Carpentry and masonry programs at Algonquin College can lead to an international career

Susan Kelly

Postmedia Content Works

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Masonry is a highly sought-after skill.

Masonry is a highly sought-after skill.

At Algonquin College’s Perth campus, students can hone time-honoured masonry, carpentry and joinery skills at the Heritage Institute, or the chops to build high-tech and energy efficient homes in the Advanced Housing construction program.

These skills are in high demand around the world, according to Andrew Edmondson, Algonquin College’s marketing officer at the Perth campus and a Heritage carpentry program graduate.

“Because of our programs’ reputation, our graduates find work quickly and are employed as far away as the Caribbean, Europe or the Far East,” he said. “And once they get a job, students can feel secure that they will not be replaced by a robot or see their jobs outsourced.”

Over the past eight years, the school has seen a close to 100 per cent placement rate for graduates of the three programs, many of whom are women.

Heritage Masonry

There is a massive shortage of masons in the world, notes Edmondson. In even shorter supply: those who use traditional methods to carry out the exacting work to restore or conserve historical buildings. Phillipe Smith graduated from this 45-week program in 2004. Since then, he has worked on such historically significant buildings as the Palais-Royale in Paris and Canada’s Parliament Buildings, where he is involved in helping reconstruct the gargoyles.

Heritage Carpentry

There is no scarcity of renovators, but skilled carpenters who can help preserve and restore the world’s architectural treasures are another thing. Graduates of this two-year program are also much in demand for their ability to add structural integrity and cachet to new custom construction projects. Patrick Moore, who graduated from the program in 2007, went on to become the first and only person from the Americas to be accepted as a Compagnons Passant Charpentier in 2013. The honour was bestowed by the Compagnons du Tour de France, a French organization of artisans dating back to the Middle Ages.

Construction Carpentry, Advanced Housing

This program focuses on the special skills needed to build houses that are energy efficient. Students also learn how to construct using environmentally responsible methods and materials and to create healthy living spaces. At the end of the two-year program, students complete a major building project using cutting-edge methods. In 2013, an Algonquin Advanced Housing group, part of team Ontario, were pitted against the world’s major universities at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Solar Decathlon competition. They finished first in energy balance and engineering and sixth overall in the world behind Stanford University.

“It was quite an achievement,” said Edmondson. “But then, we do amazing things for a small campus here at Perth.”

For more information, visit algonquincollege.com/perth.

 This story was created by Content Works, Postmedia’s commercial content division, on behalf of Algonquin College.