STANDING COMMITTEE ON NATIONAL DEFENCE

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1 ASSOCIATION OF CANADIAN COMMUNITY COLLEGES COLLEGES AND INSTITUTES: MAINTAIN NING THE READINESS OF THE CANADIANN FORCES THROUGH TRAINING AND RECRUITMENT A SUBMISSI ION TO THE HOUSE OF COMMONS STANDING COMMITTEE ON NATIONAL DEFENCE March 1, 2012

2 Association of Canadian Community Colleges 1 Rideau Street, Suite 701 Ottawa ON, Canada K1N 8S7

3 The Association of Canadian Community Colleges (ACCC) welcomes the opportunity to provide input to the House of Commons Standing Committee on National Defence as it examines Maintaining the Readiness of the Canadian Forces. ACCC is the national and international voice of Canada s 150 publicly-funded colleges and institutes. With campuses in 1,000 urban, rural and remote communities, these institutions educate learners of all ages and from all socio-economic quarters. They partner with the private and public sector to share expertise in applied research and innovation. Colleges are the advanced skills educators of choice. Aligned with the needs of employers, and operating on the leading edge of skills identification, economic trends, and market shifts, colleges solicit business and industry input into curriculum development. They support business growth and sustainability by supplying graduates with advanced skills, re-skilling displaced employees, offering customized education, and providing applied research and development support. They increase the access of the disadvantaged to post-secondary education and facilitate credential recognition for immigrants. Creating Efficiencies in Training for Military Personnel The Canadian Forces (CF) offer unique career opportunities to Canadian citizens who choose to serve and protect the security needs of our country, both domestically and throughout the world. Training and education of CF personnel is an essential element to readiness and contributes to the CF s overall effectiveness. In 2008, in an effort to bolster recruitment and to create new training pathways for its trades and technical occupations, the CF s Canadian Defence Academy initiated the Canadian Forces College Opportunities Program (CFCOP). In collaboration with ACCC, the CFCOP identifies college programs that match CF needs. Curricula from military and college training programs are compared using the Canadian Forces College Opportunities Directory. This ensures that college graduates interested in pursuing careers in the Canadian Forces do not have to repeat significant portions of training delivered by the CF. Not only does the program promote the transferability of learning, it supports the placement of CF personnel in college programs, eases the transition and provides advanced placement for college graduates entering the CF. It also explores and creates opportunities for CF personnel who wish to progress along their career pathway by crediting their military training towards college certificates, diplomas and degrees. By recruiting graduates from recognized programs, the Canadian Forces reduce their training costs. A 2011 study that examined alternate training delivery for Cooks demonstrated that college graduates...save the CF in student salaries, instructors, overhead.it is efficient and the most responsive to fluctuations in production demand. It is 6 times better than the status quo in the best value rating. 1 The study recommends that hiring colleges graduates as its primary source for QL3 Cooks, will save the Canadian Forces $30.7M. 2 1 Business Case. Alternate Training Delivery Decision Making for Canadian Forces Cook Qualification Level 3 Phase One Prepared by: Claude Charland, Consultant, January

4 According to a 2009 study 2, additional benefits for collaboration with colleges include: enhanced recruiting reduced infrastructure and deferred infrastructure investment reduced demands for accommodations, meals and other support increased level of expertise of the instructional staff outside accreditation, certification or recognition for the training received improved morale incentives to life-long-learning and further professional development. Since its inception in 2008, one hundred eighty college programs across the country have been submitted for CF recognition for twelve military occupations. Seventy-nine percent of those evaluated to date have been recognized and 640 CF personnel are currently enrolled in 65 colleges across Canada. The recruitment needs of distressed occupations such as Cooks, Naval Electronics Technicians (Sonar, Radar and Communications), Aerospace Telecommunication & Information Systems Technicians, Aviation Systems Technicians, Medical Technicians, Dental Technicians and Biomedical Electronics Technologists were addressed through colleges. For the first time in its history, all Subsidized Education Program places were filled in 2010, due in large measure to the success of CFCOP. Despite these successes, the Canadian Forces have been able to solicit input into college curriculum and draw recruits for only twelve occupations. Yet more than 100 occupations make up the structure of the Canadian Forces. Compared to its true potential, the collaboration between colleges and the Canadian Forces has been modest. Colleges and institutes produce graduates with advanced skills. They upgrade the skills of current employees, and are the education providers for several of the 10 hardest jobs to fill identified by Canadian employers in a 2011 survey including: skilled tradespersons, technicians, drivers, machinists/machine operators, mechanics, accounting and finance staff. The greater potential of colleges to provide the advanced skills training required by the Canadian Forces for a substantial number of occupations remains relatively untapped. The CFCOP agreement comes to an end in March 2012 and to date has not been renewed. The Canadian Forces could save in excess of $150 million per annum in training cost avoidance by maximizing the potential of college programs that align with CF training requirements. At the same time, CF would increase training capacity and reduce waitlists, while focusing internal efforts on military-specific training. Recommendation: An expansion of the CFCOP would enhance CF/college collaboration, and provide greater opportunity for training of CF personnel. Addressing Skills Shortages and Improving Recruitment The creation of the CFCOP was driven by the Canadian Forces need to rapidly expand in size as well as address a critical shortfall of skilled personnel in the trade and technical occupations, especially within the Royal Canadian Navy. The Canadian Forces are not alone in facing skills 2 A Study of Alternate Training Delivery in the Canadian Forces, June

