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Initiatives launched to retain and increase RCAF personnel experience levels

dimsum

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More on the overall topic, I believe trades based pay scales could be a very handy way to recruit and retain pers in some jobs.
Below is the link to the eye chart that the ADF uses for their pay and benefits. It would take a lot of work, but that might solve some complaints about different trades (e.g. Log vs AERE) of the same rank being paid the same, despite different educational requirements.

 

TCM621

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CMs can't know every mbr of the trade at every rank; that is why there are regional "managers" for lack of a better term - I've heard different trades use different terms.

I am in a relatively small trade (200 give or take). My most important contact, IMO, isn't the C Mgr; it is my "Fleet MWO" and "Fleet CWO".

C Mgr briefings in my trade include info on what the C Mgr "cycle" is; SCBL prep, promotion boards, posting plot, issuing promotion and posting instructions...rinse repeat (simplified version, of course...). So it's more of a de-centralized function in some aspects, centralized at others.

Perfect system? Nope.

I agree that a single person can't know everything about every member but they should be more engaged then they are now. The CAGs might be a solution to that but I think it might exacerbate the situation as Cold Lake people stay Cold Lake and Bagotville people stay in Bagotville. I can't see a huge budget for posting people across the country to do the same jobs when they can just shuffle them around locally, especially since so many people are clamouring for longer postings. A long term posting is only attractive to people who like where they are.



Agreed on Para 1, it's better to keep a member over the long term than have them release out of frustration due to someone else's "plan" for their career.

As for CMs, I was shocked when I got to Ottawa to learn just how much they deal with, and how burnt out they can get after a couple of years in the job. When it comes to coursing, they don't deal with "trades training", only "career courses" (PLQ/ILP), and even with those they simply nominate and CDA does the loading.

I know that with my trade the CM can't plan anyone's career, because releases and staffing shortages mean they are left plugging the critical holes while other holes are left empty.

More on the overall topic, I believe trades based pay scales could be a very handy way to recruit and retain pers in some jobs.

Everything you mention is a problem but it doesn't mean we shouldn't be doing it. We don't have enough manpower to do anything properly. At some point, we need to stop pretending we can do less with more. We started that in the 90s and we never stopped. Now everyone has 5 hats and they are all hats that used to be worn by someone with a high rank on their chest.

My biggest complaint with Op Experience (besides the fact it highlights the fact the RCAF care more about Pilots and less about people who do everything that allows them to fly) is that we are trying to weed the garden while the house is on fire. Patches and shirts with rondels on them raise morale for about 5 minutes but it certainly doesn't affect how I feel about quiting.

I have wanted to ask one question of the leadership and I haven't been able to find a forum, or phrasing, to ask it in a way that won't come back to make thigs worse. That question is "Why should I stay in? I actually looked into the hit I would take quiting at year 18 of a 20 year contract to see if I hated my career worse than that number. (It's a big number and I don't hate my job that much). My promotion is barely tired to my performance, so I have very little control over that and dealing with a the promotion games just makes me hate my job more. I don't have any prospects of tours or good courses. I don't even know what my job will look like in 5 years because I haven't heard from a SOA in something like 5 years and the CM has no idea. So why shouldn't I run away from the military as fast as I can, as soon as I can"

This is coming from someone who has a direct military line going back to the First World War and went to the recruiting center the first business day after his 17th birthday. The military is my dream job, or it would be if I did the job I'm supposed to according to my OCC specs. Instead, I live a nightmare where I have no idea what life is going to look like in a month or two let alone 3-5 years from now, while doing jobs that are so far above my terms of references that I'm not even sure if I should be allowed to do them.
 

dimsum

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I have wanted to ask one question of the leadership and I haven't been able to find a forum, or phrasing, to ask it in a way that won't come back to make thigs worse. That question is "Why should I stay in? I actually looked into the hit I would take quiting at year 18 of a 20 year contract to see if I hated my career worse than that number. (It's a big number and I don't hate my job that much). My promotion is barely tired to my performance, so I have very little control over that and dealing with a the promotion games just makes me hate my job more. I don't have any prospects of tours or good courses. I don't even know what my job will look like in 5 years because I haven't heard from a SOA in something like 5 years and the CM has no idea. So why shouldn't I run away from the military as fast as I can, as soon as I can"
From your posts, I think you're in the RCAF (correct me if I'm wrong). If so, stuff like this is why RCafe was created.

