Science and Tech Students

Aboriginal Construction

  • Program Length 
    10 Months
  • Credential 
  • Options 
  • Location Offered 

The Aboriginal Construction Program

The Aboriginal Construction Program provides an opportunity to gain skills and knowledge that give a head start in the construction industry with the benefit of learning coastal First Nations construction history and methods. Developed in consultation with the coastal First Nation's communities this program is designed for aboriginal learners with components that include recognition of cultural issues regarding education and traditional construction as well as skills development in areas such as mathematics and communications.

On successful completion, graduates will receive credit for Industry Training Authority Level I Carpentry, which provides the foundation for completion of a Carpentry apprenticeship. Apprenticeship is a tried and true method of learning and passing on knowledge and skills from Journeyperson to apprentice. The BC model provides for study and skills development over 4 years with 80% of the time in the workforce earning a living and 20% in study at a training institution or through other learning models. On completion of the apprenticeship, apprentices have the opportunity to write an Interprovincial Red Seal Exam. Successful completion provides certification that is recognized across Canada and many other places in the world.


This program has been selected to assist unemployed or low skilled individuals gain employment and will cover all tuition and books for students that meet the eligibility criteria of the ABCO program, which are that the person:

  • Is unemployed:
    • Cannot be on EI or attached to EI in the past three years for a regular claim, or five years for a Maternity/Parental claim.
  • Is employed and low skilled:
    • Has not completed high school or has completed high school but has no post secondary education towards a degree or recognized certification/credentials.

Program Outline

Year 1


ABCO 101T - (Safe Work Practices)


ABCO 102T - (Documentation and Organizational Skills)


ABCO 103T - (Tools and Equipment)


ABCO 104T - (Survey Instrument and Equipment)


ABCO 105T - (Access, Rigging and Hoisting Equipment)


ABCO 106T - (Site Layout)


ABCO 107T - (Concrete Form Work)


ABCO 108T - (Wood Frame Construction)


ABCO 109T - (Building Science)


ABCO 113T - (Work Experience)


ABCO 111T - (Cultural Applications to Trades)


Total Credits


Essential Skills for the Workplace


ESFB 100T - (Personal Management Skills)


ESFB 105T - (Aboriginal Construction Math)


ESFB 110T - (Business Operations)


ESFB 115T - (The Emerging Workplace)


ESFB 120T - (Employment Strategies)


Total Credits


All program courses must be successfully completed before certificates will be issued.

Friday, November 9, 2018

Admission Requirements

  • Grade 12, or equivalent, or mature student status, or on recommendation of program Chair;
  • Minimum 17 years of age;
  • Successful completion of assessment testing or recommendation of program Chair;
  • Interview will be required.

Notes on Admission

  • Preference will be given to aboriginal students, especially those with a Vancouver Island First Nations heritage. Documentation may be requested. Non–aboriginal students will be considered if space remains available.
  • Physically fit and able to adapt to working conditions.
  • Good hand/eye coordination.
  • Good health, free of vision, hearing or respiratory ailments.
  • If student wishes to operate vehicles and equipment a valid driver’s license will be required.
  • Enrolment in this program is limited. Students who meet or exceed the minimum admission requirements may not necessarily be admitted to the program.

Start Date and Application Deadline

For information regarding start dates and application deadlines check the Program Availability List.

Career Opportunities

The current condition across the province is that there are more opportunities than employees in the construction industry; graduates from this program will have options in residential, commercial and industrial construction. Graduates will also find opportunities within their own communities working with First Nations to construct or maintain housing, and other community construction projects.

Work Placement Opportunities

Graduates of this program may receive credit towards the technical portion of the first year of the Carpenter Apprenticeship program. In order to complete the apprenticeship and become a journeyperson, graduates would find an employer in the industry to provide the on-the-job training and return to Vancouver Island University for 6 weeks per year in each of the next three years.

The Carpenter Apprenticeship program consists of 4 years of on-the job experience combined with in-school technical training in order to become eligible to write the Interprovincial (Red Seal) examination for journeyperson certification.

For more information on apprenticeship training, please visit the website at, contact the Industry Training Centre at 1-866-660-6011, or call Tanya Reiber at Vancouver Island University toll–free at 1-888-920-2221, Ext. 6112. Visit Vancouver Island University’s Trades and Applied Technology Apprenticeship page for more information and schedules.

Domestic Fees

Tuition Fee Schedule

When applying to the program, applicants will be charged a non-refundable application fee.

When applying to graduate, students will be charged a non-refundable graduation and alumni fee.

Some courses have additional fees to pay for extraordinary class–related expenses.



Tuition (10 months x $443.27 per month)


Student Activity fee (4% of tuition)


Student Services fee (4.419% of tuition)


VIU Students' Union fee (10 months x $19.43 per month)


Health and Dental Plan fee ($275 per year)


Books and supplies (approximate cost)





* Students are responsible for transportation costs to job site.

All fees are subject to change without prior notice.

Sunday, April 1, 2018