Deepak Chana was working as a construction labourer in his hometown of Prince Rupert when he realized that he wanted to become a certified journeyperson carpenter, “I had been a labourer for so long. I wanted to learn skills to be more independent.”
Deepak is a Northerner through and through and he didn’t want to leave his home region. Northwest Community College (NWCC) in Terrace is only about an hour and a half away by car and offered the carpentry apprenticeship program he was looking for.
Despite two years work experience, his carpentry studies still surprised Deepak, “I thought I would show up and get 90% plus because of my two years of experience. I thought I knew everything but I continue to baffle myself as I gather more knowledge of my trade.”
The eureka moment was a positive one for Deepak, “I still have much more to learn and you can be learning the rest of your life with a trade.” This open door to lifelong learning has ignited a spark inside Deepak for his chosen career, “I envision everything as angles and measurements, flush and spacing, and placement. I like to build things first in my mind and then put them together. It’s become a real big passion for me.”
Deepak is also one of the first trade students to take advantage of camp-style housing that mimics housing conditions found at large scale projects in the oil and gas, construction and Liquefied Natural Gas sectors in British Columbia. North West Community College is the first public post-secondary institution in B.C., and also the first in Canada, to offer the camp-style student housing. Deepak finds the housing convenient, “The camp is really nice and close to the school. It’s only a two minute walk to the campus.”
The opportunity to stay in the camp housing Deepak believes better prepares him for life on the job site, “I’ve never been to a camp before but living in the NWCC housing is helping me prepare for constantly interacting with people. I have an idea of what roughing it out might be like and what a camp-style job might be like.”
Deepak believes that after completing his NWCC carpentry program he will do some “adventuring around” to see where he can apply his new skills and that experience could include traveling to opportunities in places like the lower mainland, Kitimat and Kelowna. He also says his future could include camp work, “Camp jobs pay well.”
Prince Rupert is everything that Deepak had hoped for in a community and he hopes that with his training and experience he will gain over the next four or five years, that it will set him up to build homes, “I want to return to the lifestyle I have in Prince Rupert. I have lots of plans for my own home that I want to do as my trade skills expand. I want to stay and help build the north.”