Carpentry Foundation Program


This Foundation Program is eight months long. It requires classroom and on-the-job training for successful completion. It is offered in conjunction with the Nanaimo Home Builders Association (CHBA-VI). Applications are accepted at any time.

The program base of topics cover the Level 1 carpentry apprenticeship technical training and its major focus is to better prepare students for employment as carpentry apprentices in the building industry.

Strong ties with the Canadian Home Builders Association-Nanaimo, City of Nanaimo building officials, and many other builders, sub-trades and suppliers, have helped create a close cooperative training partnership with Nanaimo's local building industry.

This full-time program is built upon the program outline developed collaboratively by industry and VIU, and follows the BC Provincial Apprenticeship Level 1 program competencies. The program focuses on basic carpentry skills and framing. The curriculum seeks an effective balance between hands-on learning activities supported with specific academic and theoretical frameworks.

The program framework includes:

  • Safe Work Practices
  • Documentation and Organizational Skills
  • Tools and Equipment
  • Survey instruments and Equipment
  • Access, Rigging and Hoisting Equipment
  • Site Layout
  • Concrete Formwork
  • Wood Frame Construction
  • Building Science
  • Personal Management
  • Construction Math
  • Business Operations
  • Emerging Workplace
  • Employment Strategies
  • Work Experience

Program Costs

See Program Costs for details regarding current fees.

Additional costs

Textbooks and supplies: approximate cost $1,300
Transportation costs to job site: cost varies
(All fees are subject to change without prior notice.)

Admission Requirements

See Admission Requirements for details.


A Vancouver Island University Certificate will be awarded to each graduate.

Upon successful completion, graduates may receive credit for Industry Training Authority Level 1 Carpentry, which provides the foundation for completion of a Carpentry apprenticeship. The technical training that is required to complete each level of the four-year Carpentry Apprenticeship is available at Vancouver Island University. Learn more about Apprenticeships.

Career Options

This unique, high profile, hands on, information packed training program has been well recognized by the building industry as an excellent introduction to the residential and commercial building industries.

Graduates from this program have been successful in procuring employment in positions such as apprentice carpenters, concrete formers, wood framers, finishing carpenter's helpers, cabinet installers, and home renovators. Graduates have also found employment with many other related building industry employers.

Excellent opportunities exist for graduates of this program to obtain carpentry apprenticeships with Professional Building Contractors or a Carpenters Union.


To become a student in the Carpentry Foundation Program, apply to VIU.

Morgan Brown, Journeyman Carpenter

“I like the teachers, they’re really knowledgeable, really prepare you for what to expect. It was really fun to go back each year. There are things about the trade that you had to be in the classroom to learn, you can’t learn it all on-site. And you can tell on the worksite who has the schooling. It gave me a jump up on everyone. I would recommend that other students complete their apprenticeships. Following through on all the apprenticeship levels was totally worth it. One of the bigger companies just hired me because of my Red Seal Certificate and they’re paying big bucks.”