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Joinery/Cabinetmaking Foundation

Nine-month certificate

Where: Port Alberni
Starts: September
  • Learn the art and trade of designing, constructing, finishing and repairing a wide range of high-quality wood products.
  • Earn apprenticeship technical training credit toward Interprovincial (Red Seal) certification.
  • Interested in woodwork and building? See Carpentry Foundation.

Career possibilities: Graduates pursue careers in furniture restoration or manufacturing, millwork and cabinets, marine joinery, residential finishing carpentry, sales and as self-employed artisans.


  • Great facilities and small class size. The Joinery/Cabinetmaking Foundation program is well-equipped with a wide range of quality woodworking equipment. This includes solid beach joinery benches, high quality hand tools, spray finishing equipment and industrial-quality machinery.
  • Economical education. The program is located in Port Alberni, on the West Coast of Vancouver Island, where the cost of living is less than in larger centres. Program costs are low and, because the curriculum is accepted by many funding agencies, retraining subsidies may be available through those agencies.
  • Award-winning students. As a student, you may be eligible to have work entered in the BC Skills competition. Our student competitors regularly place in the top ranks of the competition, have won gold medals four times in the BC Skills Competition and advanced to the Skills Candada National Competition. In 2009, an NIC student won the gold medal in cabinetmaking in the Skills Canada competition. 


The Joinery/Cabinetmaking Foundation program is a great choice, whether you are starting your first career, changing your career or simply want to pursue your interest and build your skills in an outstanding woodworking program. Some woodworking experience is an asset but there is no previous experience required to take this program. You can expect the following throughout the program:
Design. You will learn the principles and elements of design, and apply this knowledge by designing your own shop projects. 
Shop drawing. A project design requires a shop drawing. You will begin with free-hand sketching, move to drawing by hand, and advance to computer drawing programs.
Technical woodworking skills. You will develop skills with hand tools, power tools and larger woodworking machines. You will be well-prepared to work in small shops with limited tools or high-end industrial facilities with machinery, such as:
  • one each of: scroll saw, wide belt sander, edge sander, dovetailer, CNC router, flap wheel sander, disk sander, vacuum press, pneumatic cutoff saw and edge bander
  • two each of: panel saws, horizontal slot mortisers and router tables
  • three each of: jointers, bandsaws and chisel mortisers
  • four each of: planers and lathes
Best in world safety. NIC's program covers Canadian standard safety practices and provides the opportunity to study higher safety practices in place around the world.
Sustainable approach. This program is committed to the use of sustainable building materials and practices. Preference is given to local or Vancouver Island wood products and woods that are indigenous to North America. Sheet goods are selected for low emissions while finishing techniques emphasize natural oils and water-born technologies.
Four-day school week. This is a full-time program starting in September and ending in early June. Classes are Monday to Thursday and allow you to seek part-time work if you so choose. You will spend one-third of your time in lectures and demonstrations, and two-thirds of your time in the joinery shop. Field trips to a variety of woodworking businesses and visits from guest speakers are also scheduled.
Upon completion, you will have the training requirements for the first year of the four-year Joiner apprenticeship to the Interprovincial (Red Seal) standard. Upon entering an apprenticeship, you will be eligible to receive technical training credit for Level 1 and 475 hours of work-based credit toward your apprenticeship hours requirement.
As a graduate, you will earn a certificate in both furniture design/construction and joinery/cabinetmaking.

Career Opportunities

As a graduate of the Joinery/Cabinetmaking Foundation program, you will be eligible for employment in millwork, furniture, cabinets and marine joinery. The placement rate for program graduates in the joinery industry is high. Job titles can range from residential finishing carpenter to salesperson or woodworking business owner.

Supply List

Materials: You are responsible for the material costs of your projects. These costs will vary from $500 to $1000 based on the design of the project and materials selected.

