Wood Products Manufacturing
The wood products manufacturing industry produces furniture, cabinets, windows and doors, millwork, and housing and building components.
The industry uses raw materials supplied by the forest products industry. Harvested sustainably, Canada’s abundant forest resources ensure a continued source of materials for manufacturing wood products.
Technological advances have made it possible to create wood products from fast growing species and smaller trees, and to make more products with less waste from raw materials.
Working in Wood Products Manufacturing
The industry has work opportunities that range from entry-level to highly-skilled positions. The fast-paced growth and increasing sophistication of wood products manufacturing means an ever-increasing demand for trained craftspeople, technicians and manufacturing specialists.
Employers range from small shops to large manufacturing companies and include re-manufacturers, panel producers, kitchen cabinet and furniture manufacturers, architectural woodwork companies, and prefabricated home builders.
Salaries depend on the level of education and skills required for the position.
- Skilled tradespeople: cabinetmakers, woodworkers, custom sawyers, electricians, machinists, ironworkers, welders, painters
- Professional and technical experts: quality certification specialists, sawmill operations analysts
- Production workers: finishers, frame assemblers, technicians, machine operators, quality control supervisors.
- Operational managers: production managers, quality control managers
- Support employees: crane and forklift operators, heavy truck drivers, installers and labourers
- Administrative and sales support: this area includes occupations in sales, logistics, human resources, law and information technology.
Skills & Training
There are work opportunities for different levels of education.
Many high schools offer the WoodLINKS program, which provides training for entry-level work in the industry.
Not all of the many skilled occupations in the industry require apprenticeship training, although apprenticeships are available for cabinetmaking.
Community colleges and universities across the country provide training in areas such as wood properties, design, manufacturing, industrial engineering, business and marketing. Many provide opportunities to gain work experience. Programs range from one-year technical programs, to 2-3 year college diplomas and 4-5 year bachelor degrees.
On-the-job and further training opportunities are widely available and are often required to keep up with technological advances.