A Carpentry Apprenticeship student working on his wooden project


  • Program Length 
    8 Months
  • Credential 
  • Options 
  • Location Offered 
    Cowichan, Nanaimo, tiwšɛmawtxʷ (Powell River)

Build the foundation for your career in the carpentry industry with VIU’s Carpentry program. Vancouver Island University’s eight-month Carpentry Training Program is for anyone who wants a career that combines physical and mental work and the rewarding feeling that comes with building things.

Graduates find work as apprentice carpenters, concrete formers, wood framers, finishing carpenter’s helpers, cabinet installers and home renovators. It’s also a good foundation for getting into construction project management. With a combination of classroom and on-the-job training, this Carpentry course is unique – it is one of only two programs in the province that sends students off-site to build real houses.

The Carpentry Certificate Program

This Foundation program covers the basic carpentry skills required in preparation for employment as a carpenter apprentice in the building industry.

The program has been developed collaboratively by industry and Vancouver Island University, and follows the BC Provincial Apprenticeship Level 1 program competencies. The curriculum seeks an effective balance between hands-on learning activities and specific academic and theoretical components.

The program includes on-the-job training as well as construction of real life projects. Strong ties with the Nanaimo CHBA and other local contractors, United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners Local 527, City of Nanaimo building officials, and many other sub-trades and suppliers have resulted in a close cooperative training partnership with the local building industry.

Students will be evaluated throughout the program and will receive letter grades and weighted credits for each of the courses, including applied and theoretical work.

Class times may vary, and students can expect to spend one to two hours a day on homework. Good attendance is mandatory. A minimum 70% grade average in theory and practical is required to receive a graduation certificate.

Students who successfully complete the program will be awarded a certificate from Vancouver Island University for Carpentry Foundation (Level I Carpentry Apprenticeship).

For more information and schedules visit VIU's Trades and Applied Technology Apprenticeship page.



CPTY 111T - (Occupational Skills, Documentation, Tools, and Safety)


CPTY 113T - (Surveying, Layout, and Concrete)


CPTY 115T - (Framing and Building Science)


CPTY 109T - (Work Experience)


Total Credits



Essential Skills


ESFC 100T - (Personal Management Skills)


ESFC 105T - (Trades Math)


ESFC 110T - (Business Operations)


ESFC 115T - (The Emerging Workplace)


ESFC 120T - (Employment Strategies)


Total Credits


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

Notes on Admission

  • Physically fit and able to adapt to working conditions.
  • Good hand/eye coordination.
  • Good health, free of vision, hearing or respiratory ailments.
  • For student’s wishing 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.

This unique, high-profile, information-packed program is well recognized by the building industry as an excellent introduction to the residential and commercial building industries. The program provides a path to apprenticeship, a career, and Red Seal Certification.

Graduates of this program have been successful in procuring employment in positions such as apprentice carpenters, concrete formers, wood framers, finishing carpenters’ 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 the Carpenters’ Unions.

Work Placement Opportunities

Apprenticeship Information

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 7 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 SkilledTradesBC, phone 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 and Other Mandatory Student Fees

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.

Fees - Nanaimo Campus


Tuition (8 months x $489.41 per month)


Supply fee


Student Services fee (4.42% of tuition)


Student Activity fee (4% of tuition and lab fee)


VIU Students' Union fee (8 months x $26.59 per month)


Health and Dental Plan fee ($265.00 per year)


Books and supplies (approximate cost)





* Students are responsible for transportation costs to job site.

The VIUSU Health and Dental Plan fee is assessed for all students enrolled in 6 credits or more per term, or in Trades/Vocational programs of 5 months or longer.  

All fees are subject to change without prior notice and are expected to increase by 2% each year on April 1.

Monday, April 3, 2023

Domestic (Canadian)

Program Start Date Accepting Applications Location Options
Anticipated intake for someone applying today
Sep 5, 2023
Next Intake(s)

  • September 5, 2023

  • January 29, 2024

Accepting International Applications
Application Fee
Testing Required
Admissions Assistant

Name: Helene Viau
Phone: 250.753.3245 ext. 2040
Email: Helene.Viau@viu.ca

Chair Contact

Name: Cam Frenette
Phone: 250.740.6227
Email: Cameron.Frenette@viu.ca

Documentation Deadline

To be considered for admission into the program, applicants are strongly encouraged to write the Carpentry self-assessment. Please contact the Admissions Assistant for information on this test.

Anticipated intake for someone applying today
Sep 5, 2023
Next Intake(s)

The Carpentry Certificate program at the Cowichan campus has one intake each Fall. 

Accepting International Applications
Application Fee
Admissions Assistant

Name: Shirley McGregor
Phone: 250.746.3512
Email: Shirley.McGregor@viu.ca

Chair Contact

Name: Cameron Frenette
Phone: 250.713.0243
Email: Cameron.Frenette@viu.ca

Anticipated intake for someone applying today
Sep 5, 2023
Next Intake(s)

The Carpentry - Foundation Level 1 program has one intake each Fall.

Accepting International Applications
Application Fee
Accepting Late Applications
Testing Required
Admissions Assistant

Name: Powell River Campus
Phone: 604.485.2878
Email: prcampus@viu.ca


All students are required to complete Carpentry assessment testing. Build the foundation for your career in the carpentry industry with Vancouver Island University’s Carpentry Foundation Program. VIU’s eight-month program is for anyone who wants a career that combines physical and mental work and the rewarding feeling that comes with building things.

See Powell River Carpentry Foundation Level 1 for more information.

If you are interested in starting in Fall 2023 please apply to VIU and contact PRCampus@viu.ca.

Further information on this program can be found on the Department website.

Previous versions of this program can be found in the Program Archive.

Carpentry Student, Steve Remple, working on timber at VIU's carpenter school

Steve Remple

“One of the most memorable concepts I've learned in the Carpentry program is thinking through a project from start to finish before you start building, which will make the process go a lot smoother. I've also learned to ask for other people's input on how to do something because everyone has a different way of thinking and working out problems. By doing this you can find ways that may help you work more efficiently.”