Shifting careers: how a SK student went from drawing blueprints to a career in disaster response

At the beginning of last summer Josh Windsor was a computer draftinPhoto of Joshg student; by the fall he had completely changed his career direction and was starting his first semester working towards a degree in Emergency Management. He credits the change to a Canadian Red Cross volunteer experience where he coloured with children in a disaster shelter.

“For whatever reason I was put in charge of the children’s colouring table,” Josh said. “I didn’t have any experience with kids so I didn’t think it was going to be that interesting, but it was amazing! The kids had such a positive outlook despite their situation.”

At the end of his volunteer shift he went back to his room and signed up for the Bachelor of Emergency and Security Management course at The Justice Institute of British Columbia. “I compared the work I was doing to help people affected by the wildfire with my summer job of drawing rebar blueprints,” he reflected recently.

“It was clear to me that I wanted to work in emergency management. It was going to be a much more rewarding career path for me.”
Photo of Josh
Josh started volunteering for the Red Cross in 2018 and quickly proved to be a natural in the disaster response field. He learns quickly, is empathetic and dedicated to doing whatever is needed to help. It was clear to Red Cross staff that this was a career field he could excel in.

This summer Josh became a student employee with the Red Cross in Saskatchewan supporting the emergency response team where he continues to develop his skills and experience in disaster response. When asked what he recommends to others who are looking to get into the field of the emergency management he says, “Just start volunteering. It’s low commitment. If you don’t have time to do one of the responses that’s fine, but if you just start volunteering, getting yourself out there, there really is a pathway through volunteering into a career in emergency management.”

Find out more about volunteering in emergency management with the Canadian Red Cross.
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