Living in our small town can be professionally tough for a lot of people. This is especially true for people, like myself, trying to begin their careers. We have all the energy, talent and ambition to thrive, yet just cannot find the person or company to open the door for us in this region. The solution, we are told, is to move to where the work is or make your own job.
While moving to the tar sands would be a very practical solution career-wise for a tradesman, it would be a horrible choice for my family. Nelson is home. We have family roots and a great support system. Many folks can claim the same about our town. So, instead of chasing the money in a place we don’t want to go, we try to make our way here, in our chosen town. It is hard, oh so hard, to have the potential to become a skilled tradesman yet not be able to practice for lack of opportunity. But if everybody just packed up and left town for lack of jobs, then Nelson, and many other small towns would slowly disappear.
Now, I didn’t go to school to learn a skill I won’t use. And I sure am not going to leave this town. This means I am going to have to earn my own way. I need to make my own job. But here I hit a wall. I don’t have a workshop. I don’t have all the tools. This initial investment is the barrier to entry for many people in town. And if you fail you lose everything you invested.
A Nelson makerspace is the answer. A makerspace is a shared area that carpenters, machinists, inventors, hackers could meet, collaborate and build. This is not a new idea and there have been many successful makerspaces have been started around the world. By sharing resources we can lower the cost of starting a business, which allows people to take that risky step of going solo without having to bet the farm on an idea that might not work.
I have heard this idea floated in Nelson before but have not seen or heard of any action taken. The reason I am writing this is in hope that perhaps somebody or some group in Nelson with either the resources or the organizational skills to rent out one of the many empty commercial buildings in this town will provide a space for all of the Nelsonites out there who, like me, want the opportunity to make our own way in this town we call home.