By Stu Rhodes –
As the construction of the Saanich Carpentry program’s tiny house draws to a close, it’s generating a lot of interest and excitement. Excitement about the project may only be eclipsed by the accomplishments of the students in this unique program.
Over the past five months students spent three days per week engaged in comprehensive technical training at Saanichton Individual Learning Centre (ILC) where they put theory into practise as they constructed a tiny house as their class project. During the other two days students participated in a “transition to work” activity where they spent time working with local construction contractors. Most of these placements have now evolved into apprenticeships. Almost every student has now been signed as a youth apprentice with their respective employers through a program sponsored by Industry Training Authority and known as Youth Work In Trades. The only exceptions to this are students who have now decided to explore career pathways in other trade sectors (welding and auto service).
Gavin England described his participation in the program and building the tiny house as “… an awesome experience!” He had lots of good things to say. “Building the tiny house really helped us realize how much one trade impacts another when working on a project. We got to do a lot of different stuff. When it came to the carpentry part, I really liked that we got to frame a gable roof on one end and a hip roof on the other.” When asked what sort of a life impact this program has had on him, Gavin was clearly able to articulate a pathway that includes participating in a Level One Carpentry class this summer as an immediate goal, getting his Red Seal next, and long term includes ultimately joining forces with his interior designer sister to form their own construction company.
Five graduates from this year’s cohort are going to head directly to Camosun College at the beginning of July for Level One technical training in carpentry. Upon completion they will return to school to wrap up grad requirements or transition directly into full-time employment as apprentices with their respective employers.
Cool programs like this don’t just happen by accident. It takes a lot of planning and collaboration with a wide range of partners. Saanich School District and the carpentry students are particularly grateful to the numerous employers who stepped up to provide work placements for the students. The Construction Foundation of BC was instrumental in providing seed funding to get the project off the ground, and other key donors included the Home Depot Foundation and Parker-Johnston Roofing.
The tiny house gets lots of “looky-loos” at the ILC campus and really generated some interest at the Tiny Home Show hosted at the Saanich Historical Artifacts Society grounds on May 11. Curiosity intensified at the reveal party on June 20 when the finished product was unveiled. The tiny house is now at lock-up stage with all doors, windows, roofing and exterior cladding complete. It’s ready for interior customization by its new owner. It sits upon a heavy-duty, 14,000 lb GVW trailer; ready to roll. What would it take to make this tiny house into your new home? Make a $27,000 contribution to the Saanich Carpentry program, hitch it up to your truck, and drive it away! The house is tiny, but it made a gigantic impact on the students who built it!