Success Story: Ethan Lloyd

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Ethan Lloyd is living his dream as an apprentice carpenter and aspires to complete his certification and travel the world with his skills. 

Ethan Lloyd's face lights up when he speaks about his work as a carpenter apprentice. He enjoys everything about being a carpenter, especially some of the aspects that most people might dislike, such as being outside in the elements, no matter what season. 

"I love working in the rain, in the mud and the snow. I love all that messy stuff...I've always grown up where you're outside no matter what. You know, rain or shine, you're not going to melt out there." But aside from being in the elements, Ethan really enjoys the collaborative and dynamic nature of his work. At the time of the interview, he was working on a residential construction site in central Courtenay (Vancouver Island) with a team that is building  homes for its community members. 

Ethan's enthusiasm for hands-on work runs in the family; he grew up helping his grandfather on projects and his mom always had a vision for a family of tradespeople. She is realizing that dream as her sons pursue careers in carpentry (Ethan), plumbing and electrician. Ethan's path to a carpentry apprenticeship started in middle school through woodworking class and then starting the Youth Program pathway in grade 11 through a Trades Sampler. He did his work experience component at Knappett Projects and has continued working there and doing his technical training along the way. Currently in Level 3, Ethan plans to take his Level 4 training soon and write the Red Seal exam by the end of the year. 


For him, certification is not just a new line on his resume, but a qualification he will have for life, opening opportunities to travel and work around the world. "It'd be a huge achievement. Feels like that's something I have for the rest of my life. You know, that was another big thing that made me want to go into trades is doing it where we are. We're so blessed to have that opportunity that if I got my ticket here, I could go to India and I can work as a carpenter there. I could go traveling for years and pick up jobs...That's a super big part of it for me."

Beyond his Carpentry Red Seal, Ethan expressed interest in picking up a second trade and perhaps starting his own business. He has had some great experiences at Knappett to run some small projects including his proudest moment two years ago: "We were at a job, and we had the whole foundation ready to pour, when the foreman came up and told me that I was running it and let me pick all the people to help. We ran that pour that day and it went amazing — everyone was happy. That was definitely cool being in charge."

He credits the support and camaraderie of his colleagues for keeping him motivated, even when things don’t go as planned, "the guys, the crew, just everyone being so happy. I mean, we all get mad at each other, everyone has their day, but just the help and the understanding from everyone around here gives you a sense of community for going to work and really makes me want to be at work every day."

And Ethan recognizes how being on the apprenticeship pathway has helped change his life from when he considered himself a less focused and more unruly student. "This really did kind of change my life too, and that it kind of brought me down to earth a bit...It really helped. I know I noticed a change in myself from that time. But, you know, you don't you don't see it as a kid until you get older and you look back at like, wow, I was like, I don't know how I made it through those years."

While not everyone might not have found their niche as quickly as Ethan, he's keen to encourage students and others to be open to a career in skilled trades: "Just keep an open mind. Be willing to learn to show up with a good attitude. Things don't happen right away. It takes time, energy, patience."