“I had gone to school for computer graphics in Victoria, but when I graduated the construction sector was booming,” said Crockford. “I had some previous construction experience and went to work for a friend building houses. I really enjoyed the work.”
After spending 10 years in house construction, Crockford decided to formalize his training.
“My employers had their Red Seal and were encouraging me to get my ticket,” he said. “At the same time, NIC had just opened its Trades Training Centre in the Comox Valley; it just made sense to go back to school and get my Red Seal.”
According to Crockford, going back to school was not what he expected. “Because of my carpentry experience I thought most of what we would cover would be material I already knew but I learned a lot.”
One of the program’s key advantages was the expertise of NIC Carpentry instructor Erik Hardin and the quality of the curriculum, noted Crockford.
“Erik has construction experience in different aspects of the industry,” said Crockford. “The content was well explained and it opened my eyes to the entire construction industry, rather than just what I was working in at the time. I’d spent 10 years building houses but there’s so much more out there to learn about.”
Along with making him more employable as a carpenter, Crockford found having his Red Seal opened up other career opportunities. “I didn’t know if carpentry was something I’d still be doing in 25 or 30 years, so I started to look at other possibilities. Having my ticket met one of the requirements for the BC Building Code course which is required to becoming a building inspector, which is what I ended up studying.”
Again, timing worked out for a new career shift. “I had taken the course thinking it would be something I’d use down the road – maybe in 10 years, but then a job opened up and here I am, working as a building official.”
Crockford would advise anyone in the trades to pursue their Red Seal. Going back to school was a great decision, he said. “I learned a lot and made some great friends,” he said. “Having my Red Seal has really made a difference. It makes you more employable, it gives you mobility and it can also lead to other opportunities. The ticket just gives you so many more options.”
NIC offers apprenticeship training in seven areas: carpentry, automotive (includes level one), electrician, heavy duty mechanical, landscape horticulture, plumbing and piping, professional cook and welding.
NIC is also offering its Carpentry Foundation Harmonized Certificate in Port Alberni and in the Comox Valley this January.
Find out more: www.nic.bc.ca/trades or call 1-800-715-0914.