The first batch of students has gone through a new free safety training program for military veterans in B.C. The program consists of a trade safety coordinator course, a construction safety officer course and an occupational first aid level 2 course. Each is a week long. Students now have the option to participate in a two-week work experience placement in B.C.
Once the program is complete, students will be eligible to apply for their CSO designation and work as a safety professional in a multitude of fields. ER Plus Risk Management Group Inc. and Ronin Safety & Rescue Inc. designed the program to assist transitioning service members, veterans or other military personnel in job placement in the civilian sector. The program was also made possible by a contribution from the Royal Canadian Legion. According to ER Plus, it is the first program of its kind in province. Andreea Myhal, one of the students, worked for the military reserves for nearly 10 years as a resource management clerk. Others in the course have worked for up to 30 years with the military, sometimes overseas in places like Cypress, Bosnia and Afghanistan. Myhal said that for some vets, transitioning back to civilian life after decades of living in the military bubble can be challenging. Civilian certifications must be met and even the words used in an equivalent civilian career could be different. "This is where ER Plus is instrumental – to help us take all that training we have in the military and translate it back into terms that can be palatable to an employer in civilian life," she said. "It has really helped us reformulate for the trades. Its important to give vets the nuanced vocabulary of the civilian life and career."
Lynn Fader, president of ER Plus, explained that the program has been a project the company and its partners have been planning for a long time. "ER has always had military employees ... we saw the need," she said. "Safety is such a small world and we just saw all these wonderfully trained people having difficulty transitioning back into civilian life. "Nobody was addressing how to transfer some of their skills into workplace skills." Myhal said she plans to find a career in the safety industry, but other in the class want to work laying fibre optic cable, handling rebar and doing carpentry projects.