“As a young child you’d always find me outside playing in the sandbox,” said grade 12 BCSS student Lukas Baxmann.
When he was in high school in Westlock, Alberta his sandbox was crowded. In Westlock, located 100 km north of Edmonton, the school has 900 kids. So when he arrived at BCSS in 2010 there was a lot of “downsizing” – as Lukas describes it.
“It was definitely different,” he said. “But I really liked it. This feels better – a better environment.”
This summer he plans to return to Alberta where he will use his network of friends to make connections, rent a place and get a job in the oil fields so he can make some money before he heads back to school this fall.
Because he grew up in the farming industry he has a lot of different abilities and skills to offer to an employer. “My dad has always been a grain farmer, so from a very young age I was sitting on a combine or a tractor,” Lukas says. He is also capable of doing the basic mechanics required to keep the equipment on the job too.
He is in the fire suppression course, which will give him both credits and several certificates that will bolster his resume.
Lukas is both literate and fluent in both English and German.
Since moving to BC he’s been kept busy helping the family build their ranch. So far they’ve built a house, a garage with a second floor apartment, a full shed and two smaller sheds. They live totally off the grid, powering the farm with generators and solar panels.
Lukas also acts as chauffeur since the family farm is 60 km up Christian Valley. He drives himself and his brothers and sisters down to 29 km where the school bus picks them up. That’s one advantage of coming from Alberta – he had his license before his peers here in BC.
When asked what his favourite course was Lukas immediately answered strength conditioning. “It got me started on weight loss and I lost 50 pounds in the last year.”
He has already been accepted at Lakeland College in Vermillion, Alberta where he plans to study pre-employment welding, which he sees as a good field to go into because there is currently a shortage of welders.
“Right now I just want to get the basics of it and find myself an employer. Maybe go up north and work in the oil fields – just go step-by-step. “
While he is hoping to get work in Alberta this summer he is open to offers here in the Boundary as well. For qualifications he cites experience in heavy-duty mechanics, welding, construction and hard work.
“I really like working with cows and running equipment – loaders and trucks.”
“I like to get out in nature,” he said – recalling a recent hike he’d taken with his dad. “From one mountain peak to the next and all the way down the mountain – just me and my dad – yakking away.”