Same with the Pilot focus too (which I agree).
 

TCM621

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From your posts, I think you're in the RCAF (correct me if I'm wrong). If so, stuff like this is why RCafe was created.

Same with the Pilot focus too (which I agree).
And as soon as I figure out how to phrase it in a way that is something besides a laundry list of complaints, I will probably post something there. I have been following all the Q&As from the virtual town halls being done with interest. The biggest thing that stands out so far is that the RCAF has almost zero ability to deal with the issue that are really important to members and the CAF only had a slightly better ability. Op Experience seems like a well meaning afterthought to Op Talent that is basically doomed to failure because we just are incapable of making the structural changes required for success.
 

Quirky

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I get the "type course doesn't equal proficient", of course, but was surprised that "Type Course + 5 years doesn't equal proficient". Tks for the info!

Curious...is part of the issue (if there is one) related to the amount of systems/maint that each trade is responsible for? Thinking back to the day when my Dad was an Airframe Tech, and there were Aero Engine, IE Tech, Refinishing Techs etc etc before they were consolidated. Does the RCAF, or certain fleets, require too much from a single trade that would be better split into several trades, or sub-occupations ?

The main issue I see are people joining for a job, fewer are joining to become mechanics or have any interest in working with tools. People become pilots because they have an interest in flying. The vetting process for techs is non existent, everyone passes. I’ve seen completely inept people need 100% supervision years after their type courses and get contract extensions without question, even after mountains of paperwork covering deficiencies.
 

Good2Golf

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The vetting process for techs is non existent, everyone passes. I’ve seen completely inept people need 100% supervision years after their type courses and get contract extensions without question, even after mountains of paperwork covering deficiencies.
You mean the SAMS signed off on their POM? 😳
 

TCM621

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The main issue I see are people joining for a job, fewer are joining to become mechanics or have any interest in working with tools. People become pilots because they have an interest in flying. The vetting process for techs is non existent, everyone passes. I’ve seen completely inept people need 100% supervision years after their type courses and get contract extensions without question, even after mountains of paperwork covering deficiencies.
We have had a few cases where people refused to recommend a person and they just kept asking different people until one said yes.
 

Furniture

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The main issue I see are people joining for a job, fewer are joining to become mechanics or have any interest in working with tools. People become pilots because they have an interest in flying. The vetting process for techs is non existent, everyone passes. I’ve seen completely inept people need 100% supervision years after their type courses and get contract extensions without question, even after mountains of paperwork covering deficiencies.
It is a job... Maybe one of our major stumbling blocks when it comes to recruitment and retention is pretending it's a some holy calling.

Whether it's a "job", or a "calling" doesn't determine one's aptitude. Every trade struggles with people who barely pass the training, and are inept at the job. Instead of pretending more "zeal for Queen and country" would fix things, perhaps we should be fixing the HR mechanisms that prevent those people from switching to a job more suited to their skills. Maybe your tech is a bad wrench turner, but would make a great Met Tech, and maybe the guy who can't string two words together without stuttering is a bad Met Tech, but would be an amazing ATIS tech.
 

AM Sup

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I agree that a single person can't know everything about every member but they should be more engaged then they are now. The CAGs might be a solution to that but I think it might exacerbate the situation as Cold Lake people stay Cold Lake and Bagotville people stay in Bagotville. I can't see a huge budget for posting people across the country to do the same jobs when they can just shuffle them around locally, especially since so many people are clamouring for longer postings. A long term posting is only attractive to people who like where they are.





Everything you mention is a problem but it doesn't mean we shouldn't be doing it. We don't have enough manpower to do anything properly. At some point, we need to stop pretending we can do less with more. We started that in the 90s and we never stopped. Now everyone has 5 hats and they are all hats that used to be worn by someone with a high rank on their chest.

My biggest complaint with Op Experience (besides the fact it highlights the fact the RCAF care more about Pilots and less about people who do everything that allows them to fly) is that we are trying to weed the garden while the house is on fire. Patches and shirts with rondels on them raise morale for about 5 minutes but it certainly doesn't affect how I feel about quiting.

