As a teenager in high school, it’s not uncommon to be confused about which future career path to follow. Noah Deveau was one of those students who was unsure what his next move was – until he heard about the Construction Association of Nova Scotia’s (CANS) Building Futures for Youth (BFY) program.

“The reason that I applied to the BFY program was because I wanted the experience it could provide me with, but also give me a summer employment opportunity in my hometown of Yarmouth, Nova Scotia,” says Deveau.

CANS’ BFY program offers grade 10 and 11 students the opportunity to safely explore careers in the construction sector through paid summer work terms. Through the program students gain experience in a construction industry occupation, earn co-operative education credits, register as construction trades pre-apprentices, make connections with industry, become eligible for scholarship opportunities, and most importantly, gather information to help make informed choices about their future career.

Deveau participated in the BFY program during the summer of 2016 and completed his work placement with Graves Electrical. In the fall, he went back to school but continued to work part-time with the company. After graduating from Grade 12 in January of 2017, he was hired back to work full-time.

“I’m still employed with the same company I completed my BFY work placement with,” says Deveau. “Since I started working with Graves, I haven’t had a bad experience with them and I can honestly say that I’m enjoying my employment. It truly is a great place to work.”

Deveau only needs 5,000 more hours to become a certified electrician – and he’s only 18 years old.

Employers in Nova Scotia’s construction industry recognize the need to develop and retain the future workforce. By participating in BFY, employers are supporting high school students in their pursuit of a career in construction. The program enables employers to identify potential future employees, contribute to the sustainability of the construction workforce and much more.

“As an employer, you have to remember that we were all in a student’s shoes at one point in our lives and wondered what our future careers looked like,” says Peter Graves, owner of Graves Electrical. “The BFY program provides us with an opportunity to give a young person a chance at meaningful employment. Plus, as a BFY employer, we get the first crack at the talent available to our workforce.”

Graves has participated as a BFY Host Employer for five years and has had a total of nine students.

“You’ll never forget the impression a young person has on your organization,” says Graves. “Participating in the BFY program is a small price we pay to hire talented workers – it’s an investment in your business.”

Deveau says the part of his job he loves the most is seeing something come together from start to finish. “The feeling of accomplishment I get when I finish a project – and knowing I’m the one who completed it – is such a great feeling.”

“Noah is a hard worker and dedicated to doing a good job, and he’s well-liked by our employees and BFY students completing their placements with us,” says Graves. “He is a great example of the type of success that comes out of the BFY program.”

Graves advice to students considering taking the BFY program is simple. “To get the most out of your experience in the program, talk to your teachers and explore your options. Ask a lot of questions, put some thought into, and take the time to research your endeavours.”

Looking back, Deveau recognizes how much the BFY program helped shaped his career and he wants other students considering taking the BFY program to know what a great opportunity it is.

“Don’t be afraid of trying something new. When an opportunity like the BFY program comes around don’t be scared to try it – you could surprise yourself and it could turn out to be something you actually love and that you could see yourself doing every day for the rest of your life.”

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