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Source of Information: Next Step / DirectGov / Careers Advice Service


The Work

As a shopfitter you would make and install the woodwork or metalwork for shops, banks, offices, restaurants and bars. You would build and refurbish shopfronts, doorways and fixtures.

On most jobs you would work closely with other tradespeople such as tilers, electricians and plumbers. Your duties could include:

  • marking out and cutting wood, metals, glass and plastics to make units and fittings in a workshop
  • estimating material quantities and costs, and preparing tenders and quotes for jobs
  • preparing design plans for a contract
  • measuring and setting out jobs on site, and installing the fixtures and fittings.

As an experienced shopfitter, you might work as a workshop manager or site supervisor, making sure that your team's work meets quality standards.

Hours and Environment

You would normally work around 40 hours a week, with overtime often available. In some cases, you may have to work through the night, where the work needs to be done with minimal disruption to a client's business.

You would spend most of your time indoors, in a construction workshop or on site. You may need to wear protective clothing like safety footwear, goggles and ear defenders.

Overnight stays away from home may be necessary on some contracts.

Skills and Interests

  • good practical skills for using tools
  • the ability to work quickly and pay close attention to detail
  • good maths skills to take measurements and work out amounts
  • the ability to follow technical drawings, plans and written or spoken instructions
  • an awareness of health and safety
  • a reasonable level of fitness
  • good teamworking skills
  • draughting and IT skills for designing or estimating work
  • a commitment to keep up to date with Building Regulations.


To work as a shopfitter you normally need a background in one of the construction trades, for example carpentry and joinery. For more details about entry requirements for specific trades, see the job profiles for Carpenter/Joiner, Wood Machinist, Tiler and Plasterer.

You may be able to get into this career through an apprenticeship with a shopfitting or building company. The range of Apprenticeships available in your area will depend on the local jobs market and the types of skills employers need from their workers. For more information on Apprenticeships, visit

To get on to an apprenticeship scheme, you may need GCSEs in subjects like maths, English and design and technology, or equivalent qualifications.

Alternatively, you could take a general construction course to learn some of the skills needed. However, employers may still want to see some work experience. Relevant courses include:

  • BTEC Introductory Certificate/Diploma in Construction
  • BTEC Diploma in Construction and the Built Environment
  • City & Guilds Basic Skills in Construction (6217)
  • Intermediate/Advanced Construction Award.

For more details about shopfitting training and qualifications, visit the websites for ConstructionSkills and the National Association of Shopfitters (NAS). The Know Your Place campaign aims to promote the construction trades as a career choice for women.


Once you start working, you would normally train on the job. Your employer may encourage you to work towards the NVQ in Wood Occupations (Shopfitting Bench Work or Shopfitting Sitework) at levels 2 and 3.

The Shopfitting Independent Training Forum offers specialised training, including contract law, estimating and site management. You can find more details through the Training section of the NAS website.

Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS)
Many building contractors now insist that you have a CSCS card to work on their sites. The card is proof of your skills and competence. To get your card you must:

  • pass a health and safety assessment
  • have a relevant NVQ or equivalent qualification.

If you are working without qualifications, you may be able to use On-Site Assessment and Training (OSAT) or Experienced Worker Practical Assessment (EWPA) to get your NVQ and card. Contact CSCS or SkillsDirect for further details.


You would usually find work with specialist shopfitting companies. You should check the local press and Jobcentre Plus for vacancies, or contact shopfitting companies directly. You can find a list of them on the NAS website.

With experience, you could move into supervisory roles, such as chargehand or foreperson and, with further training, works manager, contracts manager or shopfitting designer.

With the right experience and contacts, you may be able to set up your own shopfitting business.

You may find the following useful for job vacancies and general reading: (links open in a new window)

Construction Jobs Network
Directgov (Jobseekers page)

We do not accept responsibility for the content of external sites.

Annual Income

  • Starting salaries can be from 13,500 to 16,000 a year.
  • Experienced shopfitters can earn between 17,000 and 22,000.
  • With supervisory responsibilities, this could rise to around 30,000 a year.

Figures are intended as a guideline only.

Further information

If you would like to discuss your career options with a learning advisor at the Careers Advice Service advice line, call 0800 100 900 or use our online enquiry form.


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