Civilian to sailor
The journey from landlubber to seafarer can take a recruit to several inland locations across Canada before he or she heads to the coast.
Eligibility to apply
A candidate must meet three criteria before an application can be accepted: he/she must be a Canadian citizen; he/she must be 17 or older (in some cases, 16), with a parent’s or guardian’s permission for all under 18; and he/she must have completed grade 10 with at least 15 credits or, in Quebec, Secondary III with 24 credits.
Starting the application process
Once these criteria are met, the candidate can apply in person at the closest recruiting centre or by mail or online. The process from civilian status to military member is quite similar for both the Regular Force and the Naval Reserve.
The initial application involves filling in forms, having a criminal and credit check, providing five character references and, if more than 180 days have been spent outside of Canada in the past 10 years, having a security background check.
Tests and interviews
After the paperwork is completed, the successful applicant must then take a Canadian Forces aptitude test. All the positions have certain cut-off percentiles, and anyone applying for an officer position must make a certain grade to proceed with the application process.
The next step is having a medical exam and a face-to-face interview. If these go well, the application is passed on to a selection committee, where the candidate is slotted into an appropriate position, determined by the recruit’s skills and the Navy’s needs at that time. Finally, the applicant is officially enrolled.
Basic training for the vast majority of recruits in the Regular Force takes place at the Canadian Forces Leadership and Recruit School in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Que., near Montréal. The training takes 14 weeks for non-commissioned members and 15 weeks for officers. In the Naval Reserve, basic training for officers is at CFB Esquimalt, near Victoria, B.C., while non-commissioned members train at CFB Borden, near Barrie, Ont.
The next step for Regular Force recruits is anywhere from 12 weeks to two years of trade training at various bases across the country. Naval reservists can also receive further training at different bases in Canada, depending on the trade.
When the initial training is finished, the Regular Force sailor is posted to a ship. The time limit per ship is three to four years. The reservist continues to report to his or her Naval Reserve Division, with stints on coastal patrol vessels and possibly on destroyers or frigates.
For more information, visit www.forces.ca
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