Accessibility links

Carpentry & Joinery Level 1 Diploma at Reading College

Course description

​The Level 1 Diploma is an introductory qualification in carpentry and joinery for people who are interested in woodwork in the construction industry and have a practical nature. The course will enable you to build up a broad range of skills and knowledge in a range of construction and building-related services, especially skills in carpentry and joinery. You will learn through a combination of both practical and theory work learning in our construction workshops and machine woodworking workshops which are amongst the best in the south of England. You will gain a Level 1 Diploma in Carpentry and Joinery which is an ideal foundation for an apprenticeship in the industry and/or for progressing onto Level 2 courses in either site carpentry or bench joinery and onwards.

This course will qualify you to gain a Level 1 Diploma in Carpentry and Joinery and Functional Skills in Literacy Numeracy and ICT at Level 1. You will have the opportunity to learn in industry standard facilities with industry competent and experienced staff. Enrichment opportunities will let you learn beyond the normal day-to-day course activities. 

Examples of enrichment opportunities include a range of guest speakers from local businesses and small employers, demonstration events from tool manufacturers etc. Carpentry and joinery students enter SkillBuild construction skills competitions every year taking part in regional heats initially. Many students progress from this course to an apprenticeship or other employment in the industry. 

The college has good links with local employers and students will have support finding work within the construction industry. On the course you learn about Health and Safety and are put forward for the CSCS scheme which can help with finding employment.

Course content

You will learn the necessary skills to achieve a Level 1 Diploma in Carpentry and Joinery and will be given the chance to progess your studies. You will get to work on an exciting range of projects that develop practical skills and have been specifically designed to cover all elements that are needed to complete the course successfully. 

Elements that are an essential part of the course and in which you are expected to display a good practical and theoretical understanding are: 

  • Health and Safety in the construction industry - This is an essential part of any career in the construction industry and is therefore an integral part of all courses in construction. In addition to the main elements of this Level 1 course you will complete the industry recognised test in Health and Safety which will allow you to apply for the CSCS card which is fast becoming an essential requirement for working at many construction sites.
  • Communication and construction information - This element gives you a greater understanding of the other trades and professions involved in the industry and also a good working knowledge of working drawings, schedules and charts etc. that are used throughout the industry.
  • Building methods and construction technology - You will experience the various trades involved in the construction industry and be asked to demonstrate an understanding of the modern construction process from start to finish. This involves the opportunity for some practical experience of other trades.
  • Producing woodworking joints - You will learn the full range of woodworking joints and the various applications of these and when and where to use them. There is a strong emphasis on handskills within the department and these skills will be developed so that students will be able to demonstrate them to a high standard within the set projects and practical tests.
  • Use of carpentry handtools and portable power tools - With a strong emphasis on the Health and Safety aspects in using all woodworking tools you will experience the full range of both hand and portable power tools used in the construction industry. Various projects have been specifically designed to show students’ competence with all the tools. 

As part of the course you need to demonstrate specific literacy, numeracy and ICT skills alongside your main subject studies. These functional skills will help with your coursework and develop personal skills for life and work and are specifically tailored to fit in with the numeracy and literacy skills needed for the trade. You also receive tutorial support that will help with compiling CVs and in seeking and applying for appropriate work. Reading College has many local links in the industry and actively tries to help students with employment opportunities and Apprenticeships.

Entry requirements

Four GCSEs at grade D or above including Maths and English Language. You will have an interview with a practical aptitude test and online assessment to assess your suitability for the course.


The course takes place on two days a week. You will learn through a combination of theory and practical exercises and you will have access to well-equipped workshops and classrooms, good IT facilities and libraries. All this allows you to gain hands-on experience and lets you learn all the latest techniques and skills with the most up-to-date technology available. Teaching is delivered by trade competent staff whose approach is to demonstrate skills, explain the theory and then guide you to learn through practice and by asking questions. We teach in different ways developed for the different learning styles of individuals. Some tasks are carried out independently and some are team-based projects. The essential and suggested textbooks are available in the library but we recommend that you purchase your own copies. Online resources have been developed that help support learners and provide essential information for all courses. You will be assessed independently and individual learning plans are developed that are agreed by both you and your teachers. For each unit you will have a timed paper-based end test. At the end of the year you will have a summary practical test and an online knowledge test. Functional skills are assessed by online assessment.

Future opportunities

You could gain employment and start a Level 2 Apprenticeship studying for an NVQ Level 2 and a Level 2 Diploma in either Site Carpentry or Bench Joinery. Even without an apprenticeship you could go on to study the Level 2 Diploma in either trade.

How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact Reading College directly.

Last updated date: 12 September 2016
Provider logo

Key information


  • More information
    • BY RAIL

      Reading train station is a 20 minute walk from the College.

      Travelling from surrounding areas: there are direct lines from many local stations including: Didcot, Slough, Maidenhead, Wokingham, Basingstoke, Newbury, Pangbourne, Twyford and Earley.

      Travelling from London: there are regular trains from London Paddington to Reading taking 25-30 minutes.

      BY BUS

      There are regular bus services that stop along Kings Road:

      Reading Buses - routes 13, 14, 17
      Please Note: Reading buses require the exact fare.

      Arriva - routes 800, 850
      First Group - route 190
      Thames Travel - routes 126, 127

      In partnership with Reading Buses, students can get a weekly Travelcard at a reduced rate by showing the driver their student ID card.

      The Green Bus will be operating two new bus services from September 2014 for Reading College students.

      Service RC1 and RC2 will run once daily according to an agreed timetable on 175 days of each academic year connecting the college with Slough, Maidenhead and the areas in between.