Carpentry Foundation Program

Train for an in-demand career in the building industry. The VIU Carpentry Foundation program is widely recognized for excellence. We have worked with industry to develop the program.

The program focusses on basic carpentry skills and framing. You'll train on a job site, building a house in the community. This hands-on training means you'll graduate job site ready. When you graduate, you can enter into many building industry roles including:

  • apprentice carpenter
  • concrete former
  • wood framer
  • finishing carpenter's helper
  • cabinet installer
  • home renovator

When you complete the program, you'll receive SkilledTradesBC Level 1 Carpentry certificate. And you can apply for a carpentry apprenticeship with a professional building contractor or a carpenters' union. Learn more about Apprenticeships.

Program overview

This 8-month foundation program includes classroom and on-the-job training. Applications are accepted at any time.

VIU has strong ties with the Canadian Home Builders Association-Vancouver Island, City of Nanaimo building officials and many other builders, sub-trades and suppliers. This means you'll have cooperative training opportunities with the local building industry.

Program topics

  • 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 details page for 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.


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.”