Apprenticeship courses: Woodworking


  • 1st year (full-time foundation course)
  • 2nd and 3rd year: day-release system

The first year of becoming a woodworker/joiner 

The BGJ Holztechnik (1st year course woodworking) is a full-time foundation course at Eckener-College Flensburg.

Educational content

Nowadays woodworkers do not only work with solid wood or wood-based materials. They alsp process materials like plastics, metal and glass. During hands-on lessons you learn how to deal with these materials though solid wood will stay in main focus. Using hand tools (like planes, chisels, saws etc) you are going to learn about traditional and modern joints, making items of daily use and furniture. Because of technological changes in this field you will also get to know the basics of CNC manufacturing. Your computer literacy will be refreshed or expanded and you will acquire basic knowledge in computer aided design (CAD). 

The 1st year is divided into 4 learning fields; they are connected to each other. 

(as in 2022, both terms)

learning field (technology)    4   /   4
learning field (maths)     2  /  2
learning field (drawing)     2  /   2
learning field (specialisation) 2  /   2
CAD 0   /  2
communication  2   /  2
social studies         2  /   2
Englisch / IT       2  /   2
PE       2  /   0
Religion                     0   /   2
Practical training    18 / 18

Total:       36 / 38

Professional qualifications
The BGJ course is acknowledged as 1st year of the apprenticeship of becoming a joiner/cabinetmaker. 

Students who haven't passed the school leaving exams in a school successfully, can under certain circumstances gain this degree at the end of the 3 years at Eckener College.

Application for BGJ
You can apply after completing compulsory education. It is required to have an agreement with a local joiner who commits himself/herself to train you after BGJ.

The application form has to be turned in by May 31.

College-based training

During the 1st year at college lessons will be full-time. After that it will switch to "dual system", i.e. the students/apprentices work at their joiners workshop and go to college once a week. At the workshop they learn the required skills of a joiner and at college they learn the corresponding theoretical know-how. 

Following rooms are provided at college

  • 2 class rooms
  • 3 workshop rooms
  • spraying room
  • wood storage room
  • technical laboratory

The competence in CAD and CNC which has been acquired in BGJ will be deepened.
During the 3rd year of training you will have the chance to acquire a certificate in "CNC based wood-processing" 
At the end of the 2nd year there will be a mid-term exam. The final exam will be at the end of the 3rd year, where the apprentices will build a journeyman's piece and write a theoretical exam.

Possible further education during apprenticeship:

  • 1st Degree of General Education
  • O-Level
  • entrance qualification university of applied sciences

The BGJ experience - a student's view

If you start the BGJ you should know that the first year always brings some advantages and disadvantages. For us the advantages definitely outweigh the disadvantages but it’s important to show both sides of the BGJ.

The BGJ is a good opportunity to get to know the theoretical and practical sides of a profession. During this year, you have to invest a lot of time to learn things. Due to the equal distribution of theory and practice in the timetable, you can apply the learned knowledge directly in practice.

You should know that the lessons are not always like your job in reality, so you don’t get to know the “real work life “. This could be hard for you in the second year because when you start in the company it could be possible that you don’t enjoy the work because it’s not the same as in college.

A major negative aspect is the lack of payment. Even the teaching materials are not provided by the school and you have to pay for them yourself. So if you really want to do it, you should keep in mind that you may need a side job. Many of my class have to work on the side, in either the companies or somewhere else. This could lead to problems in everyday life, as you have little free time.

Nevertheless, you have a lot of fun in the BGJ and get to know your classmates and the other joiner apprentices in your region.

Overall, you get to know the traditional ways of woodworking and working with other materials and you get a broad view on all subject areas of the job.