Week 2 (Jan) – Carpenter


Salary Range:  £16,000 – £40,000 per year

Carpenters work with all things wood and can be involved in projects that sculpt and manipulate wood to create magnificent wooden structures to the more day-to-day tasks of laying floor boards or fitting door frames.  Your place of work could be anything from a building site to a timber frame in the local park.

Depending on where you work, your day-to-day tasks may include:

  • discussing plans and following instructions
  • cutting and shaping timber for floorboards, doors, skirting boards and window frames
  • making and fitting wooden structures like staircases, door frames, roof timbers and partition walls
  • making and assembling fitted and free-standing furniture
  • installing kitchens, cupboards and shelving
  • building temporary wooden supports to hold setting concrete in place (shuttering)
  • making and fitting interiors in shops, bars, restaurants, offices and public buildings
  • constructing stage sets for theatre, film and TV productions

Work Patterns

You’ll usually work 39 to 45 hours a week, Monday to Friday. You may need to work some weekends or evenings to meet construction deadlines.

This is a physically active job. You could work outdoors in all weathers, up ladders and on scaffolding or roofs. You could also work indoors where conditions could be dusty or cramped. You’ll use protective equipment and clothing on all jobs.

Career and Progression

With experience, you could become a team leader or project manager.

You could also move into construction estimating and contracts management, or specialise in areas like stage sets.

You could also start your own business or move into training.

Further Links

How to become a carpenter

Apprenticeship Advice




Week 1 (Jan) – Dentist



Starter: £36,000 and £45,750 (NHS dental trainee)

Experienced: £38,500 and £82,500 (NHS salaried dentist)

Highly Experienced: up to £102,500 (NHS consultant)

Most dentists are self-employed and work as general dental practitioners (GDPs) providing dental care to the public. You could do this work privately or for the NHS, or both.

You’ll keep records for each patient. You’ll tell them how to care for their teeth and provide treatment for any problems that occur. Your services might include:

  • dental treatments like fillings, extractions and fitting dentures and bridges
  • teeth whitening
  • taking X-rays and giving local anaesthetics
  • referring patients to a dental hygienist or dental therapist

If you’re running your own practice, you’ll be responsible for the day-to-day management of the business and dental team.

As well as general dental practice, you could also work in:

  • the community dental service (CDS) – providing treatment to people with special needs, young children and the elderly
  • hospitals – carrying out specialised dental work, such as restorative dentistry, orthodontics and oral surgery
  • dental public health – improving the dental health of your local area, rather than treating individuals
  • the armed forces – providing dental treatment for services personnel, including those in combat zones

You’ll use a range of dental and surgical techniques and instruments. In a hospital you’ll carry out some procedures in an operating theatre.

You’ll work with other dentists, NHS professionals, government departments and related agencies.


GCSEs @ A/B including Biology, Chemistry, English and Maths

A Levels including Biology, Chemistry, Maths and some cases Physics (having the 4 makes you eligible for most UK Dentistry courses)

Dental University course (5 years)

Work Patterns

9.00 am – 5.00 pm in general practice with the need to do some later nights or weekend surgeries.

Shiftwork (including weekends and nights) is the normal working pattern in a hospital.

Career Progression

As a dentist in general practice you could go on to become a partner in the practice or set up your own practice.

If you’re working in the hospital dental service, you’ll be able to follow the same career structure and training pathway as a hospital doctor.

As a consultant, you’ll often find work opportunities in the private sector.

With experience, you could lead a team, or manage a unit or department.

You could also progress to teaching and training students, trainee dentists and other healthcare professionals.

Further Information

British Dental Association

Oral Health Foundation

UCAS – options after GCSE


Retail Buyer – Week 14 (Dec)

Retail buyer

Salary Range:  £18,000 – £70,000 per year

You will definitely need a degree to do this job and it would give you an advantage if the degree was in Retail or Business.

Working for a high street retailer, online business or mail order company you will be responsible for getting the goods into your business that customers will want to buy.  You may be the one to spot that next big trend at Christmas, remember Furby or Hatchimals!  You will specialise in one area such as fashion, cosmetics or electronics and be responsible for seeking out those goods.

Your day-to-day tasks may include:

  • analysing and forecasting trends from consumer data
  • attending trade fairs to find new products
  • managing product quality and getting customer feedback
  • negotiating prices, orders and delivery dates
  • presenting collections to senior managers
  • tracking sales figures, managing stock levels and keeping to budgets
  • checking and reacting to competitor activities
  • adapting quickly to changing consumer behaviour

Working hours, patterns and environment

You’ll usually work 35 to 40 hours, Monday to Friday, although tight deadlines can often mean working late.

You’ll spend most of your time in an office, usually the head office of your organisation. You may go out to visit stores or spend time away to meet suppliers and attend trade fairs in the UK and abroad

Career path and progression

With experience and training you could become a senior buyer, buying controller or head of buying. You could also move into product management, marketing or merchandising

Further links

Job Description

Total Jobs

UCLAN’s Retail Qualification



Gas Service Technician – Week 13 (Dec)

gas engineer

Salary Range:  £12,000 – £38,000

A Gas Service Technician works mainly in domestic and serviced properties e.g. people’s homes, shops or libraries to install and maintain the gas appliances within the property. This can include checking things like central heating every year or installing new pipework and appliances where previously there hasn’t been a gas supply.

