Caleb Erskine is a grade 12 student already on the road to Red Seal certification as an automotive service technician. He credits Peter Dulhanty, his teacher and mentor at Musquodoboit Rural High, with “pushing me to get where I am.”
It all began with TestDrive, an initiative of the Nova Scotia Apprenticeship Agency in partnership with the Automotive Sector Council, Education and Early Childhood Development, and Nova Scotia Community College to introduce youth to career options in the skilled trades. TestDrive led Caleb to a youth apprenticeship placement last summer at Atlantic Acura.
Apprehensive about the job placement, what Caleb found was that people wanted to help. They took an interest in me, and I felt part of a team.” In recent years Caleb had been lacking confidence, “heading down a bad path and not listening in school.” Now he has the hours required to begin the technical portion of his apprenticeship.
Caleb says his job placement “yanked me out of the spot that I was in. I realized, this is the kind of people I want to be with. I’m one hundred percent happier than I was about myself a few years ago.”
That happiness has begun to help others. Caleb has talked at Parent-Teacher meetings at his school about his experience. “It’s completely opened my eyes. It changed me, made me mature,” he says. On a personal level, “I’ve done a 180.”