Twelve veterans recently became the newest graduates of the Wounded Warriors Canada Veteran Trainers to Eradicate the Use of Child Soldiers (VTECS) program at Dalhousie University.
The program is part of the Roméo Dallaire Child Soldier Initiative, recognized as the only organization in the world taking a prevention-oriented, security sector focused approach against child soldiery.
“We are excited to build upon the success of our graduates who through their unique set of skills and perspectives are well placed to help support and grow our mission of ending the use of children as weapons of war,” states Dr. Shelly Whitman, Executive Director of the Roméo Dallaire Child Soldiers Initiative.
The VTECS program educates participants about the realities of child soldiery and gives veterans an assist in developing instructor and facilitation skills, meant to benefit veterans in every angle of their transition to civilian life.
This year’s graduates, which also included an RCMP veteran for the first time, will now become community educators and advocates and work towards the Dallaire Initiative’s vision of a world without child soldiers.
“We continue to work with Veterans who are struggling to transition their specialized skills to the civilian workspace. We believe the VTECS program is a force multiplier – leveraging the skill set of our highly trained Veterans while also providing skills transition training; access to an academic environment; credits/accreditation possibilities and employment opportunities. On behalf of Wounded Warriors Canada, we congratulate the second cohort on their graduation and wish them the very best as they progress through the program in the months and years ahead,” said Scott Maxwell, Executive Director of Wounded Warriors Canada.
The graduation ceremony, which was held in late July, was attended by a number of Members of Parliament including, The Honourable Andy Fillmore, MP for Halifax, representatives of Dalhousie University, Wounded Warriors Canada, the Air Canada Foundation and more.
"VTECS is a truly unique program leveraging the skills and knowledge of Veterans who continue to serve their country by contributing to the mission of ending the use of children as weapons of war. I am honoured to have been afforded the opportunity to work with such an inspiring team at the Roméo Dallaire Child Soldiers Initiative and look forward to making many future contributions to such a noble cause,” said LCol Michael Rostek, commented.