Thompson Rivers University

Carpentry students gain industry experience

May 24, 2023

Carpentry students worked alongside industry professionals at City Gardens last week.
man in a workshop smiling

Connor Simmons

A day at the City Gardens construction site provided an eye-opening opportunity for TRU’s carpentry students recently.

“It was a good experience to do something I probably would never get to do otherwise,” says Connor Simmons, who visited the Kelson Group development site last week. Simmons is a third-year carpentry student who works mainly on residential framing projects in the Lower Mainland. The large-scale condo development, located in downtown Kamloops, is a departure from what he sees in his day-to-day work, and he says he appreciates the new skills he is taking home following his stint at TRU.

The first group of carpentry students attended the site in early April, two more groups spent time there last week, and if all goes as planned, the collaboration will continue for the duration of the massive project, which is slated to go on for the next eight years.

Massive project creates learning opportunities

Maxwell Gardner

Maxwell Gardner.

“Getting on site at a construction site is such good learning for our students,” says carpentry instructor Greg Alm. “We are appreciative of Kelson Group creating the opportunity for our students, especially since a project of this magnitude has never been built in Kamloops before. They certainly learned a lot, and it has created excitement for what their future careers in construction hold.”

Carpentry student Maxwell Gardner has plenty of industry experience but says he is grateful for the opportunity to get back in the classroom at TRU and see some of what’s happening in the industry through the experiential learning opportunities provided.

“I think it helps to be able to take what’s in the classroom and go out and do it firsthand,” he said, adding that the experience at City Gardens was especially gratifying. “I’ve been itching to get there ever since I found out it was coming up. It was a really cool experience to see how much labour is going into it — and seeing how organized it has to be. It is impressive.”

Carpentry students in front of giant crane.

TRU carpentry students recently visited City Gardens, a Kelson Group development.

A win-win partnership

Patrick Brown is a site supervisor with Kelson Group developments. He says having the students on site is beneficial for both parties and that he sees the collaboration continuing for a long while.

“It is our pleasure to be able to provide a site where students can relate what they learn in class to what is actually happening on an active large-scale construction site,” he says. “We benefit from the extra personnel, and they benefit from the hands-on experience.”

The current carpentry session is wrapping up this week, but the next cohort of students arrives in September and will no doubt look forward to leaving their mark on City Gardens.

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