Click the pic to view our holiday greeting!

Trying out the Trades

As a young person looking to establish a career, Connor had faced some challenges.  He was working for Teleperformance when the business closed its doors in 2015.  Then he needed surgery which hindered his job search efforts for a while.  When he was ready to work, he came to YES for assistance.   Most of Connor’s experience was in customer service, but when he came in for a meeting with his counsellor, Dawn Tees, she noticed that he showed a lot of enthusiasm when he talked about his landscaping experience.  He really enjoyed physical labour and working outdoors.  The conversation led Dawn to check an e-mail that had circulated that morning.  Rene St. Jacques, owner and operator of Best Buy Roofing and Contracting was going to be conducting interviews at YES that day.  She asked Connor if he would be interested in trying his hand at roofing.  He was up for it and Dawn added him to the interview list.    

As a business owner in the roofing trade for almost 18 years, Rene St. Jacques has learned to trust his gut when it comes to selecting new employees.   “When I met Connor, I just had a feeling he would do well”, Rene said.  After asking Connor some key questions, he hired him on the spot. 

But Rene knows that selection and hiring is just the beginning of the process.  As with many trades, there is a trial period to find out if a new employee is a good fit.  It’s a trial period for the job seeker too.  Sometimes the physical demands are too much.  Sometimes the day-to-day tasks are different than expected.  A trial period can help determine if you want to pursue a trade long-term.  For some people it just clicks.  Connor was one of those people.

When we caught up with Connor and Rene in November at what will probably be their last roofing job this season, Rene had great praise for Connor.  “This is hard physical work.  Connor jumped right in and continues to impress me with his work ethic.  He’ll readily try anything.  It’s a breath of fresh air.”  Transportation was also a challenge for Connor, and Rene praised his efforts there as well, “Connor would sometimes take two buses to get to the work site and he was always on time.  I even gave him a key to the shop, something I rarely do with new employees.”

YES utilized Employment Ontario program funding to get Connor trained in “Working at Heights -Principles of Fall Protection”, which is a provincial requirement for all individuals working in the roofing trade.  After starting with Best-Buy, Connor made himself available seven days a week to meet the needs of a job that is always weather-dependant.  Now he looks back on the season with the confidence that comes from a job well done. 

Rene is grateful to have a fully trained employee lined up for the next roofing season and he plans to put Connor to work on some of the interior renovation jobs that Best Buy Roofing and Contracting picks up during the winter.  Congratulations to Connor, and thanks to Rene for providing an opportunity for a local young person to “try out a trade”.

If you are considering an apprenticeship, visit YES Employment Services.  We can help you explore a number of employment and training opportunities.  Visit our e-sources webpage for apprenticeship resources including the following:

Career Exploration and Resources- Apprenticeship

I want to Work in the Trades - Employment Ontario

Ontario College of Trades Earn While You Learn 


Skills Ontario

Support to Non-EI Eligible Apprentices

Loans for Tools Program

The Tradesperson’s Tool Deduction

The Apprenticeship Incentive Grant

The Apprenticeship Completion Grant

The Apprenticeship Completion Bonus in Non-Red Seal Trades

The Apprenticeship Scholarship

This Employment Ontario program is funded by the Government of Ontario.

Pathway to the Skilled Trades Night

In November, the region’s focus turned to the trades.  Westgate CVI hosted this year’s Pathways to the Skilled Trades night on November 9th organized by the Thunder Bay Chamber of Commerce Education Committee.   YES Employment Services and Northwest Employment Works were on hand to provide information on the apprenticeship assistance available through Employment Ontario programing. 

For the month of November, YES management and staff have been generously donating cash, food,  personal care items, toys and goodies to fill up our holiday hamper.  Two lucky customers will each win a hamper in the month of December.   One hampers will be given away in Thunder Bay, and one hamper will be given away at our Regional Office.    We will draw for the hampers on December 21st and the winners can pick up their items between December 22nd and 24th. Just fill out a ballot in our Resource Area to win!



Smiles over Miles

Brianna Manning Mayfield, a first year student at Confederation College, wanted to do something to give back this holiday season.   She created “Smiles over Miles”, an initiative to gather and put together small care packages to send to the children in remote Northern Ontario.  The cost of living is high in these communities and Brianna’s idea offered Thunder Bay a way to reach out and extend holiday cheer by sending up small presents for the children in these communities. 

Wasaya Airways generously offered to fly up the donations and when YES Employment Services was approached to be a drop off site, we were happy to be part of this unique and generous initiative.  Thanks to Brianna for including us in your Children’s Christmas Drive!

Visit Us In

Walk-ins Welcome