Transition in the Canadian Armed Forces



LIEUTENANT-GENERAL DAVID MILLAR (Chief of Military Personnel): Take control of your transition. This is my message to you. There is a new and different world beyond the military, one that is waiting just for you. I'm amazed by the outpouring of support and desire on the part of Canadian industry who want to hire former Canadian Forces members. It is true: over 78 employer partners have joined our military employment transition program to offer jobs to you. Why? Because of the skills, competencies and professional traits you possess that they want and need. Think about it for a minute. What are the intrinsic values each of you have? Loyalty, dedication, integrity, a sense of duty. What are the intrinsic skills sets each of you have? How to plan, organize, coordinate and execute, an understanding of risk, a knowledge of people, an ability to cooperate, compromise and find the optimal solution, a talent to listen and understand, an ability to show compassion and to be passionate, above all the desire to lead and help others. These are essential to our mission as war fighters. Believe it or not, these same qualities are the underpinnings of industry and there is a constant need for these talents at this time, especially when the baby boomers are retiring. If you can no longer serve in the military, join the Military Employment Transition Program, and like others discover the opportunities, then take control.

BRUNO GUÈVREMONT (Crossfit Stasis): The biggest challenge was figuring out what I was going to do after 15 years in the Forces.

DANA CARTWRIGHT (Government of Alberta): Some people it's an easy transition because the military has every job you can think of in it. My particular position as a weapons tech, there is not a lot of demand for weapons technicians out in the civilian sector.

BRUNO GUÈVREMONT: We are very organized in the Forces, we have a way of doing things, and we notice that things aren’t always done the same way in the civilian sector, but they do get done.

MARIE-CLAUDE ARGUIN (Town of Lac-Mégantic): I actually didn’t want to leave the Canadian Forces. I had a really great career that I believed was a good fit for me. However, as you’ve surely heard in the news, on July 6 2013, the town of Lac-Mégatic was the site of a train accident. And well, this is my town, this is my small municipality, and so I felt compelled to contribute, to help out, and to give a helping hand. In the end, the idea of working and building on all the experience that I acquired in crisis management during my 24 years in the Canadian Armed Forces seemed like the best way to contribute.

MATT SAGASTUME (SAIT Polytechnic): There's a lot of different programs that are offered to you by the IPSC to kind of ease that transition. A lot of guys get out of the military feeling a bit nervous about kind of fitting in with the civilian world.

MAJOR JO-ANNE FLAWN-LAFORGE (Morale and Welfare Services- Department of National Defence): Well the first place the members should really be going if they are looking for or getting ready to transition out of the military is their personnel selection officers.  Those are the people that are trained to do the career counselling, the educational counselling, they know about all of the programs that are available.  They offer career transition workshops, and they run the second career assistance network seminars across the country, throughout the year.  That’s the best point that they need to really to start with to really get that plan in place and to be able to attach the other programs that we have.

MICHEL DOIRON (Veterans Affairs Canada): Making the transition from military to civilian life is usually very challenging for military personnel. Veterans Affairs Canada we are there to help you do that and we will provide you any help that you need during that transition. That's why the transition review is so important, so we can identify your needs during transition. Whether it is employment, whether it is health, needs for the family, Veterans Affairs in one of our offices or on any one of your bases, we will help you make that successful transition and we are there to provide you the support that you need to make your transition successful.

BRUNO GUÈVREMONT: There's the Veterans Transition Program, there's True Patriot Love, there's Soldier On, there's some in local communities, the Legion is there. The one thing I'm going to say is once again to come back to your training and say you need to try them all. You need to try them all and find the one that works for you.

DANA CARTWRIGHT: Forces at Work is I would say almost a necessary service for anybody coming out of the military and going into the civilian sector. I'm still using words like sector and Forces at Work is retraining me to speak differently, to think differently.

WALTER MONIZ (Canada Company): Whether it be Treble Victor Group, for example I'm a member of Treble Victor Group, Helmets for Hardhats, Prince's Operation Entrepreneur, all of these are designed to assist the members with their transition experience. In my own personal experience I was actually a member of Treble Victor Group and that assisted me in finding this job, so it's that networking capacity.

MARIE-CLAUDE ARGUIN: I started with Career Transition Services, and I have to say that I didn’t profit from other services, simply because Career Transition Services gave me absolutely everything that I needed. I didn’t need to look elsewhere. In the span of one weekend only, the lady helping me, the one in charge of my file, Mrs. Bouchard, found me a job, helped me write my resume, and, after I was contacted for an interview, even coached me on interview techniques to help me out with that step.