To fully qualify as a gas service technician you’ll need:

  • a recognised gas industry Level 3 qualification
  • Gas Safe registration (used to be called CORGI registration)

To get Gas Safe registration, you’ll need a qualification that covers the safety requirements for the type of appliances you want to work on, for example boilers. If your qualification doesn’t cover all the safety requirements, then you could get your skills and knowledge assessed through the Accredited Certification Scheme (ACS).

Your day-to-day duties might include:

  • installing appliances and systems
  • carrying out planned maintenance checks on systems and equipment
  • testing controls and safety devices to make sure they’re working properly
  • finding and repairing gas leaks using computerised fault-finding equipment
  • replacing or repairing faulty or old parts
  • ordering new parts
  • keeping records of work you’ve carried out
  • giving customers advice about gas safety and energy efficiency

You’ll also give customers quotes for jobs, sell additional company services and deal with complaints.

Working hours, patterns and environment

You’ll usually work 8am to 5pm, Monday to Friday, and you may have to work on a rota if your employer offers 24-hour emergency cover.

You’ll work in customers’ homes or premises.

You’ll usually need a driving licence but your employer will supply a van and equipment.

The job can be physically demanding and may involve working in small, cramped spaces or at height.

Career path and progression

With experience, you could move into gas engineering, or supervisory and management roles.

Further links


British Gas

Surgeon – Week 12 (Dec)


Salary Range:  £36,350 to £102,500

If you watch a lot of Holby City or Casualty you may have certain ideas about what a surgeon does.  In reality it is no where near as exciting.  A surgeon does operate on people and perform complex medical procedures but they also:

  • Go on wards rounds to see their patients
  • Run outpatient clinics, meeting patients to discuss treatment options or recovery.
  • Complete tests to check a patients health
  • Complete a LOT of paper work, keep accurate records of surgery.
  • Liaise with other doctors
  • Teaching, surgery is a specialist skill so every surgeon has to teach the next generation.

What type of surgeon could you be?

  • General Surgery – emergency situations and abdominal
  • Cardio thoracic – heart and lungs
  • Neurosurgery – brain, central nervous system and spinal chord
  • Otorhinolaryngology – ear, throat and nose
  • Paediatric – children
  • Plastic surgery – reconstructive
  • Trauma and orthopedic – bones and joints
  • Urology – kidneys, bladder and prostate
  • Oral and maxillofacial surgery – face and mouth
  • Vascular – veins and arteries.

Working hours and patterns

You’ll work long hours including nights and weekends. You’ll also be part of an out-of-hours rota system.

You’ll spend time in a variety of settings such as consulting rooms, wards, operating theatres and special units like accident and emergency

Further information

Medic Maverics for all things medical

General Medical Council


RSPCA Inspector – Week 11 (Nov)

RSPCA Inspector

Salary Range:  £19,250 – £30,000 per year.  An RSPCA Inspectors sole aim is to ensure the well being of all animals.  Duties will range from advising pet owners about animal care to inspecting kennels and breeding facilities to rescuing injured wild animals.

You will need to be able to handle animals confidently and sometimes may find yourself in confrontational situations.

Your day-to-day tasks may include:

  • advising owners on proper care and issuing warnings
  • rescuing animals and arranging medical treatment
  • putting animals down humanely
  • taking a case to court
  • inspecting kennels, pet shops and agricultural shows
  • working with local authorities to rescue injured deer or foxes
  • writing reports
  • giving talks to educate the public

To rescue animals, you may need to climb cliffs or trees.

Working hours, patterns and environment

You’ll usually work 35 hours a week. You’ll work shifts including nights, weekends and bank holidays.

You’ll work indoors and outdoors in all weathers.

Career path and progression

With experience, you could progress to chief inspector then regional superintendent.

You could move into management or training roles at the RSPCA headquarters.

Links to find out more

Becoming an RSPCA Inspector

RSPCA Career Profile


Signwriter – Week 10 (Nov)


Salary range:  £18,000 to £25,000.  Signwriters produce hand-painted signs for places like historic buildings, fairgrounds, shops and pubs.

Working hours, patterns and environment

You’ll usually work 35 to 40 hours a week, Monday to Friday. You may work evenings and weekends in some jobs.

You’ll be based in a workshop or studio, but may also do installation and repainting outdoors.

You may need to work at height and do some manual lifting.

Career path and progression

You could move into work for TV, film and theatre to design sets and props.

You could also combine this job with signmaking.

Jobs closely linked to this type of work include: Graphic Designer, Signmaker, Fine Artist and Pre-press Operator.
Entry into this career is normally via an apprenticeship.  Courses like IT and Digital Media will give you a good foundation to progress to this career.
Further information can be found at:
Signwriter career
Signwriter course