Blueprint for Success: William Landry Builds a Future for his Family
“Don’t be afraid to be scared.” It’s unconventional advice William Landry wishes he could give his younger self. He grew up in Fort Providence in the Northwest Territories and after high school, he became a carpenter. What he means by not being afraid to be scared is that he thinks it’s good to be brave enough to try new things, to make mistakes and learn as you go. Trying your best and trying everything when you’re young lets you make the most of your future, in Landry’s opinion. In building houses, he’s been building a future for his family and he hopes others will follow his blueprint for success.
From his perspective, the trades offer many paths to success, not only through carpentry but also in things like mechanics. “Trades was my pursuit and I definitely enjoy it today,” he smiles, savouring his sweet success. The path to becoming a tradesperson is challenging but rewarding. It’s a four-year program which includes an apprenticeship to become a carpenter like him. He got into the construction field because carpentry is something that runs in his family. With two uncles who were carpenters, he grew up hanging around jobsites with his relatives. He enjoys working with tools and being hands on in the work that he does. As for how he got there, he describes himself as having fallen into the trade.
Making it as a tradesperson can be hard if you have a family and kids already, particularly if you need to be away from the people you love for school or to work to get your apprenticeship hours in. You have to go where the work is and sometimes that’s far from home. “It's pretty tough but if you just put your mind to it and pitter-patter get at ‘er, then before you know it's pretty much all done, right?” Landry reflects. He found when parents and siblings can pitch in it can make a difference, and the sacrifice of being away from home paid off in a long-term benefit when he reached his goal of becoming a carpenter like his uncles.
Homesickness was a problem for students in his program who also came from the North and were studying far from home. They would bunk together in apartments, get to know each other and push each other when quitting or going home early seemed like the best way to get over missing family and friends. The mutual support and encouragement made a difference when it came to fighting loneliness and helped them get through to the end so they could reach their goals.
In those situations, they found that two heads were better than one and having the benefit of another person’s perspective or opinion could be helpful. Classmates were happy to help each other when needed because it was clear that the isolation from all that was familiar was taking a toll on them. By comforting each other, they were able to push through the educational challenge away from their home communities and successfully complete their studies. Working together, they could qualify for work that they love.
While enjoyable, the work that he does is mentally and physically challenging, so he tries to stay healthy and maintain a healthy lifestyle. Landry stopped drinking in the last couple of years to focus on his career and on being a father and husband. He’s inspired by looking at houses and seeing how they were built, what techniques were used and reflecting on completed projects that he helped bring to life. He loves the way he can revisit past projects and get re-energized by what he has achieved. He would like to encourage all young people to pursue a trade.
William Landry wasn’t afraid to be scared and he ended up with a satisfying career. After growing up in Fort Providence, he chased his dream of becoming a tradesman. He was brave enough to try new things, make mistakes and learns as he goes. He tried his best and tried everything when he was young and it let him make the most of his future. He’s been building houses and building a future with his family, and shares his blueprint for success with tomorrow’s carpenters.
Thanks to Alison Tedford Seaweed for authoring this article.
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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.