 3 days a week, level 1,2 and 3 City & Guilds.

    Evening classes would be ideal, Unfortunately your location isn’t,
    An hour and 19 minutes from door to door, Feasable for many people but I’ve just lost the car to the wife (whom works community based, across the east midlands).
    I believe the NVQ level 2 & 3 I gained over 10 years ago are City and Guilds.

    The courses you link to there look more on the carpentry side of things. We have carpentry at our college but our course is specifically Cabinetmaking/Furniture making.

    I’m certainly interested in going down the Bench Joinery route,
    Am I correct in thinking that not only can bench joiners earn more but there is more potential work out there for them over furniture makers?
    That said I certainly wouldn’t dismiss Furniture making.

    Kayak23, The workshop and course looks almost identical to the course I originally did, I only wish I applied myself at the time,
    I guess I enjoyed my youth but it’s hard to swallow, thinking where I could be now had I chosen more wisely!
    That said I can’t have regrets and I now have the clarity and knowledge to make more informed choices!

    Would a level 2 NVQ be a minimum standard required by most employers? Or is it more down to experience?

    Excellent question,
    I could potentially continue to work as a support worker while working full time at college but surely I could find an employer as a laborer?
    its whether or not a workshop environment could be as flexible with working hours as my support worker role could be,
    An apprenticeship with one or two days at college while gaining real workshop experience would be surely the best option?

    If you were somerset based, I’d jump at the chance if employing someone with skills, the right attitude and a willingness to learn.

    What level of skills are you talking? It’s over ten years since been in a workshop, how would you judge me to be a suitable candidate?

    Moneys a little tight he moans but then he was on a whack, but he chages £400 a day

    At £400 a day, I could never ever moan.

    tinybits
    Member

    What level of skills are you talking? It’s over ten years since been in a workshop, how would you judge me to be a suitable candidate?

    Skills wise I’d be looking for a couple of things, either papers (NVQ / apprenticeship) that was relatively recent, or a portfolio of work (take photo’s of everything!)
    Otherwise, I’d be looking at a relatively basic job in the production line, with the opportunity to move up rapidly as you either proved yourself, or increased your skill base.
    How do you convince me that you’re worth a go? Sell yourself, tell your interviewer that you’ve realised what you want, that you’re booked on a course that you are paying for and want to find work in the right area, but you’re prepared to work up the ladder
    A lot would depend on where you find a job, but at mine (despite employment threads that make everyone think I run a hell hole!), I try to look past what people are doing today, and concentrate on the future. Get the right people in through the door and train them as much as possible to create a good job for them, and obviously a more skilled / productive person for me. Ultimately, its a factory, so you wont find any £400/day people here, for that you have to be self employed, but my 100 or so guys are paid better than the local average and get god, safe conditions to work in. I’m proud of that.
    Sorry, a little off topic but happy to answer any more questions.

    tacopowell
    Member

    I’d be looking at a relatively basic job in the production line, with the opportunity to move up rapidly as you either proved yourself, or increased your skill base.

    Can I assume it would help my cause if I started an NVQ, funded by myself?
    If so, How flexible could you be to work around my college course?

    Whats your typical workshop hours?
    For example the local joinery course I looked at is only 2 days a week,
    Would you be able to provide 30+ hours on a basic production line job with shifts to fit around two weekdays at college?

    Sorry, a little off topic but happy to answer any more questions.

    Not at all, Great to have insight from a (Non) potential employer!

    Out of interest, how would you feel about someone like myself turning up to ask advice on my situation? i.e college, apprenticeship.
    Or would I be better to just get CV’s out there? with the self funded NVQ ball rolling for this September.

    tinybits
    Member

    Can I assume it would help my cause if I started an NVQ, funded by myself?

    Yes, absolutely. It shows that you’re serious about wanting to do it.