Texts: Visit the NIC bookstore for a current list

Stationery: Available at the NIC bookstore

  • Sharp TI-30Xa (recommended)
  • graduated metric 900 mm T-Square 

Drafting Equipment: Available at the NIC bookstore:

  • set square – 30/60/90 degree, Staedtler 964 16-60
  • set square – 45/45/90 degree, Staedtler 964 14-45
  • scale ruler, Metric, Staedtler 987 18-SI
  • good quality white eraser


  • eraser shield, Staedtler 529-50
  • drawing compass, 559-02
  • mechanical pencils in: .3mm in 6H lead; .5mm in 2H or 4H lead; .9mm in 2H lead

Safety Equipment:

  • WCB-approved safety glasses
  • WCB-approved hearing protection
  • closed-toe leather boots or shoes

Tools: all tools are supplied except a tape measure

  • flexible tape measure, metric, five metre, good quality

Admission Requirements

  1. C in English 10 or NIC ENG 035; or C+ in Communications 11 or equivalent; C+ in ESL-051, ESL-054 and ESL-057, or certified CLB 7; or successful NIC English assessment; and
  2. C in one of Principles of Math 10, Applications of Math 11, Apprenticeship and Workplace Math 11, Foundations of Math 11, NIC MAT-033, or equivalent; or successful NIC math assessment.
  3. High school graduation is preferred provided the applicant meets or exceeds the stated prerequisites.

Upgrade with us to meet prerequisites

Upgrade your English, math and science courses for entry into the program of your choice. Succeed with the help of NIC’s supportive instructors. Courses are flexible and start several times a year so you can learn at your own pace. We offer daytime and evening options. Learn more

International Language Requirements

For international language requirements click here.

To Be Successful

  • Many employers require Grade 12 completion as an employment standard. If you do not meet this requirement we encourage you to contact an educational advisor to discuss upgrading or Grade 12 completion options offered at NIC. In addition to the stated prerequisites, secondary school equivalent courses in science, physics and drafting are considered an asset.
  • The most important key to success is the desire to become a quality tradesperson. The traditional values of hard work, reliability, positive attitude and the desire to do quality work are essential to succeed in the program.
  • Trades programs require good hand-eye coordination, good binocular vision, strong abilities in spatial and mechanical reasoning along with good math and communication skills.
  • There is also an expectation of physical activities such as lifting, working on ladders and scaffolding or in confined spaces, and under various weather conditions.
  • You will be required to to stay focused for prolonged periods.

Program Requirements

1. Joinery/Cabinetmaking Foundation (26 weeks)

2. Furniture Design & Construction Certificate (13 weeks)

  • WJC-100 Drafting for Joinery/Cabinetmaking
  • WJC-120 Wood Products Design for Joinery/Cabinetmaking
  • WJC-130 Wood Finishing for Joinery/Cabinetmaking
  • WJC-150 Marine Joinery
  • OFA-001* WHMIS General
  • OFA-010* Occupational First Aid Level 1

*Note: Students not having current, valid First Aid and WHMIS certification are required to take these courses to meet program requirements. Separate fees will be charged for First Aid and WHMIS.

Completion Requirements

A minimum average of 70% for each course is required to pass the program. Successful completion of all courses in the program is necessary to receive the Furniture Design/Construction and the Joinery/Cabinetmaking certificates.

Tuition & Costs Estimate for
Fall 2017, Winter, Spring & Summer 2018

Costs indicated are estimates for a 100% course load per year, unless otherwise noted. Additional fees may also include necessary equipment, supplies, NIC appointed uniforms, or field trips not included in these estimates.

While we do our best to share accurate and timely fee information, changes may occur. For more information, visit tuition page.

Domestic Fees

Year 1
Tuition $2,910
NISU Fees $140
Lab Fees $120
Books $610
Learner Resource $155
Health and Dental $275
Total $4,210

International Fees

Year 1
Tuition $13,630
NISU Fees $140
Lab Fees $120
Books $610
Learner Resource $155
Health and Dental $275
Total $14,930
Additional Costs for International Students include the $100 Application fee (required) and the $250 Accommodation Application Fee (optional).

Stephen McIntosh

Stephen McIntosh


Trades & Apprenticeships

Cabinetmaker - Interprovincial Red Seal

Carpenter - Interprovincial Red Seal

Subjects: Joinery, Introduction to Trades, Joinery/Cabinetmaking
Tebo Vocational Centre 250-724-8771

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