Students of district's first construction trades class get the best hands on experience

The Construction Trades Sampler class, led by Troy Dakiniewich, G.P. Vanier Secondary Construction Teacher, recently accomplished a major build project in Royston under the guidance of master timber framers Randy Churchill and Martin Stutz. On June 6, after working steadily for seven days in May,  15 students of the class of 16 ​erected a new timber framed barbeque shelter.

The project was commissioned by the  Comox Valley Regional District. The CVRD completed a similar shelter at Joe Walker Park last year and wanted to have the Construction Trades Sampler students involved for this particular project.​

The new barbeque shelter replaces an older structure that collapsed, which had also been built by students in 1971. As a great piece of history, the plaque from the previous structure was re-attached to this new shelter to showcase the names of the original students.

For the Construction Trades Sampler class, this project represents two accomplishments. First, it reflects the strong relationship Comox Valley Schools shares with the community. Businesses and the local government are actively involved in education by giving these students the best possible trades training experience outside a classroom, and students, in return, actively contribute to their local community.

As a second significant accomplishment, this project was completed in the inaugural year of the program. This is the first year for the Construction Trades Sampler class has run. The class is made up entirely of grade 11 students with the exception of two grade 12 students who represent all three district high schools - three students from Mark R. Isfeld, three from Highland Secondary​ and 10 from Vanier.

This program works closely with the Industry Training Authority (ITA) to provide these students with a general overview of the construction trades. This year, the course curriculum covered carpentry, framing including hand cut rafters, electrical, plumbing, timber framing, and drywall. Students also complete a Trades Math course as part of the program. Thee Students actually started their year without any chairs and were required to construct their own using 2 x 4s and screws.

The curriculum also included several field trips out in the industry including the Port Alberni paper mill, visits to North Island College, Muchlat​ Construction and Nelson Roofing; and tours of major construction projects in the local region including the mall renovations in Comox and a new sub-division in Cumberland. The students have also been completing work experience once a week in the community with local contractors where they receive `real world' experience in the trades which will better equip them to walk onto a job site and obtain summer employment that pays better than minimum wage. 

"I'm pretty darn proud of my students on this one," expressed Dakiniewich. "It was a great experience for all involved and the students now have a legacy that will outlive them in the community they were raised in.  This shelter should be there long enough for their grand-children to bring their kids to it!"

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