Building on the astounding success of the BCIT Legion program, the British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT) is launching a career component to its program that currently fast tracks education for military members.
Launched in 2008, because of the large reservist population in the area, BCIT realized there was a need to assist military members to jumpstart their civilian careers.
“We were kind of a land and launch pad for people going to Afghanistan. So, we had an influx of members coming back that switched from full time back to part-time contracts. There was a big demand,” said Amber Butterworth, Project Lead for the National Advanced Placement and Prior Learning Program.
And, so, in partnership with the Legion, BCIT developed the Legion Military Skills Conversion Program that is designed to accelerate the civilian career of former and current military members.
The Institute has worked over the years to perfect various pathways to assist military members in obtaining careers in fields such as HR, business, international business management, accounting, ecological restoration and much more.
“We were kind of a land and launch pad for people going to Afghanistan. So, we had an influx of members coming back that switched from full time back to part-time contracts. There was a big demand,” Amber Butterworth, Project Lead for the National Advanced Placement and Prior Learning Program.
Path One of BCIT’s program takes a holistic approach in the advanced placement of military members into one of the polytechnics programs.
Based on the member’s rank and experiences, credentials can be fast-tracked and years can be reduced for a particular program. For example, says Butterworth, a member could potentially receive a bachelor’s in business two years rather than three to five.
“We take everything into consideration, which is fantastic. Any civilian work counts, any dabbling in any part-time studies counts. So, bring in your transcripts,” added Butterworth.
Since 2008, 700 military members have accessed BCIT Legion services.
The growing success of the program led BCIT to work with other educational institutions to launch a nationwide Advanced Placement and Prior Learning program in 2016. The program is offered in both official languages and offered in numerous institutions across the country.
BCIT’s in-house program also consists of career planning services for members of the Canadian Armed Forces, regardless of whether they are students at BCIT or not. Members can receive help with preference testing, assessments, skills translation, and writing resume and cover letters.
The program also offers assistance for veterans looking to become entrepreneurs, which is Path Two of the program.
Therefore, Butterworth says adding a career component was just a natural next step to grow and diversify the BCIT Legion program.
As part of this new phase of the program, or “Path Three: Get a Career” an Education and Employment Fair was held on Thursday, May 2 to connect members with various work opportunities. Employers that were part of the fair were specifically interested in hiring former CAF members and understand the value of hiring veterans.
Employers part of the BCIT network come from diverse fields and offer military members a number of different career pathways. The employers have also gone through specific training to understand the value of working with former military members.
The career component to the BCIT Legion program is fairly new, and plans are in place to perfect it over the coming months. The goal is to make the Education and Employment Fair an annual event.
“Our vision is to have it [career component] as a job board one day. So, we’re working towards that,” said Butterworth.
The job board could come together as early as next year, says Butterworth.
To learn more about the Legion Military Skills Conversion Program visit BCIT’s website here. To see if an institute near you offers advanced placement visit the National Advance Placement and Prior Learning website.