Darrick Louie, originally from Cortes Island, was working as a construction labourer at jobsites throughout British Columbia when he made the decision to return to school, “Employers kept asking me if I had my ticket. I made the decision to go and get it.”
Darrick chose Okanagan College and the Construction Craft Worker Aboriginal program.
Construction craft workers are part of almost every construction site. They are responsible for a range of duties at construction sites, including site preparation and cleanup, and assisting on concrete, masonry, steel and wood projects.
The Okanagan program was supported through funding by the Ministry of Advanced Education, and included a combination of classroom learning, hands-on practice and workplace training. Derrick couldn’t believe how much information instructors squeezed into just ten weeks of instruction, “We learned everything, from doing foundations to putting tresses on a roof, all aspects of building a house from the ground up.”
Darrick made extra effort to find his own work-placement and one that he wanted to do long-term. His experience there was encouraging, “The hands-on training was a huge help even though I had worked construction before. Experienced workers always have quicker ways of doing things.”
Darrick’s involvement in the program was so positive he made up his own word to describe it, “‘Superboulous.’ I use it all the time. It describes how awesome the program is.”
Darrick found it much easier to find work. He received a call from a prospective employer just two days after completing the program, “Getting a ticket opens so many options. It proves to an employer you are dedicated to your work.”
He is working as a unionized, ticketed, construction craft worker in Winfield, “I love my work. I’m not just doing one thing all day.” Darrick’s new employer is impressed with his great attitude and willingness to learn, and believes the program has prepared him to handle work in several trades, including carpentry and plumbing.
Darrick is looking to his future and plans on continuing his studies, “I’m hoping to go for my level two in construction craft worker. And in a couple of years I want to build homes that shelter people.”
He is also acting as an unofficial ambassador for the program, trying to convince friends and even a store clerk about the benefits of Okanagan College, “You can stick to residential housing, move to the city, or work on high-rises – your options are wide open after taking this program.”