After years of a gratifying career in the military, members transition to the civilian world are often unaware of how to translate their skills and expertise. Consequently, many end up in careers that are not as rewarding.
But according to Maj. (ret’d) Larry Stieler there’s a simple solution of how to translate the expertise gained while serving in the Canadian Armed Forces.
“A project is a short-term thing. It’s got a start date and an end date. It’s got a mission or an operation, and you got a decision, an outcome, you have to come to at the end. So, that’s a project, and you guys have been managing projects. So, you guys will be project managers,” explained Stieler.
To help veterans transition into rewarding careers as project managers, Stieler has brought the Vets2PM program to Canada.
Vets2PM was co-founded by Eric Wright and other veterans in the United States to help transitioning members jump into the project management world without having to go back to school.
Their program has been approved by the Project Management Institute.
Stieler, who served as a logistics officer for 43 years as a full-time reservist, was looking for a way to become a project manager in the civilian world after retiring from the military in 2016. However, the information he came across indicated that he had to go back to university to receive his Project Management Professional (PMP) designation.
“I’m looking at this and thinking well I already know how to do this stuff. I would do project management when I was a civilian. I was in project management when I was in the military. Why would I want to go back to school to learn all of this when I already know how to do it?” stated Stieler.
During his research, he came across the Vets2PM organization and reached out. Wright suggested that the program be brought to Canada and together the two worked on a Canadian version of Vets2PM.
A pilot run of the program was held in September 2017 with 10 veterans and two still-serving members attending.
The Vets2PM Canada program offers five days of intensive classes followed by a steady online reading of Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK®). Through the program veterans and Canadian Armed Forces (CAF), members learn how to translate skills and terminology from the military side of project management to the civilian world, according to the Project Management Institute’s most recent edition of PMBOK. They build on interpersonal skills, conflict resolution, personnel management and other skills needed to become successful project managers.
Attendees also are granted membership to the PMI and have access to materials and software for up to a year after the class.
Additionally, veterans are given support in writing resumes, interviewing skills and are given one-on-one interview coaching calls.
All attendants are given the option to take the PMP designation exam at a discounted rate at the end of the course.
According to Stieler the program not only helps veterans transition into lucrative careers, obtain raises in current careers, or score top points for government jobs, it also is beneficial for members still serving in the CAF.
“This is a great program. It’ll make them better, faster, more cost-effective and safer in their current trades to do their jobs because now they got the standard that’s out there, that’s been proven the way to do it,” noted Stieler.
Stieler is now working with Veterans Affairs Canada to become an approved partner and offer the course to a wider range of veterans at little to no cost. The first set of courses are planned for early May.
“I’m humbled that I’m allowed to do this, but I’m extremely proud we’re able to offer veterans and CAF members this opportunity. There was nothing I knew of that I found before this that was available to CAF members or veterans to capitalize on their experience at a very small cost,” said Stieler.
The following is a list of dates currently planned for the Vets2PM Canada classes. Dates and locations are subject to change based on sufficient student enrolment and instructor availability.
Victoria, BC May 7-11
CFB Edmonton May 14-18
Winnipeg, MB May 28-June 1
Kingston, ON June 4-8
Ottawa, ON June 18-22
CFB Gagetown June 25-29
St. John’s NL July 9-13