Marvelous first came to EMBERS after hearing about it at the Strive program. Having aged out of the foster care system, Marvelous was in search of ways to support himself. After hearing about the potential for career growth in the construction industry, Marvelous went to the EMBERS Staffing office in Surrey and has been with EMBERS ever since. We sat down with Marvelous to learn more about his story. Read our Q&A with Marvelous below!
Can you please tell me us a little bit about your situation before EMBERS?
When I was 19 I had just aged out of care. I was a foster kid. I was on an AYA (Agreement with a Young Adult) and I couldn’t survive on that. I had to make a change. I heard that beginning labourers make around $15/16 per hour at the time. That was already more than anything I could find part time. I heard of EMBERS through a different program called Strive which I was referred to by my social worker. Strive was in Downtown Vancouver. I came in for an orientation at EMBERS and was set up with PPE. Soon after, I was sent to a site. I liked it and I thought okay, I could do this and it pays way more than a part-time retail associate. I did well, got promoted and received a pay raise. After I continued doing well, I was sent to another job site as a labourer at StreetSide. They liked me so they wanted me on as a Carpenter Helper.
When they had said that they wanted me as a Carpenter Helper, EMBERS informed me of the opportunity to have my first year of carpentry (level 1) paid for in addition to a set of tools to get started. That really motivated me to a) see this is a potential future and b) allowed me to literally go and start on my own. My initial plan was to become a carpenter and general contractor and scale up from there.
After some time, I was at another site for two months. Unfortunately, during this time period I went snowboarding and dislocated my shoulder. This meant I could no longer do any heavy labour. At that time, Lynne [EMBERS Director of Training Programs & Partnership Development] really came to help me and helped find me work that I was able to do with my injury. I took this time as an opportunity to further develop my skillset and took part in the BladeRunners program in addition to getting my Hoist, Scissor Lift and Forklift tickets. I really loved the BladeRunners program – it was engaging, I liked the activities.
Currently, I’ve shifted gears on my career path because of health issues. Due to disc degeneration in my neck, I realized that being a carpenter was not going to be a feasible career. I decided to switch gears and go the electrical route. Right now I am upgrading some courses that I didn’t graduate with in high school and am registered to start electrical school at the beginning of 2024. Lynne helped me switch over and sponsored this program. The program is six months and apprenticeship is included.
What impact has EMBERS had on you?
EMBERS has impacted me because I aged out of the system so I didn’t have a way to survive and be an adult in British Columbia. EMBERS allowed me to be an adult and be independent and self sufficient. They have allowed me to go from boy to man in terms of my salary. I went into construction and had no plan whatsoever. Lynne and some of the other carpenters I met showed me that this was a potential path.
What would you say to others who are in a similar situation to yours?
Do not believe the stigma behind construction. It’s an opportunity to really be able to survive and live a comfortable life in British Columbia. This is a path that will allow you to have a decent living and plan and save for the future if you stay consistent and really work on the opportunity. I urge people to understand that they really have their future in their hands and EMBERS is willing to facilitate their goals if they choose to make it a reality in the first place. Where there’s a will there’s a way. If you have the will, EMBERS will help you find your way.
Any advice to new workers starting out with EMBERS Staffing?
Stay consistent, have a pleasant attitude, be personable and be efficient at work and they will continue to ask for you back.
Anything else you would like to add?
I am so grateful to Lynne and all the other staff at the Surrey office for helping me get to where I am. Lynne has been huge in believing in me which has helped me believe in me as well. And also a huge thank you to the staff at Surrey EMBERS for finding me work when I am in need.
A huge thank you to Marvelous for sharing his story! We wish Marvelous the best in all of his future endeavours and know he will be a success.