Course Overview

Wood product manufacturing is at the engineering end of woodworking and forms a critical part of the emerging pre-manufactured solutions sector. It supplies products to the housing, commercial, public and building sectors.

A Wood Product Manufacturing Operative produces high volume, repetitive, engineered products from timber. Presenting a wide and varied specification for both external and interior applications, products such as roofing components, windows, doors, door-sets, staircases and other timber construction items including trussed rafters, spandrel panels, metal web beams, and I-beams. As well as utilising traditional materials, they use engineered and modified timbers to support product design and delivery, for example Accoya and Thermowood. They cut, layout and assemble materials, working to a specification. Depending on the product, they may install fixtures and fittings, apply finishes and add glazing systems. Wood Product Manufacturing Operatives typically work individually but can also form part of a larger production team and will report to the production supervisor/manager. Workplaces can be wide ranging from small workshops to large state of the art manufacturing facilities.

An employee in this occupation will be responsible for completing their own work to specification, with minimal supervision, ensuring they meet set deadlines. They are responsible for meeting quality requirements and working in accordance with health and safety and environmental considerations.

Typical job titles include:
• Machinist
• CNC (Computer Numerically Controlled) operative
• Finishing operative/sprayer and assembler

The Content

Wood Product Manufacturing Operatives will develop the following skills, knowledge and behaviours:

• Comply with health, safety and environmental requirements
• Identify risks and hazards in the workplace and apply appropriate control measures
• Comply with organisational and statutory environmental and sustainability considerations
• Communicate both verbally and written
• Plan work to undertake wood product manufacturing operations
• Read and interpret specifications, diagrams and work instructions
• Select the correct type and quantity of components and materials
• Prepare the work area before undertaking the work
• Identify faults and issues and apply solutions
• Pack and store products and components
• Select, set up and operate machinery, tools and equipment
• Prepare and operate Computer Numerically Controlled (CNC) equipment
• Use and maintain jigs and templates
• Position wood components and apply manual and mechanical cramps to ensure products are secured and in accordance with the work specification
• Assemble wood components to the work specification and given tolerances
• Sand materials and de-nib
• Apply adhesives to wood components
• Apply finishes to wood products
• Install fixtures and fittings to wood products
• Carry out glazing operations
• Check and inspect work to ensure it meets the work specification
• Report work outcomes and/or problems
• Complete the handover process to other manufacturing process functions/teams
• Complete work documentation

• Background and importance of the industry
• Commercial operations and how they contribute
• Manufacturing processes
• Types of customers and customer requirements
• Quality standards and product accreditation processes
• Health and safety
• Materials used to manufacture wood products and components
• Safe handling and storage of wood components, products and glazing systems
• Environmental and sustainability considerations and regulations
• Machines, equipment and tools used
• Principles and uses of Computer Numerically Controlled (CNC) machinery
• Work and product specifications
• Checking and clarifying work requirements
• Types of faults and errors
• Techniques for measuring and cutting
• Assembly methods
• Techniques for installing fixtures and fittings to wood products
• Different grit sizes and the sequence of sanding
• Different types of adhesives, and processes
• Techniques for applying specified finishes to components and products
• Requirements for glazing wood products
• Processes for handover to other manufacturing process functions
• Documentation requirements; written and verbal communication techniques

• Safety first attitude
• Adaptable, for example willing to accept changing priorities and working requirements
• Collaborates, for example works with others
• Pride in the workplace, for example organises work space efficiently and effectively
• Self-motivated, for example manages own time effectively
• Quality workmanship, for example works to agreed quality targets and standards

Functional Skills in English and Maths
Where a Wood Product Manufacturing Operative has not already achieved Level 2 English and Maths, they must do so before taking the End Point Assessment.

The Assessment

Learners will need to undertake an End Point Assessment which consists of the following 3 elements:
• Observation with questions
• Interview underpinned by portfolio of evidence
• Multiple choice test

Course Duration

Up to 24 months (ie a practical training period of up to 21 months, followed by an End Point Assessment (EPA) period of up to 3 months).


The wood product manufacturing operative role may be a gateway to further career opportunities, such as senior support roles or to further study.

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