I have wanted to ask one question of the leadership and I haven't been able to find a forum, or phrasing, to ask it in a way that won't come back to make thigs worse. That question is "Why should I stay in? I actually looked into the hit I would take quiting at year 18 of a 20 year contract to see if I hated my career worse than that number. (It's a big number and I don't hate my job that much). My promotion is barely tired to my performance, so I have very little control over that and dealing with a the promotion games just makes me hate my job more. I don't have any prospects of tours or good courses. I don't even know what my job will look like in 5 years because I haven't heard from a SOA in something like 5 years and the CM has no idea. So why shouldn't I run away from the military as fast as I can, as soon as I can"

This is coming from someone who has a direct military line going back to the First World War and went to the recruiting center the first business day after his 17th birthday. The military is my dream job, or it would be if I did the job I'm supposed to according to my OCC specs. Instead, I live a nightmare where I have no idea what life is going to look like in a month or two let alone 3-5 years from now, while doing jobs that are so far above my terms of references that I'm not even sure if I should be allowed to do them.
I'll add my $0.02 on some of the points raised. The CAGS will help address brain drain from within fleets so that corporate knowledge and expertise can grow; particularly in younger fleets like the 147/148 but also in fleets like the 146 where the last I'd heard the lead time on new folks getting type training was ridiculous... I could be mistaken there. There is a ton of communication between Sqn & Fleet CWOs / ETOs and the career shop. We can't always get what we want at unit or fleet level but we've got a stronger stakeholder position under the current structure IMO. I spent quite a bit of time going back and forth with many of the Air Tech CMs and they were doing their best... there were a few honourable mentions but I'll just leave that as is. I did have a chance to sit as a promotion board member this past fall and it was a great experience as well as a real eye opener.

I've had the good fortune to have been posted to both coasts on both the 140 and 124.... eventually 148 fleets. I finished up out west as the D/ETO and I'd hoped to address some of the frustration from techs while I was in that office. One thing I will say that I consistently ran into was what I'll call the 'Will Hunting' response. When I'd chat with someone who was expressing that feeling of 'why should I stay... I hate this' in most occasions they couldn't tell me what they wanted to do or what they wanted to accomplish in their career. It was mostly just an iteration of 'this sucks', 'this is stupid' etc. I'm not saying that's the case with anybody in this thread but I would say if you ever get your chance to address concerns to someone behind an expensive desk, make sure you know exactly what you want accomplish and can hopefully express why the current model is preventing you or others from getting there. I've got my own somewhat jaded views regarding the 'patch for all occasions' thing that's going on.

Our SAMS at the time was running a similar play in parallel while I was out chatting with folks on the floor, behind the desks and in the shops. He had set up something of a road map for progression starting with: apprentices to get them ready for type; preparing new POMs for getting their level A once eligible; getting experienced techs on the road towards WSR; and preparing senior techs/AM Sups for whatever is is we do. He had face-to-face sit downs with everyone. We found it helped a great deal towards getting folks where they needed to be training and policy wise, but more importantly that face time gave us a chance to see what was pissing people off. I'll also say that the folks who needed those contacts the most were the toughest to get buy-in from.

If you're feeling lost or overwhelmed, is that due to getting handed projects you're not been trained for?
 

AM Sup

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You mean the SAMS signed off on their POM? 😳
I've seen a number of folks get punted from type training without gaining any sigs, but it's not common. We've had to rescind auths more than once to backtrack what I'd consider a failure of judgement from an OTU.
 

GR66

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For some of the technical trades would there be any opportunity for the CAF to partner with civilian schools (and the airlines/aerospace companies?) to do joint training?

In return for some Federal funding and provision of RCAF airframes to actually work on the schools could adjust their curriculum to mirror CAF trades training. The benefit for CAF members is that they would end up with training that matches civilian industry training making it easier for them to get employed when they release and for the benefit for the CAF would be that there would be a pool of civilian workers out there with basic trades training already completed that you could draw on as a potential recruiting pool.
 

Quirky

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It is a job... Maybe one of our major stumbling blocks when it comes to recruitment and retention is pretending it's a some holy calling.

Whether it's a "job", or a "calling" doesn't determine one's aptitude. Every trade struggles with people who barely pass the training, and are inept at the job. Instead of pretending more "zeal for Queen and country" would fix things, perhaps we should be fixing the HR mechanisms that prevent those people from switching to a job more suited to their skills. Maybe your tech is a bad wrench turner, but would make a great Met Tech, and maybe the guy who can't string two words together without stuttering is a bad Met Tech, but would be an amazing ATIS tech.

