Veterans have many valuable skills to offer the civilian workforce, but sometimes need support to identify a post-military pathway, acquire the necessary credentials or professional development opportunities, and connect with potential employers. These programs, organizations and resources may be of interests to clients of career professionals who are currently serving or formerly served in the Canadian military.
This article was originally published in November 2019 and was updated in November 2020.
Canadian Veterans Vocational Rehabilitation Services, on behalf of Veterans Affairs Canada, provides vocational rehabilitation and vocational assistance services to veterans to help ensure successful transition to civilian life. It also has an Employer Portal with information for employers interested in hiring veterans.
Agilec is the national service provider for this program. Still-serving members or former members can apply for this service, which provides career counselling, help with resume writing, interview preparation, job searching and, in some cases, job placement. Veterans may also quality for the education and training benefit offered through Agilec, which provides up to $80,000 for education and up to $5,000 for professional development.
Coding for Veterans is an intensive program designed to equip veterans from the Canadian military with the skills required to enter and succeed in Canada’s technology-based workforce. Classes are taught both in person and online.
Forces@WORK is an Alberta-based employment placement service offered through Prospect Human Services. It helps ill and injured Canadian Armed Forces veterans, medical releases, reservists and family members of serving personnel find and keep good civilian jobs to maintain their quality of life.
This non-profit program provides Canadian military veterans and serving reservists with opportunities for apprenticeship training and/or careers in the building, construction and maintenance industries.
This national online training program, offered by the Trenton Military Family Resource Centre, seeks to empower its participants to create businesses of all types, especially “portable” businesses that can be easily relocated due to postings. The free online HERCS course is broken up into three two-hour sessions.
This program is designed to help accelerate and advance the civilian careers of former and current Reserve Force and Regular Force Canadian military members. Participants can choose to follow one, two or three of the following program paths: 1.) Fast-track your education with a credential at BCIT; 2.) Become an entrepreneur; or 3.) Find a job and get working.
MFRC has locations in every province, as well as the Northwest Territories, and also has information available for Canadian Armed Forces members living in Europe and the United States. Each branch offers services for military members and their families, including information/services related to education and employment.
Self-directed career transition courses for veterans based on research the “A Question of Style” research project, conducted by Challenge Factory and funded by CERIC and the Canadian Armed Forces and Veterans Affairs Canada. Courses include “Veterans at Work,” “Assess Your Career & Leadership” and “Explore Your Career Possibilities.”
The Canadian Franchise Association has partnered with the Department of National Defence and the Canadian Forces Liaison Council to promote the CFA Military Veterans Program (MVP), an initiative helping honourably released veterans and reservists transition into business ownership. It aims to help connect veterans to franchising opportunities, with incentives offered by participating brands.
The My Career page offers programs, resources, and tools to help you build a better career and a happier work life. Here you will also find information to assist you to resolve workplace issues like conflicts of interest and sexual harassment.
Prince’s Trust provides entrepreneurship training for veterans and transitioning Canadian Armed Forces members. The signature element of its Operation Entrepreneur program is a seven-day intensive business boot camp, held on four university campuses across Canada. Participants learn best practices in marketing, finance and business-planning from university faculty and get the opportunity to grow their business network and confidence.
Provided free for veterans through funding provided by the Canadian Legacy Project, this five-day program guides veterans through identifying a business idea, determining its feasibility, developing a business plan and defining an implementation process.
This program offers academic and non-academic services and referrals for reg-force, reserve and veteran Armed Forces members. It helps military community members identify potential education options, funding assistance sources, academic upgrading opportunities and more.
A Question of Style: What HR and career professionals need to know about “misunderstood” candidate groups such as veterans (CERIC and Challenge Factory) [Webinar]
This free recorded webinar demonstrates how the challenges that veterans face serve as a good case study for all employers and career practitioners. Topics covered include: How unconscious bias about “cultural fit” in the recruitment cycle can be quantified and exposed; how members of hidden talent pools can combat unspoken assumptions that might otherwise limit hiring success; and specific insights about Canadian veteran civilian career transition.
Civilian jobs (Government of Canada) [Website]
This web page offers information on civilian jobs for Canadian Armed Forces members and veterans, as well as temporary employment opportunities for military spouses.
Correlates of perceived military to civilian transition challenges among Canadian Armed Forces Veterans (Journal of Military, Veteran and Family Health) [Article]
Findings emphasize the importance of preparing transitioning service members and civilian communities for the social identity challenges they may encounter. Findings also support the value of programs and services that help prepare transitioning service members with managing finances, finding education and employment, relocating, finding health care providers, and understanding benefits and services.
This book, available for free download and for sale in print, aims to help career coaches, counsellors, HR professionals, hiring managers and others working with ex-military personnel understand the unique challenges and opportunities in supporting veterans to successfully transition to civilian employment. Topics covered include career planning, job search, as well as coping and adaptation strategies.
The employment section of this guide includes information on job search, providing evidence of skills, competencies, job preference and more.
Military Transition to Civilian Careers (CERIC) [Literature search]
This literature search was updated in May 2019. Topics covered include: networking for veterans; post-war adjustment; women veterans; post-military resumes; and the transition to civilian life.
This guide is designed to help organizations that have limited human resources and recruitment capacity build strong, resilient teams that include veterans who are skilled and ready to fill labour or skills shortages.
This web page offers information on fee exemption for veterans and reservists, the Trade Equivalency Assessment and more for veterans and military members interested in entering the skilled trades.
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