Inside building H-124 at Garrison Petawawa on April 5, students from across Renfrew County underwent C9A2 light machine gun drills as part of the 42nd Field Artillery Regiment (Lanark and Renfrew Scottish), RCA Military Co-operative Education program. (Photo by Patricia Leboeuf, Petawawa Post)

On the job with 42 Field Artillery Regiment

Community News

By Patricia Leboeuf

Posted on Thursday, April 20, 2017

42nd Field Artillery Regiment (Lanark and Renfrew Scottish), RCA offered students the opportunity to experience the job of a soldier through its Military Cooperative Education program.

The program is in its second year since being reestablished by the regiment.

Cooperative education is part of the high school curriculum, allowing Renfrew County students 16 years or older to earn four credits while developing a strong sense of discipline, drive, confidence and practical experience in the workplace. Through the regiment’s program, they are also employed as a member of the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) Primary Reserve and receive $4,055 for 45 days.

The students are held to the same standard as any other soldier. They must acquire and exercise the proper skill-sets to handle a weapon safely and efficiently, culminating in a five-day field exercise where they will demonstrate everything they’ve learned. “In the Canadian Forces there is a standard for everything we do when we train,” said Sergeant Geoffrey Nickelo. “They have to meet that standard. That is just the bottom line.”

This year, 15 students signed up for the program. As they completed their basic military qualification and army specific training, Sgt Nickelo was impressed by the maturity displayed by the students.

Fellowes High School Student Grant Robichaud wanted to be part of the military for a long time, but wasn’t sure how to go about joining. After experiencing the program, he has gotten a taste of what may await him if he continues down this path. He said it was a fun experience, “but it is challenging because you have to learn how to work as a team properly and it also pushes you physically and mentally.”

As the son of two CAF members, Valour student Cameron Watts was given some tips to successfully complete his time as a reservist. Though there weren’t many surprises, the fast pace of the training was a bit daunting. With the guidance of Sgt Nickelo and others, however, he quickly got the hang of it. He would definitely recommend the program to those interested in a military career.

Once the program is completed, the teens can either release from the primary reserve or continue part-time and begin their training with the regiment. “I think this will give me a head start in my career,” said Arnprior District High School student Julia Currie. She hopes to become an officer in the CAF, and noted this gives her a good footing.

There are also benefits for the regiment. “It helps us re-energize our unit,” said Sgt Nickelo. “It gives us more youth, which will help us build for the future.”

Students interested in taking part in future session of the Military Cooperative Education Program can contact Sergeant Geoffrey Nickelo at 613-732-4470 ext 252 or at