An issue I see are very good techs being promoted off the floor into office and supervisory positions - it's the only way to see any sort of pay raise. Some people are more than happy to just stay at the cpl/mcpl level and keep wrenching, however with only 5 pay incentives they quickly max out. We promote/post some of our best techs off the floor and all their years of experience disappears overnight. If a business operated the way we did, they'd be bankrupt very quickly. If a civilian company decided to purchase our F18s and base them anywhere but Cold Lake, my resume would be submitted the next day.

I've seen a number of folks get punted from type training without gaining any sigs, but it's not common. We've had to rescind auths more than once to backtrack what I'd consider a failure of judgement from an OTU.

Have you seen anyone get released due to the inability to perform their job? I haven't. They are always placed into the tool cribs and second line shops where they can't do any damage. Meanwhile, they are making the same top dollar as the people busting their ass on the flight line making those missions happen.
 

Good2Golf

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I've seen a number of folks get punted from type training without gaining any sigs, but it's not common. We've had to rescind auths more than once to backtrack what I'd consider a failure of judgement from an OTU.
Hopefully a rare case, as you note AM Sup. How is the training/qual feedback loop? One would hope that the OTU and the Units should be fairly close to each other, so if there is an occurrence/trend of quality, it can be addressed ASAP, and less so later through retraction of the A-check. I’m assuming in this model from the sounds of it that the school is granting POM, vice a unit sign off by the SAMS upon return from type training?

Regards
G2G
 

kev994

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If a civilian company decided to purchase our F18s and base them anywhere but Cold Lake, my resume would be submitted the next day.
Isn’t there a civilian company that rebuilds them at Mirabel?
 

Eye In The Sky

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I'll be interested to see how this retroactive thing works with aircra implemented into base pay. We have a letter circulating at work that members can expect less net pay as you are now contributing more to the pension each month....and a lump retroactive contribution once this all kicks in.

"Pay more now" and "pay more later"?

$400-$500 more in earning shouldn't equal the same amount in increased pension contributions. I'm confused, but not surprised; our pay increase earlier this year, I went up 400 and change and my mid-April pay went up....40 bucks.
 

AM Sup

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An issue I see are very good techs being promoted off the floor into office and supervisory positions - it's the only way to see any sort of pay raise. Some people are more than happy to just stay at the cpl/mcpl level and keep wrenching, however with only 5 pay incentives they quickly max out. We promote/post some of our best techs off the floor and all their years of experience disappears overnight. If a business operated the way we did, they'd be bankrupt very quickly. If a civilian company decided to purchase our F18s and base them anywhere but Cold Lake, my resume would be submitted the next day.



Have you seen anyone get released due to the inability to perform their job? I haven't. They are always placed into the tool cribs and second line shops where they can't do any damage. Meanwhile, they are making the same top dollar as the people busting their ass on the flight line making those missions happen.
I've seen at least 3 people that I can recall who were released due to job performance deficiencies, and several more were OT'd into trades that were better suited to their strengths and interests. It happens but it takes work and it is uncommon.

There was a very serious look into a lateral progression/Tech Sgt model a couple years back that I received a briefing on from the A4 Maint CWO at the time. I feel like there were actual dollar values in the model as well, I'm sure someone else here must have seen it. Pay incentives were tied to auths etc. I believe it died on the table somewhere.
 

Eye In The Sky

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If someone could explain what a POM is, I'd appreciate it. I'm equating it to a Category based on context...is that anywhere close to reality?
 

TCM621

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I'll add my $0.02 on some of the points raised. The CAGS will help address brain drain from within fleets so that corporate knowledge and expertise can grow; particularly in younger fleets like the 147/148 but also in fleets like the 146 where the last I'd heard the lead time on new folks getting type training was ridiculous... I could be mistaken there. There is a ton of communication between Sqn & Fleet CWOs / ETOs and the career shop. We can't always get what we want at unit or fleet level but we've got a stronger stakeholder position under the current structure IMO. I spent quite a bit of time going back and forth with many of the Air Tech CMs and they were doing their best... there were a few honourable mentions but I'll just leave that as is. I did have a chance to sit as a promotion board member this past fall and it was a great experience as well as a real eye opener.

