A carpentry program with extra supports for Indigenous students underway in Penticton, B.C.
The residential construction industry is thriving in the South Okanagan, and a carpentry program with extra support for Indigenous students is underway in Penticton to help ensure a needed supply of skilled tradespeople.
In addition to addressing the industry demand for carpenters, the program will support important skills development for the community. The class – that started this month – will be working with Greyback Construction to build a home at Skaha Hills, is among the many K’ul Group projects underway to support economic development of the Penticton Indian Band.
“We are excited to see the program back in Penticton, it is a great program and provides a unique opportunity to work with our community partners to continue building capacity in a dynamic and growing economic sector,” said Eric Corneau, Regional Dean South Okanagan.
Noah Bower completed the Carpenter Foundation program last year in Penticton, starting the program at age 17. He said he was always drawn to the diverse work in the field.
“When I was in high school, I did a bit of electrician training, but found that you did the same thing over and over and over. It was repetitive. But with carpentry, you’re doing different stuff like pouring concrete, laying out staircases and putting up walls. It’s fun and something different every day,” he said.
As part of his program, Bower was able to obtain job site experience working on a house at Skaha Hills, which solidified his career path.
“It taught me a lot about carpentry and that I really like the work,” he said, adding that working with other professionals gave him a glimpse of what life after school would be like. “It showed me what to expect out of this industry.”
Bower, a member of the Osoyoos Indian Band, is confident in his career prospects. He is currently taking a two-week course to learn how to handle heavy mechanical equipment on the job site, diversifying his skills.
“I want to get all my trades tickets: electrician, plumbing and welding. I’d like to become a master of all trades and start a company that does it all, so you don’t have to call other companies for one project,” said Bower. “When you’re building a house, you have to call different trades, but I think it would be great to have one company that offered everything. I should be able to accomplish that with the help of my band.”