As a construction worker, Lucas had confidence. He was talented and experienced. He had more than 20 years of skilled labour work under his belt, gained wherever life took him. He started his trade in Sudbury then moved to Ottawa, then Toronto. Finally he settled in Deep River, Northwest of Petawawa. Even with all that was positive in his career, Lucas wanted to work year-round, and he felt stuck in a seasonal field. He got lucky a couple of years and was kept on during the winter, but most years, when the weather got colder and the snow started to fly, Lucas was facing another lay-off. When the pandemic hit, Lucas struggled to find any work at all. Construction is not an essential service. 2020 had been rough. Now 2021 was also looking uncertain. Finally, on a cold day in March, with yet another lockdown threatening the spring start for construction, Lucas decided enough was enough.
“I just jumped in my car and started to drive. I love driving. I call it my highway therapy,” Lucas said. “I drove for 15 hours until I couldn’t drive anymore.” Lucas had dreams of going out West, but he wasn’t sure if his little car would make it. After the 15 hours, Lucas needed to sleep, so he pulled in to the Terry Fox Lookout to rest. In the morning, he woke up, looked up at Terry’s statue and felt inspired. It was all about perseverance. Nobody had persevered like Terry Fox. Lucas thought about how he had persevered through years of seasonal work, and this was where it was all going to change.
Lucas explained his thoughts that morning, “Thunder Bay is a port city. There are so many products and commodities coming and going.” Lucas knew that getting trained as a truck driver was the key to year-round employment and it was something that he knew he would love. He was determined to get that training.
Lucas had some familiarity with Employment Ontario programs and delivery sites, so he found YES Employment Services pretty quickly. Connecting to Second Career funded re-training became his mission. YES supports individuals as they develop their Second Career applications and we submit the applications to the Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development on behalf of our clients. YES Career Development Practitioner, Michelle Bell supported Lucas as he prepared his application. Putting together a Second Career application is a process. There is information to gather, and paperwork to compile. Lucas was focused on his goal and completed the process in record time. Michelle submitted the application to the Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development for consideration, and Lucas’ re-training funding was approved.
Lucas headed into training at Transport Training Centres of Canada with drive and purpose. “I’ve been absorbing it all”, Lucas explains. He shines as a student. His passion for the road showed as he excelled in the program. With his written test complete, he is heading into his road test determined to take control of his future. We know that there will be success wherever the road takes Lucas. His story is a great example of how competent, confident workers can utilize Employment Programs to reach their employment and training goals and change the course of their careers. “If I can do it, anybody who wants it can!” Lucas tells anyone who will listen, adding “Don’t be afraid to push for your goals, help is out there, there are resources and programs and funding grants available to assist you. Seek them out. YES is the perfect place to start. They helped me, they can help you too!”
We are feeling optimistic that sustained economic recovery is on the horizon. If your career was affected by the pandemic, now is a good time to take stock and look at your options. Our Career Development Practitioners can work with you to take inventory of your experience and your skill set. We can help you explore the local labour market and re-training options. If you are ready to take control of your career, take advantage of free professional assistance. Just call, text or e-mail to connect.