Carpentry and Joinery Level 1/2/3

The Carpentry and Joinery Diploma is a three-year programme of study consisting of three qualifications.

The Level 1 Carpentry and Joinery  Diploma is designed to prepare people to enter the industry and will be completed in year one.

The Level 2 Site Carpentry Diploma is designed to develop the skills and knowledge of people, enabling them to work in industry in their chosen craft. This will be completed in year two. Architectural (Bench) Joinery can only be achieved at Level 2 and 3 through an apprenticeship. Career pathways may include working on new builds and refurbishments, with progression to a supervisory or technical support role.

The Level 3 Carpentry Diploma is a one-year programme of study for students who have successfully completed their carpentry level 2 qualification. The Carpentry Diploma Level 3 is designed to further develop the skills and knowledge of people in their chosen craft, and promotes a greater understanding of general construction principals and practices. This qualification also contains an element of using basic wood machines.

National Skills Level 3 Offer

From April 2021, the Lifetime Skills Guarantee gives adult learners (who will be studying for their first full Level 3 qualification) the opportunity to study a fully-funded course. It is part of the government’s National Skills Fund to help adults to gain the skills they need for employment, and to improve their job prospects.

Level 3 of this course offered at Colchester Institute is included in the Lifetime Skills Guarantee.

Do I have to pay a fee?

Level 3 will be free if you meet the eligibility criteria listed below. If these do not apply, you may need to pay a fee, and the fee is located further down the course information page. You can apply for a loan to cover all of your tuition fees.

As there is no direct entry onto Level 3 for this course you will need to enrol on a lower level to be able to progress to Level 3. Depending on your circumstances you may also be eligible for free training at Level 2 or below.

If you are aged over 19 and have studied this course at Level 2 with us previously (or at another training provider) and would like to enrol directly onto level 3 please contact our Admissions Department, where candidates will be assessed on an individual basis prior to application.

Level 3 of this course will be free:

  • If you are aged 19+ and enrolling on a full level 3 course and you do not already have a qualification at this level*.

* This means that you have not previously attained a full level 3 or equivalent (2 A Levels or 4 AS Levels, or QAA Access to Higher Education (HE) Diploma at level 3, or a level 3 Tech level or applied general qualification (e.g. BTEC)).

Applications for full-time courses have now closed.

If you have not yet made an application to study at Colchester Institute then you will need to book onto an Advice Session where you can speak to a course tutor post-results day.

Whilst we cannot guarantee that a place will be available on your preferred choice at this late stage in the application cycle, we will help to get you sorted for September.

Advice sessions are by appointment only and will be available to book from 10am on Thursday 12th August. As soon as bookings have opened, you will be able to use the appointment calendar to book an advice session. Information about our advice sessions and how to book can be accessed here:

Advice Session Information

What Will I Learn?

These Carpentry Diploma programmes have been specifically developed for delivery in a training environment using simulated conditions allowing you to develop your skills ready to enter industry as a site carpenter or bench joiner, and assessment is based on the student showing what they can do as an individual through the completion of all the requirements of the qualification. All the units of training must be completed by each student. All outcomes must be achieved during the training programme.

Practical sessions are combined with traditional classroom activities and computer-aided learning, these enable production of a portfolio of evidence. Students work towards passing end of unit tests, practical assessments set by the awarding body City & Guilds. You will also engage in activities to develop your English, maths and employability skills. A work skills and industrial formularisation activity will also be undertaken during the year.

Course Content

Carpentry and Joinery Diploma Level 1 – Course Content

  • Principles of Building Construction, Information and Communication
  • Maintain and use Carpentry and Joinery Hand Tools
  • Prepare and use Carpentry and Joinery Portable Power Tools
  • Produce Woodworking Joints
  • Health, Safety and Welfare in Construction

Practical activities include:

  • Producing Practice Joints
  • Frames and Joinery Products
  • Using a Selection of Hand and Power Tools

Level 2 (Site Carpentry) – Course Content

  • Health, Safety and Welfare in Construction
  • Principles of Building Construction, Information and Communication
  • Carry out First Fix Flooring and Roofing
  • Carry out First Fix Frames, Partitions and Stairs
  • Carry out Second Fixing Operations
  • Carry out Carpentry Maintenance
  • Set up and Operate a Circular Saw

Practical activities include:

  • Hanging Doors
  • Fitting Frames
  • Stairs
  • Joists
  • Rafters
  • Units
  • Ironmongery

Carpentry Level 3  units may include:

  • Health, Safety and Welfare in Construction
  • Carry out First Fix Flooring and Roofing
  • Carry out Second Fixing Operations
  • Principles of Organising, Planning and Pricing Construction Work
  • Carry out First Fix Roofing and Stairs
  • Carry out Second Fixing Double Doors and Mouldings
  • Set up and use Fixed and Transportable Machinery

The programme has been specifically developed for delivery in a training environment using simulated conditions. Assessment is based on the student showing what they can do as an individual through the completion of practical tasks and unit tests.

Entry Requirements

Level 1: 3 GCSEs (9-1), including English and Maths, and an interview.

Level 2: Entry on to Level 2 is subject to satisfactory completion of the Level 1 qualification and report from the progression board.

Level 3:  Satisfactory completion of the Diploma Level 2 and interview/progression board. Candidates must be deemed to have the potential and opportunity to successfully complete the Level 3 programme.

Career Opportunities

Level 1: Further vocational training and assessment leading to NVQ Level 2.

Level 2: Employment opportunities as a trainee carpenter/joiner. Further vocational training and assessment leading to a Carpentry or Joinery Diploma Level 3.

Level 3:

  • Employment opportunities as a site carpenter.
  • Diploma in site supervisory studies.
  • CIOB Certificate in Site Management.
How to make an Application – Watch our video guide!

We have also prepared a step-by-step video guide – please view this video which will guide you through the application process.

Carpentry and Joinery Level 1/2/3
LevelLevel 1
Level 2
Level 3
DurationThree Years
Year 1: Level 1
Year 2: Level 2
Year 3: Level 3
Study ModeFull-Time
CampusColchester Campus
Braintree Campus
Start DateSeptember 2021 - Applications open on 1st October 2020
Fee(s)16-18 year olds: Free
19+: Year 1: £1,483
19+: Year 2: £1,657
19+: Year 3: £1,840*
*This course will be free to any adult meeting the eligibility criteria under the Lifetime Skills Guarantee


All Fees and prices shown on this page are for courses starting in the 2021-22 academic year unless stated otherwise, and are correct at the time of entering/printing information, however these may be subject to change. The College cannot accept legal or financial liability as a result of any such changes.

The course information describes programmes offered by Colchester Institute. The College takes all reasonable steps to provide courses as described, but cannot guarantee provision. The information is for guidance and does not form any part of a contract.

The College reserves the right to update and amend information as and when necessary. Colchester Institute will do its best to provide the courses shown, but may have to modify or withdraw a course depending on customer demand and other factors.