Students working on plumbing centre at North Island College

North Island College is busy building a new plumbing training centre at its Comox Valley campus.

JESSICA SIDHU AND other students from Carihi in Campbell River build a new plumbing training building at NIC's Comox Valley campus.

North Island College is busy building a new plumbing training centre at its Comox Valley campus — and the project gives a chance for carpentry students to learn, too.

According to NIC’s director of college and community relations Susan Auchterlonie, the building will be completed to the lockup stage by students taking carpentry through the ACE-IT program for high school students.

“It’s really neat because it’s like a real job site for them — they’re actually completing a real project,” said Auchterlonie, adding carpentry students at NIC usually build a project, but then have to deconstruct it afterwards. “This time they actually get to see the results of their labour, and it’s going to be used for other students, so it’s a really neat process.”

The students, who are from Carihi Secondary School in Campbell River, have been coming to NIC’s Comox Valley campus four half-days per week to work on the building for a number of weeks. This phase of construction is expected to wrap up mid- to late-August, with the students putting in a total of eight weeks of work to finish their program.

The building must be complete by September because it will be used by students in the college’s plumbing program, which Auchterlonie noted is like ‘real’ work, too.

The building will be two storeys, complete with a roof and windows, which Auchterlonie said is a bit different from other plumbing training buildings, as they are usually very basic.

“We’re building the plumbing training structure to a higher standard as a result of our neighbours concerns with noise emanating from our operations,” Auchterlonie said. “We wanted to ensure that we did as much as possible to ensure that we contain the noise, any noise, coming from the plumbing programs.”

The programs will likely be busy because Auchterlonie pointed out that NIC decided to consolidate its plumbing programs and only offer them at the Comox Valley campus starting in September. She said space pressures at the Campbell River campus are the reason. There, NIC is expanding its electronics and industrial automation programs, and offering some new programming — employment skills and metal jewelry.

According to Auchterlonie, NIC’s trades enrolment numbers are starting to pick up.

“We’re really happy with our numbers in trades right now. For September and for the fall, most of our programs are full,” she said. “The last couple of years has been a bit of a softer enrolment but we’re seeing, come September, our programming in plumbing, electrical, heavy duty mechanics, everything, full so we’re really, really pleased with that.”

As for the carpentry students in the ACE-IT program, Auchterlonie noted they will be ready to go into the construction industry after they’ve completed this project — and some haven’t even finished high school yet.

“Some of them have graduated from high school already, some of them will be going into their Grade 12 year at high school, so some may not even be completing high school yet and they’ll already have completed college which is really kind of neat,” said Auchterlonie. “Then they’ll move into the construction industry.”

writer@comoxvalleyrecord.com

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