Youth building structures and community in Surrey

“I have always enjoyed building and doing hands-on things. Woodworking has been in my family, so I thought the carpentry program would be the perfect opportunity for me.”

“I have always enjoyed building and doing hands-on things. Woodworking has been in my family, so I thought the carpentry program would be the perfect opportunity for me.”

That’s how Isaac Young described his interest in Industry Training Authority’s (ITA) Youth Train in Trades carpentry program at the Surrey School District.

Isaac was one of 16 students at Frank Hurt Secondary School who participated in the program this year. Youth Train in Trades programs are for students in grades 11-12 who are looking to get a head start on their apprenticeship. Students earn high school credits as well as level 1 technical training towards their apprenticeship.

Isaac and his fellow students, with direction from the instructor, designed and built four mini-homes and sheds during the four-month program.

Isaac said the best part of the carpentry program was developing a strong work ethic. “It was a great experience, and I met a lot of good people,” he said. “I learned to work super hard and always have a good attitude, along with all of the skills that came with it.”

Isaac graduated from the program earlier this month and is currently working in the industry as a full-time apprentice at a wood framing company, earning his work-based training hours to advance into the next level of carpentry.

Over at Guildford Park Secondary School, 18 students participated in the carpentry program and custom-built two small homes, an animal hospital, a backyard sauna, and a backyard workshop over four months. The buildings were designed by drafting students and then constructed by the carpentry students. Electrical and plumbing students from the school district’s other ITA Youth Train in Trades programs were also involved.

“The program showed me opportunities that fit my skills and my vision for myself in the future,” said Andry Santo, who graduated from the program last year. “I learned the basic fundamentals of carpentry, which were going to help me to start my career as a carpenter. I enjoyed everything about the program. Going to school wasn't the same anymore since I started doing the carpentry program, because for me, I know that I'm already working for my future career.”

Former student Matt Maclaren also said the carpentry program gave him the opportunity to get a head start in the career he wanted to pursue.

“The best part of the program is the way it’s taught,” said Matt. “It’s a university-level class, but it’s not overwhelming at the same time. I think it does an amazing job of making that transition for students going into a university-level course, coming from the high school atmosphere. Having the opportunity to get that step ahead, while being able to hang out with your high school friends on breaks, is a win-win scenario.”

Since graduating, Matt has been working in residential renovations.

“It’s the type of construction I wanted to get into, and I’m grateful that the program had the connections to get me into renovations,” Matt said.

Our Youth Programs are a great way for students to explore the skilled trades as a career. Get in touch with your school district career educator by visiting our Youth Connector Tool.

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