Happy (as he is known by his customers) is dedicated to helping young people get started in the mechanics trade because he knows how challenging it can be.
Since starting Kam’s Auto Service in Guelph five years ago, Happy has hired four placement students through Lutherwood’s Employment Services, providing each of them with mentorship and training opportunities to help point their new careers in the right direction.
When 17 year old Gabriel* came to Lutherwood’s Guelph office looking for work shortly after arriving in Canada from Eritrea, his Employment Consultant immediately noticed his passion for mechanics. However, concerned that his poor English skills would prevent him from finding work, she contacted Kam’s Auto Service to see if Happy could help.
Happy welcomed Gabriel onto his team despite the language barrier. “He wanted to be a mechanic and I wanted to help,” said Happy remembering his own aspirations to be a mechanic when he emigrated from India at just 13 years of age. “I spoke zero English when I arrived in Canada and I understand how hard it can be,” he reflected. “I could see myself in Gabriel and I just wanted to help him.”
Happy’s new summer student was eager to learn. He was the first to arrive each morning, waiting for Happy to let him in so he could get started. Although the language barrier was significant at first, Happy spent lunch hours chatting with him to help him develop his English skills. When they had difficulties communicating about a task, Gabriel would take him over to a car and demonstrate what he was trying to do.
“He was able to do everything while he was here. He got a lot of hands on experience that he wouldn’t get elsewhere,” said Happy. He also allowed Gabriel to borrow his tools rather than making him purchase his own, which is a large investment for a young person just starting out.
By the end of the summer, Happy saw a big change in both Gabriel’s language skills and confidence. When it came time, he didn’t want to leave, but Happy encouraged him to go back to school to earn his high school diploma. He believes Gabriel will be successful in Canada and hopes that his confidence and eagerness will help him thrive in his career.
Happy credits his past placement students for playing an important role in helping him get his business off the ground and supporting him with the day-to-day operations. He is also grateful for making the connection with Lutherwood’s Employment Services, which made it easy for him to find the right staff. “If it wasn’t for Lutherwood, it would have been really hard for me to start up,” he concluded.
Kam’s Auto Service was recognized at the 2018 Annual Guelph Wellington Employer Recognition Awards by Lutherwood for its significant contributions to helping young people like Gabriel.
*client’s name has been changed to protect their privacy
"Lutherwood is successful because of our compassion for people, our belief in the value of diversity, and our shared vision of an inclusive community where everyone experiences mental wellness, meaningful employment, and a safe place to live."