The Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) Women in Force Program (WFP) was launched in January to help increase the number of women considering a career in the military.
The four pilot serials, which are part of the program, are being held during the summer and fall of 2017, and will provide program designers and recruitment strategists with carefully evaluated outcomes to determine if this approach is of benefit to the CAF and attractive to Canadian women.
Seven months after the launch the popularity of the new program, intended to give women an opportunity to learn about military life before they decide to join, is promising as more than 300 women applied for 120 seats.
While the number of women recruits significantly increased from 13 per cent to 17 per cent over the last two years, the challenge to increase the numbers remains formidable.
“The overall percentage of women has increased by 0.3 per cent, which is the first positive growth in over a decade,” said Colonel André Demers, Commander, Canadian Forces Recruiting Group.
WFP might be the beginning of a very popular and successful recruitment strategy where participants can talk with current CAF members while experiencing different facets of military life, including fitness training, hands-on demonstrations of occupations, and tactical skills.
“The first 10-day sessions will start on August 14 at CFB Borden and Garrison Saint-Jean; followed by a three-day session on October 20 at CFB Borden, and on October 28 at Garrison Saint-Jean,” said Col Liam McGarry, Commander, Military Personnel Generation Training Group. “Dedicated staff will mentor and guide participants throughout the program during which they will be immersed in a military environment including living on a base.”
It is hoped that the WFP will be instrumental in ensuring the CAF achieves its goal of increasing the enrolment of women by one per cent annually in order to better reflect Canadian society.
“The program is part of CAF initiatives to find new ways to reach and inform Canadians from diverse backgrounds. A stronger representation of women within our ranks is crucial to the CAF’s operational effectiveness,” said Lieutenant-General Charles Lamarre, Commander of Military Personnel Command.
The program will provide qualified, capable women applicants with the information they need to make an informed decision about enrolling with the CAF.
Brigadier-General Virginia Tattersall, Deputy Commander, Military Personnel Generation added, “The program will provide a unique experience to Canadian women by providing them the truth about military life, its opportunities and challenges. It will allow women thinking about becoming part of the CAF team to have an opportunity to receive first-hand information before making a decision to enroll and serve their country.”
This initiative aims to empower and educate women through first-hand experiences, honest and realistic job previews, and a taste of military life.
“The focus of the program is to raise awareness about life in the CAF, and to enable participants to make an informed decision about a career in the military,” concluded Lieutenant-Colonel Suzanne Raby, Deputy Commander, Canadian Forces Recruiting Group. “Participants will come out of this program much better informed about what a career in the CAF is like.”