Primary Reservists find civilian employment success

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A new program is helping members of the Primary Reserve Force to continue serving their respective reserve units, while securing work opportunities that align with their civilian career goals.

Primary Reservists play a critical role in Canada’s strategy to develop a diverse and qualified pool of military personnel, yet many leave the force when faced with limited job prospects within their civilian communities. Training for Primary Reservists represents a significant investment for the Canadian Armed Forces, so keeping active Reservists living, working, and serving in their community is vitally important to Canada’s national defence.

To help Reservists connect with civilian employment while remaining active CAF members, Career Edge has launched the CAF Reservists’ Paid Internship Program. Supported by Employment and Social Development Canada in partnership with the Department of National Defence, the program reinforces the Government of Canada’s Youth Employment Strategy, as well as the CAF’s mission of retention and high readiness in the Reserves.

Getting a foot in the door

Primary Reservists face barriers when it comes to finding civilian jobs that can accommodate their training schedule and other military commitments. Recognizing this challenge, Career Edge works with its network of employers to educate them on the type of accommodations Reservists need, while creating work opportunities that allow Reservists to successfully join the workforce.

Since the program started last year, Reservists have secured career-related internships in targeted corporate industries such as financial services, telecommunications, pharmaceuticals, and professional services. These internships have also led to permanent, full-time employment.

Private Andrés Lapeña of the Royal Regiment of Canada secured his civilian “dream job” following his internship.

“I received an offer of employment from RBC’s Know Your Client department as an Analyst. It starts as soon as my internship is over. This was the exact role I was aiming for when I started the internship, so the fact that it all came together is amazing for me,” said Pte Lapeña.

Retention in the Reserves

Securing a civilian job has enabled Reservists to shift their focus back to their military training, while remaining within their community. Employers that have hired Reservists through the program recognize the value they bring to the workforce, and have made accommodations that allow for parade nights, weekend exercises, and summer training.

This has paved the way for more Reservists to find civilian employment, without having to limit their training, relocate, or leave the military altogether, which is contributing to greater retention in the Reserves.

The CAF Reservists’ Paid Internship Program is a three-year pilot project, but Career Edge is focused on making it self-sustaining, with plans to expand across Canada within the next year. To learn more visit:

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