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Initiatives launched to retain and increase RCAF personnel experience levels

dimsum

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PuckChaser said:
Leather jackets and pearl grey tanks should have fixed everything.

Leather jackets that didn't look awful, you mean.  I would have bought a USAF A-2 jacket.

 

daftandbarmy

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Dimsum said:
Leather jackets that didn't look awful, you mean.  I would have bought a USAF A-2 jacket.

One good reason to be in NATO is to be able to trade German aircrew for their leather jackets. One team! :)
 

childs56

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I don't think pay is going to do much to retain people. Honestly spec pay is pretty decent. For those who don't think it is need to look at the work others do to get the same.  I don't think pay would solve much. Location of work is the main issue. A close second would be treatment. It's time to get back to Leadership and away from managers.
 

CBH99

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exCAFguy said:
The reality here is this is not an RCAF specific problem, it’s happening throughout the entire CAF.

One of the biggest factors for everyone I’ve talked to that released (myself included) was salary.  Having said that, I understand that is out of the CAFs control and it is what it is really.....nothing they can do about that.

What they CAN do to help with retention, in my opinion, is to not treat their people like garbage.  The other major factor from friends who’ve all released recently (myself included) is “leadership”.  In the 13 years I was in before releasing, I noticed a massive nose dive in the competence as well as quality level of human beings in the higher ups.  The toxicity from higher from when I left compared to when I joined is unreal in how much it’s elevated.  Perhaps it’s due to the fact that in the Afghan days, higher ups were too busy with real work, whereas these days it seems like they have nothing else to do so they implement some of the worlds dumbest decisions in an attempt to make their PER look more attractive.......which in turn drives people away.

Add to that the postings for the sake of postings, out of trade positions, the atmosphere of going to work and wondering if today is the day an OP Honour witch hunt is going to target you, and it’s plainly obvious to anyone below the rank of Col, it seems, why the CAF is having such retention and recruiting issues. 

To be honest, I don’t think this problem is going to get better before it gets worse.




I have to agree with the leadership part of this.

When I transitioned to the civvy world, I was immediately shown the sometimes stark difference between leadership & management.  Leadership and management are NOT the same thing, and I think people coming out of the military see the difference significantly more than someone who hasn't been in.

That being said, leadership was different back in the Afghan War days.  The military had a focus.  Every 6 months, big battlegroup deploys for actual combat operations.  Lessons to be learned.  A theatre that can constantly change.  And steady WIA and KIA to remind everybody to smarten up & focus, because your going to be patrolling the same areas these guys & gals were.

A sense of purpose and excitement for people.  Leaders HAD to be leaders, and they had pretty significant challenges to organize & face down themselves.  Those that lacked stuck around unfortunately, but the culture was more purposed and focused.

Overall, I found the culture was significantly more appealing.



I also agree with a post above about the location of work.  It doesn't matter how slick the recruiting ads are, nobody is ever going to be "excited" to live in Shilo, MB for a few years.  Or Cold Lake for that matter.  Our geography, however, is what it is...


Pay was never an issue for me.  I never expected to be rich when I joined the military, and we are among the top paid militaries in NATO.  Add in the extra spec pay & various allowances, and I found pay to be pretty decent.
 

kev994

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CTD said:
I don't think pay is going to do much to retain people. Honestly spec pay is pretty decent. For those who don't think it is need to look at the work others do to get the same.  I don't think pay would solve much. Location of work is the main issue. A close second would be treatment. It's time to get back to Leadership and away from managers.
Pay may not be the reason some people are leaving, but it can make up for a lot, and the bases aren’t changing any time soon. For pilots, First Officers get paid well compared to civi side, Aircraft Commanders, not so much.
 

MilEME09

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https://calgaryherald.com/pmn/news-pmn/canada-news-pmn/pilot-desperate-air-force-sees-nine-aviators-rejoin-amid-covid-19/wcm/9d42de97-99b8-45d6-aa1a-255d3ee73e20?utm_medium=Social&utm_source=Facebook#Echobox=1599429299

Related to the topic, RCAF states they have only managed to get 9 pilots to come back as part of an initiative to bring former pilots back. Of those 9, only 4 are full time, RCAF is still short over 140 pilots.

Given how many pilots are out of jobs right now I sure hope they are trying to recruit experienced commercial pilots to the RCAF.
 

Quirky

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MilEME09 said:
https://calgaryherald.com/pmn/news-pmn/canada-news-pmn/pilot-desperate-air-force-sees-nine-aviators-rejoin-amid-covid-19/wcm/9d42de97-99b8-45d6-aa1a-255d3ee73e20?utm_medium=Social&utm_source=Facebook#Echobox=1599429299

Related to the topic, RCAF states they have only managed to get 9 pilots to come back as part of an initiative to bring former pilots back. Of those 9, only 4 are full time, RCAF is still short over 140.

