Back to school

A measuring project

2017 was the year I went back to school to start an Industrial Mechanic (Millwright)* program at Kwantlen Polytechnic University's Cloverdale Campus. The campus sits between the outwards expansions of the cities of Surrey and Langley on the plains south of the Fraser River. The area around the campus highlights the tension in the Lower Mainland between the facts that we live on incredibly valuable residential land and incredibly fertile land, so the farms are encroached upon on most sides by the types of suburban developments that confuse my urban brain with their sameness and repetition.

I was attracted to the program because I've always preferred working with my hands, and on my feet, to other types of work, as any teacher who has seen how I melt in a desk can attest to. Millwrights are the generalists of the industrial world, needing to know enough about machining, metal working, welding, rigging etc. to either set up or maintain factories, mills and power plants. So far I've enjoyed the work and lessons quite a lot, since after a month focused on workplace safety, the course became a series of practical projects in our shop to teach us how to use machine tools safely and accurately with occasional lectures and exams to document our progress. I'll be finishing up with the Foundation and my Level 1 in March, and I'm already looking for an employer with whom I'll continue as an apprentice.


*As the BC government like to call us.

Images: (Top) A bracket, made for projects on layout, hand tools, saws, grinders, and milling machines; (Right) Meher on the way back from Haida Gwaii last September, visiting with John in Vancouver. Meher and John, Vancouver September 2017