I've had the good fortune to have been posted to both coasts on both the 140 and 124.... eventually 148 fleets. I finished up out west as the D/ETO and I'd hoped to address some of the frustration from techs while I was in that office. One thing I will say that I consistently ran into was what I'll call the 'Will Hunting' response. When I'd chat with someone who was expressing that feeling of 'why should I stay... I hate this' in most occasions they couldn't tell me what they wanted to do or what they wanted to accomplish in their career. It was mostly just an iteration of 'this sucks', 'this is stupid' etc. I'm not saying that's the case with anybody in this thread but I would say if you ever get your chance to address concerns to someone behind an expensive desk, make sure you know exactly what you want accomplish and can hopefully express why the current model is preventing you or others from getting there. I've got my own somewhat jaded views regarding the 'patch for all occasions' thing that's going on.

Our SAMS at the time was running a similar play in parallel while I was out chatting with folks on the floor, behind the desks and in the shops. He had set up something of a road map for progression starting with: apprentices to get them ready for type; preparing new POMs for getting their level A once eligible; getting experienced techs on the road towards WSR; and preparing senior techs/AM Sups for whatever is is we do. He had face-to-face sit downs with everyone. We found it helped a great deal towards getting folks where they needed to be training and policy wise, but more importantly that face time gave us a chance to see what was pissing people off. I'll also say that the folks who needed those contacts the most were the toughest to get buy-in from.

If you're feeling lost or overwhelmed, is that due to getting handed projects you're not been trained for?
The CAGs are a good solution for the RCAF and retain knowledge on a fleet but they don't seem to address issue members have. Again it comes down to the biggest drain on our experience isn't beneficial postings for members. It is the lose of experience at the 10-12 mark and retaining pensionable people beyond their 20/25. The CMs have to post people to full those spots and typically that involves changing fleets

A lot of those people can only identify the problems but do we really expect Cpls, MCpls and Capts to have answers the CAF doesn't have? When they tell ask their CoC "why should I stay... I hate this" what they are saying is that I have all these problems and nothing I can do will make them better, please help.


An issue I see are very good techs being promoted off the floor into office and supervisory positions - it's the only way to see any sort of pay raise. Some people are more than happy to just stay at the cpl/mcpl level and keep wrenching, however with only 5 pay incentives they quickly max out. We promote/post some of our best techs off the floor and all their years of experience disappears overnight. If a business operated the way we did, they'd be bankrupt very quickly. If a civilian company decided to purchase our F18s and base them anywhere but Cold Lake, my resume would be submitted the next day.



Have you seen anyone get released due to the inability to perform their job? I haven't. They are always placed into the tool cribs and second line shops where they can't do any damage. Meanwhile, they are making the same top dollar as the people busting their ass on the flight line making those missions happen.

This is a big problem. We have a lot of talented technicians who, through lack of skill or will, couldn't lead their way out of a paperbag. We promote these people (often inflating their potential) in order to reward them for their work. We need something to reward those people and it has to be a real reward that recognizes their value to the organization. I like the idea a rank is one step above the working rank of Cpl/Capt but isn't a leadership rank. Unlike cpl/capt it would be earned and tell everyone that this person is a technical expert.

Hopefully a rare case, as you note AM Sup. How is the training/qual feedback loop? One would hope that the OTU and the Units should be fairly close to each other, so if there is an occurrence/trend of quality, it can be addressed ASAP, and less so later through retraction of the A-check. I’m assuming in this model from the sounds of it that the school is granting POM, vice a unit sign off by the SAMS upon return from type training?

Regards
G2G

It's more common than you think. Quite often we push people to get their A lvl because we need that signature on crew. Then we will have to take their A lvls away because they keep screwing up. Occasionally they will remove all their authorizations although that tends to be a temporary measure.
 

AM Sup

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Hopefully a rare case, as you note AM Sup. How is the training/qual feedback loop? One would hope that the OTU and the Units should be fairly close to each other, so if there is an occurrence/trend of quality, it can be addressed ASAP, and less so later through retraction of the A-check. I’m assuming in this model from the sounds of it that the school is granting POM, vice a unit sign off by the SAMS upon return from type training?

Regards
G2G
It depends I suppose, 443 always has some comms issues with being the distant part of 12 Wg but we kept in contact with 406 as much as possible and tried to work together on everything. We were transitioning to the 148 out west during my last year there so we had a ton of contact with 406, there were still some hiccups but considering the volume of training that was going on at the time, it was to be expected.

Yes, the OTU SAMS conducts interviews and grants POM before the end of the course. The 1st line unit SAMS and the 406 SAMS were keeping in pretty close contact when I was there and I'd assume that to be the case today. I'm in the 148 AEO shop now so I'm removed from that stuff these days.
 
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