On the Ground: The Shift

It’s one of those things most people don’t even think about: just how essential it can be for a young person to have a driver’s licence to get their first job.

Whether it’s commuting to a construction site, delivering pizzas, or, as is the case for Sebastian Larsen-Lopez, starting a 6am shift at McDonald’s, being able to drive yourself and not rely on parents or public transportation can be key.

But getting your driver’s licence can be more of a challenge for some than others. Access to vehicles to learn with and adults to teach you can be limited. There may be financial barriers to paying for lessons or the licencing process itself. The parental support may not be there to help tackle these issues.

Sebastian Larsen-Lopez heads out for his first driving lesson ever, with the help of the Construction Foundation of BC’s The Shift program.

That’s where the Construction Foundation of BC comes in. Through its program The Shift – From Care to Career, the Foundation helps young people in foster care prepare to enter the workforce, and gives them the tools they need to be set for success.

“We want to introduce them to skilled work and help them take those first steps that are going to make them employable,” said Construction Foundation Executive Director Abigail Fulton. “There’s nothing more wonderful than extending a helping hand to somebody who needs it.”

With a focus on entering the construction industry, The Shift provides a variety of services for these young workers, from mentorship to resume help, from skills training to developing professional connections. And one of their main focuses is providing driver’s training.

Sebastian works at McDonald’s now, but he is looking to expand his options and knows that obtaining his driver’s licence is one of the first steps. That’s why his foster mom Val Creed signed him up and received the funding through The Shift to have Sebastian take driving lessons with DriveWise BC.

Sebastian and his driving instructor go through a visual inspection before they hit the road.

For this new On the Ground video, we tagged along with Sebastian for his first driving lesson and spoke with him and Creed about what the opportunity to obtain his driver’s licence means to them and the doors it will open.

We also catch up with Fulton to find out more about the difference in lives The Shift is making and what it offers to young people to help start their working lives.

The Victoria Foundation is proud to have supported The Shift through a Community Grant and to see the difference the Construction Foundation of BC is making in lives of the program’s participants.

For more information about the program, please visit the Construction Foundation’s website here.