Carpenter Apprentice Has Big Dreams of Tiny Homes

Meet Nikki Frank, a driven, young woman currently working as a Carpenter Apprentice in Lillooet, B.C.

Nikki’s career journey started in 2018 when she completed the Construction Craft Worker Level 1 apprenticeship program at Thompson Rivers University (TRU), which allowed her to gain a wealth of tickets and open her eyes to a world of working in construction.

Her first job after the course was a Traffic control Supervisor and Occupational First Aid Attendant for 6 months in Creston, B.C. working on a paving crew. Though she gained some good experience, Nikki was looking for a new challenge. When she heard of the Carpentry Foundation program coming up at TRU, she leapt at the opportunity to continue building towards her skilled trades career. Held in her hometown in Lillooet, she spent 30 weeks learning hands-on skills and built a home from the ground up as part of a class project.

“I loved the experience of the Carpentry Foundations program and I'm glad to say I helped build my first house,” says Nikki. “I’m so grateful that I got the chance to take this opportunity to make a successful change in my career.”

Since graduating from the program, Nikki confidently says that she has found her career passion. She is now a Carpenter Apprentice working on a local project named Healing Arbor, which is a Xwisten structure built with huge cedar logs and cedar shingles that were locally sourced. Nikki is proud to be a part of this significant project and to work with a crew of four, nicknamed “The Four Pack”, who are also graduates of the Carpentry Foundations program and some of her closest friends.

With three projects under her belt, she is determined to continue her apprenticeship journey and aspires to become the first female Red Seal Carpenter in Lillooet.

The road to finding a fulfilling career hasn’t come easy. Nikki was in high school when she had her son and ended up not finishing her high school diploma until later in life. Now, she’s not only earned her high school diploma and attended two trades programs, but Nikki also wants to further her education by taking courses to build her entrepreneurial skills and knowledge. She says that her 7-year-old son is so proud that his mom and dad are working on the Arbor project together.

“It took a long time to get here, but it’s all finally coming together.”

In the future, Nikki says she wants to be her own boss and run a business building tiny mobile homes. With a waitlist of future customers already signed up, Nikki is excited to give back to her community and potentially employ “The Four Pack” to join her team. Her dream is to provide affordable, high quality homes powered by solar panels for customers who want to sustain a more mobile, off-grid lifestyle.

Nikki advises anyone thinking about joining the skilled trades to “take any opportunity available and don’t stop fighting for your dreams.”

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