Selkirk College Set to Welcome Students into New Carpentry Shop
There has never been a better time for learners looking at opportunities in trades training at Selkirk College. The $22 million Silver King Campus refresh is almost complete and starting in August students in the Carpentry Foundation cohort will have the chance to step into a brand new shop.
Students cutting their educational teeth in Selkirk College’s Carpentry Foundation Program will be the first to christen the newest Silver King Campus shop with sawdust.
Nelson’s Silver King Campus has been undergoing a major refresh over the last two years to get the aging shops up to today’s educational standards. Last summer, the newly renovated shops for Welding, Metal Fabricator, Millwright/Machinist and Plant Operator programs opened, followed by the renovated shop spaces for the Heavy Mechanical and Electrical shops. This fall, the new Carpentry Building will open its doors to students and faculty.
“This new shop is as good as it gets,” says Dan Brazeau, the instructor who guides Carpentry Foundation students through the 24-week program. “It will make the shop experience safer and the work process move along more smoothly, which in turn makes the learning and teaching experience better.”
Funded by the federal and provincial governments with additional dollars from Columbia Basin Trust and industry partners, the $22 million Silver King Campus refresh is primarily focused on renovating the aging shops that have been turning out the future of trades since it opened as the B.C. Vocational School in 1964. The only two new buildings included in the project are the Student Commons Building and Carpentry Building, the last two pieces to be completed.
Space to Learn and Thrive
Carpentry students in both the Foundation and Apprenticeship streams are currently crammed into a small 2,800 square foot shop space in the back corner of the Silver King Campus. With small individual work bench spaces and not enough room for all the equipment in the main shop, instructors found teaching the curriculum challenging. That will all change when the doors open on the 4,600 square foot new shop.
“It will make it easier for the students which makes our lives easier as instructors,” says Brazeau, who was consulted along with other instructors about what the new shop spaces should look like. “With the increased space and no columns on the shop floor, students will be able to use the tools and benches to their full potential.”
The next Carpentry Foundation intake begins on August 7 with the shops expected to be ready for the arrival of the new cohort of students. The entry level program engages students in a variety of classroom and shop activities. Theoretical principles of construction are learned in the classroom, while the majority of the time is spent in the shop where students learn and gain mastery of practical carpentry skills. Upon completion of the program that finishes at the end of January 2019, students will have practical in-shop training and 450 work-based hours towards their Red Seal apprenticeship process.
Ongoing Provincial Government funding has ensured that the equipment in all Selkirk College shops is up to current training standards, but the new shops have enabled the education to reach a new level of excellence. The new Carpentry shop will have high ceilings, proper storage for equipment, excellent dust collection, a warm environment and all the latest amenities to help students achieve their goals.
“It’s exciting,” says Brazeau, who has taught at Selkirk College for the last six years. “We have watched the process move along for the last few months and it will feel good to finally move into the shop this fall.”