    If so, How flexible could you be to work around my college course?
    Whats your typical workshop hours?
    For example the local joinery course I looked at is only 2 days a week,
    Would you be able to provide 30+ hours on a basic production line job with shifts to fit around two weekdays at college?

    Well, we work 6-2, 2-12 Monday to Thursday and 6-2 Friday. Yes I’d offer 30 hours a week during term time as long as you fitted in normal hours during the holidays.

    Out of interest, how would you feel about someone like myself turning up to ask advice on my situation? i.e college, apprenticeship.

    I’d be fine with it. Taken aback at first admittedly, but as soon as I thought you were serious, I’d even make you a coffee as well.

    Or would I be better to just get CV’s out there? with the self funded NVQ ball rolling for this September.

    This also wouldn’t hurt, but if you have specific places in mind, talking up front may not seem to be working at the time but you will stay in the persons mind so when the cv lands on their desk, you’ll have a head start. Oh, and if you do get a contact, make sure that the application is address to them. Even if it’s ultimately someone else who makes the decision, you’ll have a head start.

    tacopowell
    Member

    So when do I start then???

    Oh yeah, where did you say you’re based?! 😉

    Seriously though thanks for the help, Massively appreciated!

    There’s an open day at the college tomorrow,
    Need to get my bearings on that front first before I draw up a CV.

    psychobiker
    Member

    Ive been at the same place for 12 years, we make luxury yachts in the under 80 foot market. I have been a bench joiner in alkl that time as stated above. The current boat im working on starts.at £500,000. Sometimes you just have to front it. And yes we are recruiting at the mo. The company belives it takes 6 months on the job to become proficient even for skilled people, raw recruits like I was are not prejudiced in their ways so apparantly learn quicker.

    Marcel

    psychobiker
    Member

    Tbh just thinking a bit further about it, college really was helpful in helping me on my journey. They were able to provide a valuable reference for the new job as well, which I think gave me a much better chance. I qualified 12 years ago and am still learning new things.

    Marcel.

    stumpy01
    Member

    psychobiker…..the yachts made in Oundle?

    psychobiker
    Member

    Yes them be the ones.

    Marcel.

    Premier Icon ourmaninthenorth
    Subscriber

    I am about to embark on a possible career change. Not quite that radical, but outside my comfort zone for sure.

    I have provided advice to three friends recently on job and career change, and have a 100% success rate. I asked each of the the question “What would you love to do?”.

    One has gone from IT project manager (and bored out of his mind) to a sort of general manager for a rapidly growing business. No two days are the same and he’s no longer bored!

    Another left HR to work in a legal team, realised she wasn’t happy. One conversation later and she’s back in HR and smiling.

    My v close friend has sacked being a private practice lawyer to take over his (retiring) father’s plumbing trade counter and kitchen design/supply business. Income has taken a dive, but he’s loving being master of his own destiny.

    So, as yourself, presented with the options you have: what would you love to do?

    chambord
    Member

    psychobiker,

    What did you do at college? An evening a week for 3 years? Were you doing a diploma, NVQ, or was it just a organised by the college?

    I only ask as I looked at NVQs but it looks like you have to be employed to actually do them (And most I’ve seen are 1-2 days a week at college).

    I’d quite like to do an evening course since it wont disrupt current life too much (Can’t just take 2 days off a week!)

    ourmaninthenorth – if I knew that I’d do it! I seem to have a new idea every day for what I’d love to do. Sometimes I think I’ll never be happy in work as I always see something greener on a different hill.

    stumpy01
    Member

    Hope u don’t mind me hijacking the thread. OP.

    psychobiker, what sort of qualification do you need to get a job there, then, in some kind of woodworking context.

    I keep thinking about doing some kind of woodwork course, but it would be quite a commitment as there are none near me and I’d have to do it part time.

    I live just North of Peterborough so would love to get a relatively local job, doing something like that.

