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Media Release
Release Date: October 28, 2015

Carpentry apprentices Derek Vally and Kendall Foster placed first and second at the 2015 GameChanger Youth Expo and Competition, proving their carpentry competency in a race against contestants and the clock. At the third annual BC GameChanger Youth Expo held in Vancouver October 14–16, competitors were tasked with constructing a full-sized wishing well, from blueprint to finish, while overseeing a helper randomly assigned from a group of high school contestants. “Competition was really intense,” says Derek, nodding towards Kendall, “but I felt well-prepared thanks to some good coaching by my instructors.”

New to this year’s event, each apprentice was assigned a helper to supervise. “It was really interesting but stressful having to give instructions, watch out for safety, and keep the job moving along,” says Kendall. “I felt really nervous, but it was a good experience.”

Al van Akker, chair of Camosun’s Architectural Trades programs, mentored Derek and Kendall, and accompanied them to the competition. He says, “Competitions showcase planning, execution, construction and teamwork skills, and they really draw attention to the expertise and strategy behind every construction project. The fact that there’s something at stake—first prize was a thousand dollars—draws in the audience and they really appreciate seeing the project develop over the course of the day.”

Both students started in the Carpentry Foundation program and progressed to the Apprenticeship program. Derek, now in his fourth year, got interested in carpentry while working at a desk job where some carpenters were finishing up on a project in his building. “They showed me what they were doing, and recommended carpentry as a great career choice,” says Derek. “I hope to continue working for M. Knight Construction after I get my Red Seal. My employer has long-term, happy employees who seem to have a good lifestyle and challenging jobs.”

Carpentry apprentices Derek Vally and Kendall Foster.

Kendall entered carpentry after finishing a university degree. “I had a dream to build my own house, so I took the Foundation program and fell in love with carpentry,” says Kendall. “It’s a perfect balance between mental and physical work.” Kendall is a third-year apprentice, and currently works for Interactive Construction Inc. here in Victoria.

Both Kendall and Derek like the practical approach to the apprenticeship teaching model where you learn about a skill in the classroom, then practice on a real project.

Learn more about skilled trades at an Information Session—third Thursday each month.

Kendall Foster works on rafters.
Derek Vally adds the roof.
Derek with his finished wishing well.

Last updated: December 23, 2015 4:01 pm

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