Vancouver Island veterans get visit from coding career caravan

Global News· Posted September 30, 2021 7:11 pm

Coding for Veterans is a program that retrains and reskills Canadian military veterans who want new careers in the defence and tech industries. Credit: Coding for Veterans

Veterans on Vancouver Island got a visit this week from a cross-country recruitment campaign that offers training and skill development in the information and technology sector.

The Coding for Veterans program offers provides targeted, accessible education to Canadian military veterans who want to pursue new careers in software and cybersecurity.

“In their DNA is a protection, defence kind of mindset,” said Pat Shaw, academic director of Coding for Veterans, in an interview with Global News.

“Cybersecurity and IT is really about protecting a wide range of identity, property, ideas that exist in the civilian economy or in the military economy.”

Every year, roughly 7,000 people leave the Canadian Armed Forces with an average age of 45.

To date, more than 200 of them have graduated from the Coding for Veterans program, which can be completed online in about 10 months through the University of Ottawa.

Some are now working for the Department of National Defence, said Shaw.

“We have such a demand for technology professionals in the IT industry, that what we found was that veterans, people who had served, bring a great resource of soft skills in terms of their understanding of leadership, commitment to a project, working with another, supporting each other.”

Coding for Veterans welcomes all military veterans no matter their trade, he added, from cooks to military intelligence officers.

The program has also been expanded recently to include Afghan citizens who supported Canadian troops overseas, and have now immigrated to Canada.

Uptake during the COVID-19 pandemic has been particularly high, said Shaw, who toured Vancouver Island the week of Sept. 27, making stops at CFB Comox and CFB Esquimalt.