Work & Business

Tips For Teaching Woodworking Skills to an Apprentice

Tips For Teaching Woodworking Skills to an Apprentice
  • PublishedApril 14, 2023

In September 2013, legislation came into force that requires all young people in the UK to continue in education until the age of 18. For any individual who didn’t want to study for their A-Levels, this legislation also allowed apprenticeships and also a combination of employment and some form of part-time education. The Skills and Post-16 Education Act 2022 increased the role that the Institute for Apprenticeships and Training was given over the approval and regulation of qualifications. 

It is estimated that roughly 31.5% of those currently in apprenticeships are under the age of 19, proving that it is becoming an increasingly popular option. If you already have an apprentice or are looking to take on an apprentice, then here are some top tips to consider when teaching woodworking skills. 

Safety first 

One of the single most important things you can teach your apprentice is how to use each machine that they come into contact with safely. This means making sure that they understand all of the safety rules for each machine and take the appropriate safety measures, such as wearing safety goggles.

They should also understand the need for regular safety checks of the machinery in order to make sure there are no faults.

This applies whether your machinery is new or you have purchased refurbished woodworking machinery from a company like Calderbrook Woodworking Machinery. All machinery should be checked on a regular basis, and proper maintenance carried out. Safety should always be the number one priority, and you can never over stress this to your apprentice. 

Start at the beginning

If you have taken on an apprentice, then you haven’t done so because you have skills you want to share and pass on. This isn’t a race, however, so make sure that you start with the absolute basics first and don’t move on to anything else until your apprentice has mastered them fully.

This will allow you to teach skills at the right pace for your apprentice, and is less likely to see them feeling like the apprenticeship is not for them. 


Whilst this may not be a skill that is specific to woodworking, patience is an essential skill for many jobs and learning to be patient with their work is an important skill that all woodworking apprentices should learn at the very beginning of their apprenticeship.

It is understandable that your apprentice may want to be moving on to more complex work quickly, but if they do this too soon, then there is likely to be a failure.

Patience will allow them to perfect those all-important basics before they move on to the more complex. 

Allow creativity

It is important to allow some degree of creativity from your apprentice. Otherwise, there is also a chance that they will not find their apprenticeship challenging enough and may decide that it isn’t for them. Being creative will allow your apprentice to try a few things for themselves and see if they will work or not.

As long as they keep in mind all of the skills that they have already learnt and also remember how to use each piece of machinery safely, then this can be a very good way to explore their own potential as a follow-on exercise from learning the basics.

Remember, your apprentice will not be with you forever, you want them to take away positive memories of their apprenticeship, and maybe one day, they will find themselves passing on everything that they have learnt to an apprentice of their own. 

Looking for a woodworking apprenticeship in Devon? Try South Devon College.

Written By
Gesten Van Der Post

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