Surrey Board of Trade Says Veterans Need to be a Focus for Workforce Solutions

The Surrey Board of Trade, as part of their workforce service portfolio, issue a call to action to the Federal Government to:

1.     Revisit the implementation of a Military Employment Transition Program partnering with the chamber of commerce/board of trade industry, academic and industry associations;

2.     Invest in a public campaign that clearly articulates the value of hiring veterans; and,

3.     Partner with Canada’s polytechnics and colleges to implement a skills identification and prior learning assessment process with time-compressed courses for those veterans looking to retrain.

“Canada’s military personnel are known around the world for their leadership skills, teamwork and dedication,” said Anita Huberman, President and CEO, Surrey Board of Trade. “They are highly skilled in areas such as planning, communication, management, and the trades.”

Without question, they would be an asset to any workforce; it is not always appreciated by the business community how much of a benefit someone with military experience can be. Each year, approximately 5,000 members of the Canadian Armed Forces leave the military. Many of them struggle as they attempt to make the transition to meaningful and sustainable civilian employment.

The ability to quickly retrain and re-deploy workers, when either market forces change or technology disruptions occur, will be paramount to Canada succeeding in the economy of the future. One of the keys to success will be to strategically identify the specific work-related skills of individuals who find themselves in transition and match them to jobs or short-term retraining opportunities.

Strengths the veteran or former military personnel can bring to the workplace include:

  • Working well in a team. Teamwork is considered an essential part of daily life and is the foundation on which safe military operations are built.
  • Having a sense of duty. Responsibility for job performance and accountability for completing missions are something to take pride in.
  • Experiencing self-confidence. Holding a realistic estimation of self and ability based on experiences is expected of each Service Member.
  • Being organized and disciplined.
  • Possessing a strong work ethic. In the military, the mission always comes first.
  • Having the ability to follow through on assignments, even under difficult or stressful circumstances.
  • Possessing a variety of cross-functional skills, such as extensive training on computer programs and systems, interacting with various people with different skills to accomplish a task, and coordinating and troubleshooting problems in novel and known conditions.
  • Being able to problem solve quickly and creatively.
  • Being able to adapt to changing situations.
  • Being able to follow rules and schedules.

Many Canadian soldiers are unable to convert their advanced training into meaningful careers, even though the skillsets and experiences accumulated by soldiers would be highly valued by civilian employers.