    EDIT – sorry, crossed posts a bit with the one above…!

    psychobiker
    Member

    To answer the first set of questions. The I did 2 evenings a week for 3 years. The first year was to gain an NVQ I basic stuff. Years 2 and 3 were aimed towards specialising in areas, bench, site or shop fitting. Primarily as an NVQ II but as pointed out you need to be working for that so it was a Ica independant construction award I was working towards as I was working in engineering. 6 months before the end of my course I was notified of redundancy, so had time to job hunt etc.. College helped with references and my employer were desperate. This however gave me the opportunity to gain all of the work based accreditation required for the NVQ II. Although I still did the exam for the Ica just to gain it as another qualification.
    It is hard work doing that much college but of you enjoy it it doesnt seem like work. I had a few interviews for jobs, so guess companies are not scared of lack of experience, I believe they think we are worth the risk due to age and commitments (family). My daughter was 1 when I changed but it was worth the risk. I will never forget how scared I was on my first day, knowing I had to turn up and be a joiner. Work colleagues were a great help, on the whole noone wants to see someone fail. One of the first bits of advice I got was after I had made my first unit I asked one of the other guys to hsve a look at it to check it over. He Said No someone is paying over £250,000 for the boat would you be happy to spend that and have the unit on the boat. Needless to say it got binned and I learnt.

    As to the other question no my company are not held up on qualifications, there are many diffetent skills to boat building and they are quite good at suiting people to areas, although a sense of humour is a prerequisite.

    Marcel

    Sorry op for hijacking the thread.

    tacopowell
    Member

    Sorry op for hijacking the thread.

    Happy to hear your story!

    although a sense of humour is a prerequisite.

    My current job has sucked out any humour I had, I fear I may struggle in any new site/factory setting.

    Premier Icon woody21
    Subscriber

    Age shouldn’t make any difference, you might want to visit http://www.apprenticeships.org.uk

    tacopowell
    Member

    Just a little update from my original post,

    Went to college open day, spoke to the tutors (one of which taught me 13 years ago)
    Joinery NVQ has been put on back burner and they’re pushing the Carpentry qualification,
    My application for enrollment has been put forward.

    I’ve put application in for one or two positions in joinery, heading letters and CV’s going out to potential employers.

    If I don’t hear anything within the next week I have a supervision with management in my current support worker role, I will be honest about my current desires and hope that I can work out been flexiable around my college course which is two days a week while I continue to look for employment within joinery/carpentry.

    I’m genuinely making this happen for myself and it feels good but a tad scary too!

    fingers crossed and looking forward to a longer term future with more progression! 😀

    I’ve done very similar, I start as a Carpenter/Cabinet Maker a Week today.

    Dead excited,

    Good look and hope you get sorted. 🙂

    tacopowell
    Member

    What experience do you have Shep?
    and what did you do before?

    What experience do you have Shep?

    None professionally, enthusiastic diy,

    and what did you do before?

    I’ve worked in the bike/sports trade for 12 years. From shops to distribution.

    Its a career I’ve wanted to do for a long time. I’m lucky that where i Live (NR Thirsk, North Yorks) there are plenty of Cabinet Makers/Wood Carvers/Carpenters.

    I spent some time deciding what exactly I wanted to do, bespoke kitchens/dressers/tables etc. Then I wrote/emailed/knocked on doors of the business’s that fitted the bill.

    Most ignored me but a couple where happy to help. I managed to get a few good chats with owners of some of the Business’s which was excellent. The one that I really liked the most offered 2 days to come have a go and be sure if it was for me.

    I snapped their hands off, It was what I hoped. After the two days they offered a position where they would train me up. I took it.

    I’m 30 next year, have a mortgage and a lil lass. So it was a tough decision but all the better in the long run.

    stumpy01
    Member

    Good Luck with it tacopowell!

    I signed up for a woodworking course a couple of years ago at P’boro college after going to an open evening. Then got a phone call a few weeks later saying the course had been cancelled as there wasn’t enough interest and they weren’t gonna run it again….gutted!

    Hopefully yours goes a bit better!!

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