Building his future

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Image of man with red and black checked jacket, and work gloves standing next to a carpentry project.

Sometimes a change in location can be a catalyst.

When Mark Desjarlais’ wife was offered a job in Cranbrook, he quit his position as a Security Supervisor and left his home in Ile-A-La-Crosse, Saskatchewan to move with her. The change was just what he needed to kick-start the next phase of his life.

Completing his grade 12 diploma had always been a goal of Mark’s. In February 2019, he began working to achieve it by enrolling in College of the Rockies’ Adult Upgrading program. It was in that program that he was presented with another life-changing opportunity.

“I knew I wanted to go into the Trades but I wasn’t sure whether I wanted to become an automotive mechanic, heavy duty mechanic, or carpenter,” he said. “The Adult Upgrading coordinator mentioned the College was holding a Trades Sampler program and helped me get in at the last minute.”

The Trades Sampler program, held in partnership with the Ktunaxa Nation Council, offered access to a variety of trades over 12 weeks. In addition to getting hands-on experience in automotive service technician, carpenter, timber framing, electrician, plumbing, and welder trades, Mark was able to earn industry certifications in first aid, fall protection, and forklift training.

That 12 weeks was all the time Mark needed to solidify his future career plans.

“I’ve always had an interest in carpentry. I used to help my uncle with his construction business and I found the work very interesting. After trying out the trades at the College, I now know for sure that I want to pursue carpentry as a career.”

Mark hopes to enroll in College of the Rockies’ Carpenter program in September 2019, while also finishing up the last course he requires for his high school diploma. He plans to complete the foundation level Carpenter program, before gaining work experience and completing his Red Seal.

“My experience at the College has been amazing and I would recommend it to anyone seeking upgrading or looking to enter the trades,” he said. “Attending the College has also helped me to get to know the community better and to meet people.”

Learn more about College of the Rockies’ Adult Upgrading program.