New guides to help career practitioners transition veterans from military to civilian employment

On average 5,000 Canadian Armed Forces personnel will exit the military each year and face unique challenges and opportunities in successfully transitioning to civilian careers and further educational opportunities. To help meet this need, a set of bilingual resources, Military to Civilian Employment: A Career Practitioner’s Guide, will be developed for Canadian career service professionals to use in working with veterans.

The project is being led by CERIC, a national charitable organization that advances education and research in career counselling and career development, in partnership with Canada Company and its Military Employment Transition (MET) program, a charitable organization founded, funded and supported by the Canadian business community, to serve the military. It will include consultation and collaboration with the Canadian Armed Forces, Veterans Affairs Canada, Military Family Services, military-friendly employers and front-line career professionals.

“At CERIC, the projects we support are driven by need,” says Jan Basso, Chair of CERIC and Director of Co-operative Education and Career Development at Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, ON. “For the last few years, we have been hearing that career professionals across Canada are seeing more clients come to them from a military background. Career professionals are looking for a specialized resource they can use in helping veterans make the transition to meaningful and satisfying work in the civilian labour market.”

Dwayne Cormier, Director of Transition Services at Toronto-based Canada Company, says that finding work after deployment is not easy for many ex-military. “These are highly skilled veterans but they often need support to translate their experience and training into civilian terms, including ‘demilitarizing’ their resumes and matching their skills with the right employers. This is important not only for individual veterans and their families, but for the entire Canadian economy.”

Topics covered in the guides will include:

  • Understanding military culture and systems
  • Career development needs of ex-military personnel: transition and adaptation
  • Effective interventions for helping veterans move to civilian employment
  • Military training and education and determining civilian equivalencies
  • Helping ex-military personnel translate military skills/jobs into civilian workplace language
  • Trends in occupations for which transitioning armed forces personnel have immediately transferable skills and training
  • Employment and implications for military families
  • Lists of veteran-friendly employers, education/training providers and support programs

Authored by career development expert Yvonne Rodney, the guides (one English, one French) will be available in print or ebook or for download as a free pdf. They are planned for release at the Cannexus National Career Development Conference, being held January 25-27, 2016 in Ottawa.

The guides will be published with the support of several key Knowledge Champions. Memorial University’s Marine Institute, TriOS College, Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT), Fanshawe College, British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT), Ryerson University and the Canadian Career Information Association (CCIA) have already come on board as Knowledge Champions and others are being sought for a limited number of spots. The financial support of Knowledge Champions is helping make possible access to a free pdf version, ensuring this resource can be used by all who need it.

If you are interested in learning more about this project, check the project page at ceric.ca/military where you can sign up for updates.