Customers who rent vehicles from Discount Car and Truck Rentals in Fredericton can be certain that their rentals will be spotlessly clean. It takes a person with a talent for paying attention to detail to ensure that the vehicles are road-worthy. Steve Laurie is just that person.
When I arrived at Discount to do the interview for this article, we were warmly greeted by Steve, a polite and engaging young man. He was hard at work cleaning the rental vehicles that had been returned to the rental garage. The sun was reflecting off the cars that had been cleaned, buffed and shined to perfection. Music was playing in the background and fresh air was flowing through the sun lit space.
Steve, cleans many cars a day, continued his work as he shared his story about how he came to work for the car rental business.
Even as a high school student, Steve was highly motivated to find a job. In grade 10, he was introduced to Jon Lister, former Transition Facilitator with the New Brunswick Association for Community Living and now Director of Labour Market Facilitation.
“Through getting to know Steve, it was easy to tell he wanted to work and was willing to do what it took to get him to where he wanted to be,” says Jon.
Through the Going to Work program, high school students learn skills necessary to find work. Transition Facilitators get to know each student and learn what their interests are, what their strengths are and what types of supports might be needed to ensure that they are successful after high school. Steve jumped in with both feet and learned skills such as how to prepare a resume, how to handle job interviews and about workplace conduct. Job shadowing was also an important aspect of the program, as it gave him exposure to real work experience and a work environment.
Through the Going to Work program, Steve found a job as a dishwasher for a popular, high-end restaurant. “I liked working there, but it didn’t work out, because it was too fast of a pace,” Steve says.
“It just wasn’t the right fit for me.”
With the support of an employment agency, Jobs Unlimited, he found a job opportunity at Discount Car and Truck Rentals. He worked with a job coach to learn the job and then after only two weeks he was able to work independently. He also continued to receive support from the staff at Discount.
Steve was originally hired as part time staff to clean cars, but because of his strong work ethic and his ability to master his job tasks, he was hired full time. His employer even added new responsibilities to his position. In addition to cleaning the rentals, Steve now picks up and drops off customers.
When asked what he valued most about working, Steve says being independent is important to him.
“My older brother and sister live on their own and I’m learning what it’s like to be on my own too. I want to pay my own bills and have my own things, but I also like saving the money that I make.”
Jon Lister says Steve had all of the right supports, a supportive family, supportive employment agency and the supportive employer, but the key factor was Steve’s motivation to be successful.
“He did all the hard work and it paid off, not only for him, but for his employer,” says Lister.
Steve has graduated from high school and is now an adult. He no longer requires supports from Jobs Unlimited, and continues to receive occasional support from the staff at Discount.
Steve offers the following advice to others who are looking for work after high school, “You have to learn about how to apply for a job, how to do the job and you have to find the right fit.”