Family members play an important role in Trades students' success at VIU

June 21, 2012 - 9:02pm

The importance of family ties is strongly evident among the more than 320 Trades and Applied Technology students who are receiving certificates at Vancouver Island University today. (June 22)

Tyler Davis is graduating from the Heavy Duty and Commercial Transport Mechanics program. His father Randy Davis graduated from the same program in 1987. His grandfather, Howie Davis, graduated from the institution’s first Welding Class in 1957. His great-grandfather Beatty Davis, was on the Malaspina College Board from 1968-74 and served as Board Chair from 1972-74.

“I’ve always wanted to do this program,” said the Davis family’s latest Trades graduate.

Tyler Davis took the entry level training through the Career Technical Centre a program operated through a partnership of VIU and School District 68. It meant that he could begin working toward his apprenticeship as he was completing his final year at Ladysmith Secondary School.

Davis is interested in the heavy equipment side of the program and is looking at work in the logging industry.

“I’ve got work lined up in Duncan with Northview Timber, “ Davis said. “I need 6,000 hours to complete my apprenticeship.”

“It normally takes four years but I want to do it by the time I’m 20,” said the 17-year-old.

Brandon Somerville, who is also receiving a red seal certificate in Heavy Duty and Commercial Transport Mechanics, was introduced to the trades programs at VIU by his uncle Ross Somerville.

Ross Somerville has been a long-time supporter of trades programs at VIU and was honoured with an Outstanding Service Award at the Trades graduation ceremony in 2010.

“I came out from Hamilton when I was in Grade 9, did a little tour with my uncle and saw the program. I decided then that I’d come out,” Somerville said.

It helped that he could stay with relatives when he came west from Ontario for the 10-month program but Somerville said there were other factors in his choice of training.

“The VIU program is really well done. It’s far above the other courses I’ve looked into. There’s a lot more equipment, a lot more shop space, great teachers and lots of hands-on learning, which is probably the most important thing.”

Somerville said his interest in mechanics goes back as far as he can remember and he’s looking at finding work dealing with trucks or heavy equipment.

“I’ve been around hot rods and race cars all my life. My uncle was a factor in me getting into heavy equipment,” said Somerville.

Some day he might pursue his earlier interest. “I’d like to get into racing, maybe open my own speed shop. We’ll see how that goes.

Rebecca Parkinson had a couple of reasons for enrolling in the seven-month Welder Level C program at VIU.

The graduate of H.D. Stafford Middle School in Langley said she was initially drawn to the trade by the prospect of creating large metal sculptures. In her case, a family member played an indirect role in boosting her interest in trades training.

“I thought my dad’s welder friends are all pretty cool,” she said.

For Parkinson, the VIU welding program was an ideal fit after her parents decided to relocate from the Lower Mainland to Nanaimo.

“I’d never done welding before but I just decided I’d do it,” said Parkinson.

Parkinson is more than happy with her decision.

“It’s been awesome, a lot of fun,” she said. And, with the first stage of her training completed, she is looking at bridge work in the future.

Trades and Applied Technology at VIU:

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