Ray Fischer came to Camosun in 1981 to develop the new Sheet Metal Worker apprenticeship program. His first assignment was to design the shop within the confines of a chalk line on the floor in the Jack White Building. Classes started in the fall of 1981. Many times, that first year, Ray was barely 24 hours ahead of the students as he wrote lesson plans and designed projects to match the learning outcomes.
In 1985, the construction industry was in a slump so the Sheet Metal Worker program was discontinued and Ray returned to industry.
By 1989, the construction industry had rebounded and Camosun re-established Sheet Metal Worker training. Ray returned to the college where, in 1999, he became the Chair of Mechanical and Metal Trades, coordinating the operations of the Welding, Sheet Metal, Plumbing, Heavy Duty Equipment, Automotive and Autobody programs.
In 2010, Trades training was getting considerable attention from the province. The college prepared a submission on future space requirements for trades education which ultimately led to the construction of the Centre for Trades Excellence and Innovation (CTEI). Ray was part of the committee that guided the consulting Architects and Engineers in the design of the new building. The committee traveled to new trades buildings at colleges across BC and Alberta and brought back ideas that were incorporated into the design of the CTEI.
Looking back, Ray marvels at the dramatic change in the Interurban Campus during his tenure – from the modest BC Vocational School located out in the country on a narrow road to the impressive, comprehensive facility it is today. Considering his years at the college, Ray says: “I have always felt Camosun was a very special place to work.”