Building Homes and Foundations of Education: Jacob Bluecoat Constructs a New Career in the Classroom
“Work harder and amazing things will come your way. That extra 5% of the hard work that you put in makes quite a difference,” suggests Jacob Bluecoat. He lives in London, Ontario with his wife and new baby boy. He recently graduated from Fanshawe College where he took a two year program learning how to do carpentry and renovations.
Bluecoat is proficient with power tools, measurements and knows a lot about home renovations. He was doing that kind of work until someone from TakingITGlobal reached out to him, knowing he was a teacher's assistant in Fort Severn for four years. Based on his skill set, he was invited to work with Connected North as a session support coordinator, helping school leads as much as he can.
Initially, he pursued carpentry because his dad was a carpenter. He would see his father working on roofs and fixing people’s houses and he even helped him every so often. It seemed to him that it would be a handy skill to learn, carpentry, how to measure things and create things with wood, how to drywall, mud, tape and paint. It isn’t his only talent, though. He learned to fix houses and build foundations for education.
Supervising and helping students with their academic work is something he learned to do as a teacher’s assistant. He watched teachers grabbing the Cisco unit from the storage room so their classes could connect with Connected North programming. Now everything has come full circle with him working in the Connected North program.
If he could give advice to any youth who might be thinking about leaving their community to go learn abroad, he says, “I think it's important that they know that it's a very big decision to leave home. They're going to be away from other families and friends that they normally see every single day. It's a really big commitment when they decide on leaving home and attending school. I think they should be mentally prepared, emotionally and spiritually.”
During his years in high school, Bluecoat had to leave his home community and he learned what it’s like to be away from home, homesick and missing familiar faces. While those aspects were hard, he also had the experience of being an explorer, seeing a new world and gaining independence to be able to do things independently, all while gaining a sense of accomplishment. He wants youth to be ready to be away from home, to ask for help when they need it and to talk to someone about their feelings of homesickness. “I think it's very important that you talk to people about how you feel because you don't want to have any of those emotions bottled up inside of you and blow up in the future,” he offers.
To stay on top of his own mental health, Bluecoat exercises and goes to the gym. He does deadlifts, squats, bench presses, anything fitness related, just like he did in high school. Fitness keeps him busy and he thinks that having a hobby can be very beneficial for youth, whether it’s chess or sports, whatever they are excited by.
When it comes to inspiration, Bluecoat is motivated by hardworking people he sees on social media. His Uncle Timothy who is an entrepreneur inspires him with the way he’s made things happen, building his shop from the ground up. Every single day, he saw his uncle treating his business like his baby, full of dedication. Entrepreneurs in general inspire him, seeing all the effort and hard work they put into making their businesses successful, taking a leap of faith and taking out loans to finance their dreams.
If he could share a message with his younger self it would be to stay on top of his academic work as much as he stayed on top of going to the gym. “Your education is absolutely important and you should get all your assignments in on time and not rush,” he would urge, hoping he could demonstrate his commitment to getting things done by handing assignments into his teachers. Bluecoat wishes he had worked harder academically. In closing, he urges youth to work hard at whatever they decide to do, whether at school, in the gym, or in their business.
Jacob Bluecoat has learned firsthand that in working harder, amazing things will come your way. He knows that extra 5% of the hard work that you put in makes quite a difference and it’s what’s led him to a new job he’s excited about. He once built and fixed houses and now he’s building a foundation for education in Northern and remote Indigenous communities, learning and helping as he goes.
Thanks to Alison Tedford Seaweed for authoring this article.
Future Pathways Fireside Chats are a project of TakingITGlobal's Connected North Program.
Funding is generously provided by the RBC Foundation in support of RBC Future Launch, and the Government of Canada's Supports for Student Learning program.