Meet Lisa. She’s been a hydrovac truck driver with Badger Daylighting for about a year now. She’s got stable hours, loves the work she does and has built a strong client base, all with the support of a team who respect her and are nothing but flexible with her need to balance her parental responsibilities with the job. How did she land this amazing gig? Through YWCA Changing Gears.
Before Lisa found Changing Gears and later, Badger Daylighting, her employment history had been quite diverse. She’d worked with the municipal governments of Vancouver and Port Coquitlam doing park work, and even managed a snowboard shop for eight years. She enjoyed what she did, but there was always one issue - that it was all seasonal. She would be laid off at the end of each season and find herself looking for a new job, again and again. A single mom at the time, Lisa realized she needed something a little more stable.
That’s when Changing Gears, YWCA’s free 23-week Class 1 Truck Driving Training Program for Women, came into the picture. Lisa had learned about the program through her local WorkBC Centre, and describes her experience with it as “phenomenal.” She was part of a class of eight women, who, while very different, came to support and encourage one another through their six months together.
“There was lots of camaraderie. There was also a lot of support from the staff… it was a really safe, relaxing place to know you were going every morning. Even if everything else in your life was up in the air. ”
Lisa was also given access to various supports and services (such as gas cards, daycare for her son and help in ensuring her employment insurance was coming through) to enable her to not only get to class, but to feel safe while she was there and confident that her son was receiving the care he needed. She said that whatever obstacles turned up in the way of her full participation in the program, the YWCA and WorkBC made sure they were taken care of.
As soon as Lisa graduated from Changing Gears, she was snapped up by Badger Daylighting. And today, you can’t wipe the smile off her face when she talks about her team, the program and how it’s changed her life.
Changing Gears is now taking applicants for its next intake, which begins on March 23, 2020. Learn more here.