Recently, Haligonians saw hands-on demonstrations of Army Reserve jobs available in the area. On September 29, the Canada-Wide Army Reserve Open House and Job Fair came to the new Willow Park Armoury in Halifax.
Brigadier-General Derek Macaulay and Lieutenant-Colonel Eleanor Taylor, both two-decade army veterans, were on hand to meet potential recruits.
Taylor stresses the importance of being informed of the job choices that are available. “I came from a town [Antigonish] where we don’t have an army reserve armoury so my exposure to the military was what I saw on TV,” Macaulay says. “[A job fair like this] would have provided me a great opportunity to see what was offered in real life. Certainly you can see it in brochures… but you can see and talk to people and get to know the differences.”
For many recruits, the paid-for education is the appeal. “When you meet a soldier you don`t necessarily make the connection about their education,” he says. Macaulay points to the potential to earn an income while completing a degree rather than graduating in debt. A part-time army reservist has a commitment of one night per week and one weekend per month, with guaranteed summer employment.
The time commitment and career options can often meet a recruit’s individual needs. “There is a perception that we are rigid… and we are exceedingly flexible,” Taylor says.
Macaulay explains they’re looking for a broad range of recruits. “Canadians that want to challenge themselves,” he says. Last year, recruits ranged from age 17 to 57. Taylor adds that work to improve diversity continues. “Women represent 51% of the Canadian population and we still are around 20% of the Canadian Armed Forces,” she says.
At the fair there was a mix of potential recruits and many families with kids. People repelled, explored armoured vehicles and combat engineering equipment, and saw assault demonstrations. The day brought back happy memories of Taylor’s early days in the army. “I love to repel,” she says. “It is not the most technical… but it brought me back to the fun things in my career.”