If you can’t convince unemployed (supposedly) former military pilots back into the RCAF during a pandemic then nothing will. Also the article keeps referring to pilots as aviators when it’s the equivalent of a private in the RCAF. I’m glad we bring back traditional rank names for the sake of nostalgia.
 

Jarnhamar

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New flight suits stuffed full of cash, no-posting promises and F35 rides?
 

SupersonicMax

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The problem is rooted much deeper than compensation.  Paying people may keep them for the short term but it will not keep people in the long run.  There are issues with trust in the CoC (can the CoC do what it says it does?), quality of life (how long can you sustain 12-hour days, often including weekends, without breaking your family, nevermind enjoy life?), lack of vision (where will the Air Force be in 5, 10, 15, 20 years?) and purpose (what actually is the Air Force purpose?  Project force abroad to defend our interest or merely wave the flag when it suits the government?)

Once there are satisfactory answers to those issues, you may see people sticking it out more than the minimum 13 years and stay for the long term.
 

dimsum

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SupersonicMax said:
The problem is rooted much deeper than compensation.  Paying people may keep them for the short term but it will not keep people in the long run.  There are issues with trust in the CoC (can the CoC do what it says it does?), quality of life (how long can you sustain 12-hour days, often including weekends, without breaking your family, nevermind enjoy life?), lack of vision (where will the Air Force be in 5, 10, 15, 20 years?) and purpose (what actually is the Air Force purpose?  Project force abroad to defend our interest or merely wave the flag when it suits the government?)

Once there are satisfactory answers to those issues, you may see people sticking it out more than the minimum 13 years and stay for the long term.

Bingo.  However, I'm not sure how the CAF can even give satisfactory issues given its constraints.  Similarly, every military is going through the same thing, so either we're all going about it the wrong way or it's something that requires completely out-of-the-box/radical measures.
 

daftandbarmy

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MilEME09 said:
https://calgaryherald.com/pmn/news-pmn/canada-news-pmn/pilot-desperate-air-force-sees-nine-aviators-rejoin-amid-covid-19/wcm/9d42de97-99b8-45d6-aa1a-255d3ee73e20?utm_medium=Social&utm_source=Facebook#Echobox=1599429299

Related to the topic, RCAF states they have only managed to get 9 pilots to come back as part of an initiative to bring former pilots back. Of those 9, only 4 are full time, RCAF is still short over 140 pilots.

Given how many pilots are out of jobs right now I sure hope they are trying to recruit experienced commercial pilots to the RCAF.

I assume being perpetually exiled to places like Cold Lake (the hint is in the name) has had no impact on retention? ;)
 

TCM621

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Speaking from the tech point of view. It is real easy to convince people to sign past their BIE because most of them are waiting for, or just recently completed their type course making them able to actually work on the Airplane by themselves. It is much harder to keep them past 10 years. We have nothing to keep them in. A lot of techs would rather work on planes than be an administrator but after 4 years as a corporal they are maxed out for incentives for the rest of their career. Even if they do want to be supervisors the difference between a Spec 1 Cpl IPC 4 and a Spec 1 Sgt IPC 1 is about 400 dollars a month. To get that 400 dollars a month the cpl has to be merited twice with all the extra work that takes outside of their job like mess committee positions, university courses the military doesn't want to pay for any more, secondary duties, etc.

Then you have all the problems associated with a broke military like lack of specialty (and some cases career) courses, lack of parts or tools to actually fix the old, worn out planes properly, a CoC that preaches the danger of a no fail mentality while giving you multiple no fail missions at the same time.

As out old planes get older, we need better trained, more experienced techs but our techs struggle to get the training they need and they quit just as they're getting the experience. Because they don't have either the training or experience, it takes longer to diagnose problems, and to repair the Airplane. This results in airplane that are down longer and more often than they need to be. As much as I under that CO had a boss and has a mission that needs to be met, pilots without planes are pretty useless.
 

dimsum

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daftandbarmy said:
I assume being perpetually exiled to places like Cold Lake (the hint is in the name) has had no impact on retention? ;)

From what I hear, you have to request fast jets.  So, Pilots generally volunteer for Cold Lake (maybe not the SAR Griffon squadron there though). 

The techs though?  Not so much.
 

MilEME09

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Dimsum said:
From what I hear, you have to request fast jets.  So, Pilots generally volunteer for Cold Lake (maybe not the SAR Griffon squadron there though). 

The techs though?  Not so much.

