LOWER TRURO - Desiree Frame has proven she’s not afraid to get dirty to get the job done.
The 16-year-old from Brookfield has spent the summer honing her skills in the paving and construction industry thanks to the Building Futures for Youth program. The initiative helps high school students explore careers in the construction industry and offers safety training from the Nova Scotia Community College, paid summer employment in the construction industry, and the chance to earn up to three co-operative education credits.
For Frame, it meant working at Will-Kare Paving in Lower Truro for the entire summer, clocking on average of 55 hours a week.
“This is an awesome opportunity for my future. There are so many people out there looking for jobs and because of this I know this is what I want to do and now I have experience early and made contacts,” said Frame, who is entering Grade 11 at South Colchester Academy in Brookfield.
The experience has been an eye opener. Frame had a passion for “heavy machines and construction” after her step-father, who runs an excavator, “got me hooked.” However, going to work at 6:30 a.m. for a 12-hour shift took some getting used to.
“I set up multiple alarms to get up on time because I’m not a morning person, but I’m getting used to it,” she laughed, adding she’s saving her money for a car. “And I don’t mind the long days. I’m a hard worker and I don’t mind getting dirty during some of the jobs.”
The teenager has had a variety of tasks at Will-Kare, including equipment maintenance, grating and levelling gravel before paving, asphalt patching, learning how to use a roller and other machinery, and knowing how to complete a project from beginning to end.
“I was surprised how many steps there are. It’s a lot more work than I thought,” said Frame, adding it’s also been satisfying to prove a point that women are capable of doing traditional men’s jobs.
“Women can definitely do the same work. The hardest here was the heavy lifting because I’m not used to it, like lifting 250 pound tires, but I did it.”
Andrew Lake, senior manager at Will-Kare, said it’s the fourth year the business has participated in the Building Futures For Youth program, which is a partnership between the Chignecto-Central Regional School Board, Construction Association of Nova Scotia, businesses in the construction sector, Nova Scotia Community College, Nova Scotia Department of Education and Early Childhood Development and the Nova Scotia Department of Labour and Workforce Development.
He said the initiative is beneficial for the business as well for a number of reasons.
“It’s about embracing more prospective employees and sustaining the labour market. There’s a hard time finding people to work in the construction business because it’s seasonal and demanding,” said Lake. “It also helps provide growth for the industry with (training) a skilled workforce for the future.”
LOWER TRURO – A high school student from Brookfield is learning what it’s like to be in the real world of construction.
Desiree Frame, a Grade 10 student at South Colchester Academy in Brookfield, is working with Will-Kare Paving as part of the Building Futures for Youth program.
According to the Chignecto-Central Regional School Board, the youth initiative is an opportunity for high school students to explore careers in the construction industry to assist their decision-making regarding post-secondary options while offering them co-operative education credits.
In Desiree's case, her work term was supposed to last eight weeks, but the experience has been so beneficial for her and Will-Kare that they have kept her on the entire summer and will continue to employ her right up to the start of school.
The Truro Daily News is meeting with Desiree and Will-Kare representatives this morning to explore the story further.