Before entering into the trades, John was studying to become a digital graphic artist focusing on the music industry. He created artwork for album covers and flyers, but was struggling to make enough money to pay his monthly bills. He eventually found himself unemployed and went looking for work through WorkBC Employment Services Centre. There he met with a Case Manager who suggested that he enrol in a trades training program. At first he was apprehensive as he had never used hand tools before, but after an interview with Tradeworks he officially enrolled in the program. After his first day in class, he realized that he really liked being back in a classroom environment and learning something new every day.

Having never picked-up a hand tools in his life, everything was brand new to him. He felt that art and woodworking were two completely different worlds; however, as time went by, he realized that having a high level of eye precision and hand coordination were skills he used in graphic arts and were transferable into the trades.

He appreciated the classroom theory and hands-on training in a realistic shop and work setting. John hated math in high school, but at Tradeworks he found learning math enjoyable and interesting for the first time as he was able to apply the lessons learned in the classroom directly towards the projects he was building in the workshop. He really began to see the value in his education at Tradeworks.

Now, John has a new motivation in life and a reason to get up every day. His self-esteem has grown substantially as he continues to develop on a personal and professional level. He feels mentally and physically healthier now that he has a purpose in life. As a program graduate, John has gained valuable work experience and last year he built five gazebos through Tradeworks social enterprise program. He is quite proud of that accomplishment knowing that his skill level is at a place where he is able to create projects on a grand scale. He feels a great deal of satisfaction giving back to his community and helping people in need. Working on BC Housing projects through the support of Tradeworks social enterprise program is something he also finds really fulfilling.

John has a bright future ahead of him. With his certification completed and two years of work experience added to his list of achievements, he feels certain that he can now find steady employment anywhere or return to school to further his education in the trades. His next goal is to enrol in the joinery program at BCIT and feels confident that his training from Tradeworks has prepared him for higher education. After that, his goal is to start a renovation company with his father on Sunshine Coast in British Columbia.

Program graduate: December 2012