David Steeves went from builder to volunteer for the Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue.

From builder to search and rescue volunteer

Working on a building project for RCM-SAR leads to interest as volunteer

Having bounced around white collar jobs for a decade, David Steeves was done with office work.

After suffering another layoff last year, he went to his local WorkBC Employment Services Centre and found his fit on a government-funded training project to build a training centre for the Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue (RCM-SAR) for eight months.

On the RCM-SAR project, Steeves, 31, got the experience he needed to get a good job in the trades. He helped clear the ground, build the foundation, frame the building and tried his hand at plumbing as well.

“Before I started, I thought carpentry was just working with wood. But on this project, you work with wood, you work with metal, you work with a bit of everything,” Steeves said.

The contractor, Jason McFadden of McFadden Contracting, was so impressed with Steeve’s work that he hired him as a full-time apprentice carpenter, thanks, in part, to a provincial wage subsidy offered through WorkBC. The wage subsidy gives his employer an added incentive to offer the young man full-time work and helps pay part of Steeves’ salary.

“It has been a real pleasure to work with David, and we are delighted he is pursuing a career in carpentry,” Jason McFadden said. “From the start he took a keen interest in learning carpentry techniques. He has picked up new skills very quickly and he has become a valued member of our construction team, so much so that we have hired him as a carpenter apprentice.”

Through the training project, Steeves also took workshops on interviewing, resume building and pointers on how to look for work.

“I wanted to make sure I was never unemployed again,” Steeves said, confident that those days are now over. “I had been working two years here, two years there but I was always the last guy in and the first one to get laid off.

“I think the Job Creation Partnerships are a great idea.”

So does Jim Lee, president of RCM-SAR, “This program has helped us accelerate our building project so that we can improve our training for British Columbia’s marine rescue volunteers even sooner than we’d planned. We are really impressed with the work that the participants have done, and are proud to have provided an opportunity for them to gain work experience and gain new skills.”

Before he got into carpentry through WorkBC, Steeves had decided that office administrative work wasn’t for him and he was looking to pursue the trades when his WorkBC case worker mentioned the Job Creation Partnership at RCM-SAR. The training facility is scheduled to open in the fall.

David’s so keen on the project and the rescue training centre, he’s also joined RCM-SAR as a volunteer crew member.