MELANIE MITRA (Prospect Canada): There's all sorts of things coming together that are creating the conditions whereby employers at this point they're not concerned about whether you have a mental health issue or a disability of some kind, whether it's physical or it might be something else, or whatever the barrier might be. How do you work as part of a team, who do you problem solve, how do you take direction, how do you lead when it's your turn to lead on something, how do you take initiative, how do you communicate, how do you negotiate, all these types of things, and these are the skills that most employers are really frustrated with and are seeing as being absent. When we started working with the military we did some focus groups with employers and they were surprised to learn that there was this workforce sitting over here that was having trouble connecting to employment. If you have the skillset they will figure out how to accommodate it.

BRUNO GUÈVREMONT: You know, a lot of people give up even before trying stuff because they're like this is not going to work, I don’t want to go talk to this guy, I don’t want to do that. But you know what? If you're suffering, you need to reach out. You need to go out there and reach out and try them all.

MATT SAGASTUME: I've been out of the military for over a year now and I know that I can still call the IPSE or other programs and I know that that support base is still there behind me 100%.

WALTER MONIZ: As a one stop shop, the Military Employment Transition Program website has a number of transition assistance providers on there. That umbrella or that one stop shop capability allows members to go in there to find a number of different resources and have access to those resources.

ASTRID-MARIA CIARALLO (Prince's Charities Canada): So entrepreneurship is absolutely a good fit for somebody that may not fit that strict 9 to 5. You have the option to be your own boss and have flexible hours and to really run things your way. We have a one-day workshop called Introduction to Entrepreneurship where topics range from accounting to social media to what are your transferable skills from the military into the entrepreneurial world. We also have our signature seven-day boot camp which is for somebody who is a little bit further along in the spectrum they've really given their idea a lot of thought or they have recently started a business but are not doing it full time and they want to prepare for their transition and looking to get that academic groundwork.

MAJOR JO-ANNE FLAWN-LAFORGE (Morale and Welfare Services- Department of National Defence): I’m really proud to say that most of those third party organizations The Canada Company’s Military Employment Transition Program, Princes Operation Entrepreneur and Forces at Work. These are all pretty much home grown programs.  We started with them, we grew with them, they are formed and we have been able to really contribute to ensure that our members are well taken care of and that its really really tapping into what our members need in order to help them and facilitate success in their transition.

MATT SAGASTUME: When I got out of the military what I wanted to do was something that engaged me both physically and mentally, and so I'm really looking forward to working on planes, actually kind of having that almost pressure environment that you're kind of used to in the military, after I put it on an action plan, I presented it to CSEP and the IPSC and they supported me 100%.

DANA CARTWRIGHT: Basically I went to a temp agency to place me and they ended up placing me with the corporate human resources and I'm finding that I really do enjoy HR, human resources, which I didn’t know. So it was kind of a new, wow, I really like this, so I might end up taking a few courses just to expand on that and maybe make a career in that direction, which I wasn’t expecting to find but I did find that I do enjoy it.

BRUNO GUÈVREMONT: We can’t forget all the training and the way we faced challenges when we were in the Forces, so we need to keep fighting and aiming for the things that we want, to set goals and go after them as we would a position, or anything else that we learned in the Forces.

MARIE-CLAUDE ARGUIN: We really don’t know what our worth is in the civilian sector, and we don’t really know how we are going to transition and on what positions we need to apply. In my case, I was very humble, and actually didn’t dare, or wouldn’t have dared apply on the job on which I did apply, and that I ended up getting in the end, if it wasn’t for Mrs. Bouchard. She told me that I didn’t understand, that I really did have the skills and qualifications needed, and that if it didn’t work out, that it wasn’t a big deal, that it will have served as a practice interview and that we would find me something else.

MATT SAGASTUME: You've got to fight for this. A lot of guys feel like they don’t deserve it, a lot of guys feel like they're taking advantage of the military, but it’s not, it's your life and you just got to cover yourself at the end of the day. You've got to make sure you've got an exit plan and if you put enough work into it you'll be happy in the long run.

DANA CARTWRIGHT: There's no job like the military, there really isn’t, and no one takes care of you like the military do, and they've continued to look after me even though I'm out, and no civilian job or any other company out there that I can think of, not even a hospital or anything else, would look after its members after they've released.

MARIE-CLAUDE ARGUIN: We all have unique qualifications and coveted skills in the Canadian Forces, and we can’t be afraid. We need to have confidence in ourselves first, that’s the first piece of advice: have confidence in yourself, and then trust the people and the services available because they know what they are doing, and they are there to help you. It works.

To learn more about the programs and services mentioned in this video, please visit the following websites:

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