Trades students join forces with firefighters on community project

“We just can’t thank the students and instructors at Okanagan College enough for their contribution to our fire hall,” said Chief Green

Students and instructors in Okanagan College’s entry-level carpentry/joinery class were joined by Vernon Fire Chief Keith Green and Deputy Fire Chief Jack Blair in Kelowna to hand over a set of custom cabinets for the fire hall at Predator Ridge.

The 12 College students worked on the project as part of their hands-on curriculum in the foundational program and as a result, the Predator Ridge fire hall will be better equipped to support the fire fighters in the region.

“We just can’t thank the students and instructors at Okanagan College enough for their contribution to our fire hall,” said Chief Green. “Station 3 (Predator Ridge) has been operational since the spring but the upstairs area was left unfinished. The students’ handy work will make the station more functional and will be in our fire station for a long time. Having these beautiful custom-made cabinets is so great for our members and we are so grateful to the students for their support. ”

One of the students who took a leading role in the project was Julia Braun.

“It gave us a real life perspective and understanding of what it will be like doing this kind of work out in the real world,” said Braun. “It’s really cool to be involved in a community project because you feel more invested in your work and it increases the value of a project.”

Braun enrolled in the College program this February after completing the Women in Trades program, which is designed to introduce students to a variety of trades so they can make an informed decision about pursuing further training.

“I really liked a lot of the trades programs here at the College,” she said, “but carpentry just felt right.”

Braun was part of a unique intake of students this year – the class was split with an equal male-to-female ratio. She was surprised to see six other women in the foundation program and felt the learning environment has prepared her for a great career.

“I finish the program this week and am excited to be heading off traveling for a year,” she said. “I’m off to New Zealand and may try to find a way to do some carpentry work while I’m there but I’ll definitely be getting into an apprenticeship when I get back. I’ll be working hard toward my Red Seal.”

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