Exploring Inspirational Career Pathways: Clearwater Level 1 Carpentry Program – March 2024

Posted On Friday April 19, 2024
Carpentry Program 01
Chase Prest, Grade 12

Sheila Brown, District Trades and Transitions Coordinator

In the 2022-2027 District Strategic Plan, we aim to have every student explore career pathways that enable them to understand who they are, their strengths, passions, and values to be lived through these pathways. When students engage these opportunities that inspire them, it is heartwarming and today’s story reflects that inspiration.

“I love this,” said Dominic, a Clearwater Secondary student, as he wrung out his work glove on this cold and blustery Monday in Clearwater. His instructor reminded him, “There’s no such thing as bad weather in the construction industry, only poor clothing choices.” 

“I recently had the pleasure of visiting the training house in Clearwater where 9 students from grades 11 and 12 and two community members are completing their Level 1 in Carpentry (Post-Secondary training) under the supervision of TRU Red Seal Instructor, Tim Kasten. “How are they doing it you ask?  Well, they are building a house from the foundation up. This program means students are not only able to complete post-secondary training while still in high school, but they are able to do it while living at home in their rural community. “

“As a Career education professional, when I read about the value of experiential learning I hear terms like active engagement, real world application, increased motivation, personal growth, critical thinking and problem solving. When I wandered the worksite and chatted with the students, they reiterated all these same benefits, but through their personal stories. Ethan told me, ‘Tim said he’ll only teach us stuff we’ll use.” Kalan told me that this opportunity “feels like a real job.’”

All the students are proud of their accomplishments collaboratively building the house, and they enjoyed seeing the real results each day. They are able to speak clearly of their career goals, the value of what they are learning, and make connections to their next steps. Students can reference the technical skills they are learning, and how they’ll apply them to future goals, but they can also talk about the soft, or transferable skills they are learning, and how valuable these are. While Kalan was telling me that some of the most important skills he will take from this program are communication and teamwork, he stopped mid-sentence and walked away. Without even knowing it, he has developed an awareness of the worksite around him as he saw a peer who needed help moving scaffolding so he jumped in to help. 

There are so many benefits to programs like the Carpentry Training house in Clearwater, and our students are the ones to benefit, helping them graduate and know who they want to become in the world beyond high school. They are directly immersed in a real-life, hands-on learning opportunity. Their active participation enhances their learning and increases their motivation. The students are pushed out of their comfort zone, fostering personal growth and development, and creating lasting memories of their high school experience. We couldn’t run programs like this without great community partners like Thompson Rivers University. 

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