5 shortages. Employers across Canada report challenges recruiting personnel with the advanced skills needed for productivity and growth. For example, the mining industry must hire 100,000 people by 2020 and 150,000 constructions specialists will retire by Within ten years, 1.5 million positions will be vacant unless more mitigating measures are implemented soon. Recruitment into the Canadian Forces will only become more challenging. Colleges offer a unique opportunity to showcase CF careers. They have campuses in 1,000 urban, rural and remote communities, 1.5 million learners and 60,000 educators. They deliver distance learning, training in both official languages and reach out to visible minorities. They are the primary post-secondary education choice for women, Aboriginal students and for children of newcomers to Canada. Over the last two years, approximately 3000 faculty and students visited CF facilities to understand both the realities of CF occupations and how colleges can prepare students for entry. Colleges are enthusiastic about cooperation with the Canadian Forces and the Department of National Defence. Recommendation: A renewed investment in the CFCOP would stimulate effective just-in-time recruitment by raising awareness of CF careers through colleges, reduce marketing costs associated with recruitment and could help the Canadian Forces in meeting diversity targets. Enhancing Readiness and Retention through Professional Development Opportunities In order to ensure operational readiness, the Canadian Forces offer Professional Development and lifelong learning opportunities that prepare military personnel for a variety of situations including interventions such as disaster relief, protecting the North, or international interventions. The need for nimble, timely and relevant Professional Development is critical in ensuring operational effectiveness in all situations. Although training such as recruit training or initial occupation training unique to a military environment is maintained by the Canadian Forces, other pertinent training can be provided by colleges at various stages of a military career to prepare individuals for a military occupation and assist in their ongoing professional development. Colleges encourage sustainability by growing talent pools, re-skilling employees and by offering customized education. By collaborating with colleges, the CF can identify training needs, train alongside college subject matter experts and ensure that training delivered by colleges (either tuition-based programs or contracted programs) is meeting CF desired training outcomes. The CFCOP has been instrumental in developing credit transfer agreements between the military and colleges. Prior Learning Assessment Recognition (PLAR) has led to greater recognition of military training and education for credits towards college credentials. Transfer arrangements and PLAR help to: 3 Trend Analysis on Human Resource Intelligence. The Alliance of Sector Council. January-May

6 develop the leadership capacity of the military enhance the operational readiness for military technician and trade occupations assist those who are transitioning from the military to civilian occupations Military Police have been credited for 21 of 28 courses in recognition of their Military Police training by Algonquin College. Military Police can now complete the remaining seven courses to obtain a diploma and subsequently bridge into a degree option. Distance learning programs through colleges provide further professional development opportunities for CF personnel affected by relocation. The Canadian Forces could enhance the learning experiences of their personnel trained at colleges through exposure to applied research projects in the areas of aviation, electronics, marine and power mechanics, communications, culinary arts, fire fighting, health sciences and police studies. Colleges conduct and engage students in applied research and development that enables employers to improve, develop new or improved products, processes and services. Graduates are involved in the generation, design, installation, adaptation and diffusion of new and existing technologies. In , 13,510 college students were engaged in research, 62 percent more than reported in Exposure to applied research projects would provide CF personnel with advanced skills to heighten innovation in the Canadian Forces. Recommendation: For the real value of the CFCOP to be realized, it should extend and expand to provide: credential recognition of CF learning and learning pathways for CF member self-development; assistance to retiring CF members through training for second career opportunities; and assistance with leadership and management training opportunities. 4

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