Talking with a MSE Op that was posted to cold lake, keeping Log Os and senior staff is particularly challenging as people never want to cone back if they leave, and only do come back if it is a career requirement.
 

daftandbarmy

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MilEME09 said:
Talking with a MSE Op that was posted to cold lake, keeping Log Os and senior staff is particularly challenging as people never want to cone back if they leave, and only do come back if it is a career requirement.

Beats me why they don't shift them all to Comox. Would our NORAD commitments be null and void or something if we did that? 

 

SeaKingTacco

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I wouldn’t mind seeing another fast jet gun Sqn based at Comox again. The locals would not like it though.

The biggest issue is range access, which Cold Lake has in spades and Comox does not.
 

SupersonicMax

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Range access isn’t an issue in Bagotville - we don’t have a dedicated range there, only airspace.  We either go to Goose Bay (for scenario-based training missions) or Varcartier (academic weapon deliveries).  Same could be done from Comox. 

There isn’t any appetite to bring fighters to Comox anymore.  There are a lot of politics at play (both in Cold Lake and Comox).
 

dimsum

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daftandbarmy said:
Beats me why they don't shift them all to Comox. Would our NORAD commitments be null and void or something if we did that?

Edmonton would make more sense, since it's closer to the range and any NORAD commitment up that way.  But they tore up the old runways on base, so unless EIA is willing to let the sqns use their infrastructure, good luck.

Re:  Range access - the Australians don't base their aircraft near their big ranges.  In the diagram below, they TD them up for exercises in the ranges (blue circles) as needed, but generally they're near the major cities (red circles) with the exception of RAAF Tindal up north.  RAAF Pierce in Western Australia is essentially their Portage/Moose Jaw, while RAAF East Sale is their 1CFFTS equivalent - no combat aircraft are there.  The RAAF also tend to base all of one type of aircraft in one place (C-17s, Super Hornets, A330s, and Growlers at RAAF Amberley near Brisbane, Hercs and C-27s at RAAF Richmond near Sydney, P-8s at RAAF Edinburgh near Adelaide, etc) except for the fighters, and even then that's only because the Classic Hornets (and soon F-35s) will be at both Tindal and Williamtown. 

All this to say that aside from political reasons, I don't understand why we are so tied to being close to CLAWR. 


 

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lenaitch

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Realistically, how far can any branch of the CAF go with its locations to accommodate or attract staffing?  It's a deployed service with operational needs and I sometimes wonder what applicants are thinking, and what recruiters are telling them about where they might end up (although I appreciate that CAF locations are as much political decisions as they are operational).  Back in that days of the DEW, Mid-Canada and Pinetree lines, probably thousands of personnel were posted to very remote locations.

There has been talk on other sites, possibly this one as well, that some of the FOLs should be turned into FOBs, which I have to believe would exasperate this problem exponentially.

The workforce is changing.  My former employer, the OPP, has similar difficulty staffing not only remote detachments but even some not-so-remote rural ones, because younger members don't want to live there.  Most northern detachments are fixed-term under contract - which substantial northern allowance bonuses, but in many cases the only way they can staff them is with recruits, which means their training officers are not far off being recruits themselves.  In many small locations, very few stay beyond their duration term.  Even in many smaller but not so remote southern locations, 12-hour shifts allows many to live in a city, show up and do their 4-day duty cycle (some share an apartment, etc.) then go home.  Not great for community engagement.
 

daftandbarmy

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Dimsum said:
Edmonton would make more sense, since it's closer to the range and any NORAD commitment up that way.  But they tore up the old runways on base, so unless EIA is willing to let the sqns use their infrastructure, good luck.

Re:  Range access - the Australians don't base their aircraft near their big ranges.  In the diagram below, they TD them up for exercises in the ranges (blue circles) as needed, but generally they're near the major cities (red circles) with the exception of RAAF Tindal up north.  RAAF Pierce in Western Australia is essentially their Portage/Moose Jaw, while RAAF East Sale is their 1CFFTS equivalent - no combat aircraft are there.  The RAAF also tend to base all of one type of aircraft in one place (C-17s, Super Hornets, A330s, and Growlers at RAAF Amberley near Brisbane, Hercs and C-27s at RAAF Richmond near Sydney, P-8s at RAAF Edinburgh near Adelaide, etc) except for the fighters, and even then that's only because the Classic Hornets (and soon F-35s) will be at both Tindal and Williamtown. 

All this to say that aside from political reasons, I don't understand why we are so tied to being close to CLAWR.

Next thing you know you'll be wondering why we sentence thousands of innocent soldiers, and their families, to places like Gagetown and Shilo :)
 
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