Garrison Petawawa Personnel Selection Office can help shape your career

By Patricia Leboeuf, Petawawa Post

Posted on Thursday, May 16, 2019

If you are looking for more direction in your career with the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF), the Personnel Selection Office at Garrison Petawawa can help.

They have a number of services to assist members who wish to change careers within the Forces or who want to refine their skills within their current trade. They also offer services for those looking to leave the CAF or who are transitioning.

Personnel Selection Officer (PSO) Lieutenant (Lt) Robert Hall pointed out they also provide things like Career Transition Workshops (CTW), Second Career Assistance Network (SCAN), career fairs, education information sessions, occupation transfer and commissioning sessions, Interest Inventories and one-on-one counselling sessions. Every two weeks, they also hold a session over lunch to address some of the more popular concerns and myths about occupational transfers in a group setting.

“Even for programs that they might not be available for, we want the member to start thinking early in their career what they could be achieving and what they can do to prepare for it,” said Personnel Selection Officer Major (Maj) Sebastien Boucher. 

Through their services, the team looks to address a member’s needs and direct him or her to the programs and services that will help achieve their desired career path. With so many career options in the CAF, the ultimate goal is to keep the member in the Forces but help them find their niche while avoiding pitfalls like leaving the forces and then rejoining in a different career.

“Sometimes things change physically and medically, not enough (to be discharged from the CAF), but you may not be able to qualify ... to be re-hired in the Forces,” said Maj Boucher.  “So we prefer that you work within the Forces and look at the different options. Because that myth is the biggest one we have to fight against.”

Though certain programs do have a rank requirement, the grand majority can be used by all ranks.

“We are looking at over 2,000 members this year alone that we provide services to across the base,” said PSO Sub-Lieutenant Cole Keaney. “That number will just be increasing as the transition centres are standing up.”

This number does take into consideration events that see large numbers in a group session such as the SCAN. 

Though it can take up to three months to see a PSO on a one-on-one basis, the Lunch and Learn sessions occur every two weeks. They allow for a lot of information to be shared, questions to be answered and a quick one-on-one meeting with the PSOs.

“A lot of people don’t need that full half an hour with a PSO,” said Maj Boucher. “That’s why we went with this option so that the ones who only really need the confirmation of eligibility can meet us in a timely manner.”

For many of these services, particularly the SCAN or the one-on-one sessions, spouses and partners are invited to attend. This gives the families more information on the member’s opportunities and a chance to ask any questions about the possible impacts on their life.

For those looking to further their education and want to take advantage of the educational funding opportunities provided by the CAF, the PSO office is running an education information session on June 19 at the Learning and Career Centre.