“Everyone’s On The Same Team”: Liam’s Journey from High School to the Trades

“Where do you see yourself in five years?” It’s a question most people struggle to answer, no matter their age. But it can be even more difficult for high school students who are deciding their career paths before graduation. There are so many elements to consider, like day-to-day life, job security, financial stability, physical requirements, and learning opportunities.

For Liam Kincaid, he was in this exact boat. He remembers one teacher asking what he planned on doing for the future, and Liam’s honest answer was “I don’t know.” What he did know, however, was he preferred a job where he could be more active.

“Teachers always told me I couldn’t sit still in class,” he joked. “I was also on the football team, so I knew I enjoyed being active and part of that team environment.”

Liam looked to his teachers for advice on navigating his decision. It wasn’t until one of his trusted administrators explained more about the trades that Liam realized this exact type of career was available to him. The teacher also explained the school’s co-op program, which allowed him to enroll in the Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program. Through this partnership, Liam’s co-op hours would count towards his overall apprenticeship hours—putting him ahead of the game before he even graduated.

“I got about 320 hours from my co-op program, which was great,” he told us. “It meant that I had less to do when I graduated high school and I could get a job sooner.”

With the trades now on his mind, Liam still had to decide which direction to follow. He started out with masonry, but after talking with his family he landed on electrical. His teachers and football coaches were also able to provide some guidance as he made his decisions, as well.

“My co-op teacher was super helpful and set me up with everything I needed,” Liam explained. “Plus, my football coaches had some experience in construction so they were able to give me advice, too. Getting first-hand knowledge from them was really helpful and made me feel supported in my path.”

Liam worked on his co-op throughout the football season, and was hired on as an apprentice after the season ended. Now, as a second-year electrical apprentice, he’s still loving what he does and enjoying the ride.

“I get so much hands-on experience with this job, and I’m learning every single day,” he says. “No two days are the same, and being able to see what I’ve accomplished at the end of every day is extremely rewarding.”

The camaraderie he experienced with football has followed Liam into construction, as well.

“Everyone has my back,” he says. “There aren’t any egos and people aren’t trying to outdo you. Everyone is on the same page, on the same team, and when a problem comes up we work together to fix it.”

Teamwork is just one of the skills required for the job. Problem solving and patience are two big ones, and Liam also points out you need to be good with numbers. Though it’s not in his role yet—he leaves these bits to his supervisors—being good with numbers is crucial. Whether it’s for measuring or doing voltage calculations, a math-minded way of thinking is necessary.

Liam has found a home in construction, a place where he feels accepted and excited whenever he walks onto the job site. As for younger people who may be struggling to find a career path, Liam says construction is a viable option for many reasons.

“I always tell my friends who are still in high school, it’s a guaranteed job once you’re done your apprenticeship,” he explains. “Not many people can say that. Plus, you get paid to learn and go to school instead of the other way around.”

Construction has given Liam a career where he’s accepted, challenged, and encouraged at a young age. And it’s a career that will surely take him far.

Interested in a career like Liam’s?

Here are some resources that have helped him, or that he’s been involved with, throughout his career:

For more resources, including Canada-wide education opportunities and other career supports, visit our Talent Fits Here resource hub today.

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