Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Maybe veterans are tired of wearing hats

So the Harper government has finally launched their transition plan for military members moving to civilian life: "Veterans Can Now Apply for Jobs through Helmets to Hardhats Canada." Yes, from helmet to hardhat, narrowing the field of opportunity for highly skilled military personnel.

This programme has been previously blogged about here and the principal critiques of it remain. Veterans should be encouraged to make wide use of their skills and educational assistance could have been considered as a key transitional measure in order to enable more choice to the individual beyond the construction trades. Surely that's not all Canada has to offer veterans. And surely that's not all Canada needs in terms of assessing what industries these highly trained individuals are suited for. But here is the government website lead:
Helmets to Hardhats (H2H) Canada is a partnership with Canada's Building Trades Unions, their many Employers across Canada, and Government stakeholders. The H2H sister program originated in the United States in 2003, and has been highly successful for America. H2H Canada will follow a similar model, but is focused on career opportunities in Canada for anyone who has served (or is currently serving and looking to transition to a civilian career) in either the Regular or Reserve Force Components of the Canadian Forces. The program offers apprenticeship opportunities to achieve a journeyperson qualification in the building and construction trade of one's choice, as well as potential opportunities in other management positions within this industry, all leading to a promising new career.
Whether it's a good choice for women veterans is another question. A preliminary search suggests the percentage of women in the construction industry is quite low (12% based on these 2008 figures or less), whether because it's just not an attractive option, the physical nature of construction or whatever the reason may be. The government is nevertheless emphasizing this route, not women friendly, for all our veterans, men and women.

There is nothing wrong with trades work. This just seems to smack of simplistic thinking, the easiest solution and not necessarily the best opportunity we can give our veterans.