The Coding for Veterans caravan is promoting their mission - to bring Canadian troops from ‘Deployment to Employment' - at a Royal Canadian Legion location.
The Coding for Veterans program is all about harnessing the skills and experiences of veterans who served the country, and to train them for careers in software, cybersecurity and anything information technology.
Executive director of Coding for Veterans, Jeff Musson, says the tech sector is facing a shortfall, with about 182,000 IT jobs in Canada projected to go unfilled.
“I actually said, if I were to create my ideal developer in software what skills do they have? Leadership, attention to detail and teamwork,” says Musson.
After looking at the soft skills of someone from the Canadian military, Musson said it was a perfect alignment, sparking the Coding for Veterans course.
“It’s a great opportunity for veterans to have stable income, jobs and a great opportunity in the tech sector,” Musson says.
The course is eight months long, offered in partnership with the University of Ottawa, or 24 months on a part-time basis.
The program is 100 per cent online and the tuition is free for military veterans because the funding is paid through Veterans Affairs Canada for those who qualify, Musson says.
John Sluggett, a 10-year veteran service officer for the Victory branch of the Royal Canadian Legion, calls the course "an amazing idea."
“When I got out of the service, it was like a handshake goodbye, there were no programs at all for veterans at that time…the more (resources) the better,’ says Sluggett. “Veterans today, they’ve signed the dotted line, they’ve willed and gave their life for this country, we deserve to treat them right.”
Musson says employers like some Canadian banks, defence contractors and tech companies have reached out to the program looking to hire veterans trained in software development or cybersecurity.
Since in-person job fairs have been cancelled due to COVID-19, Coding for Veterans has partnered with Royal Canadian Legion locations across the province to help them promote the course.
Coding for Veterans has packed their program into a caravan which they have driven across Ontario, from North Bay to Kingston, Ottawa, Toronto, London and more.
At the legion halls the caravan is stationed outside in the parking lot, with physical distancing measures and face masks.
“We decided to take the message out to the communities in Ontario, right to the veterans themselves,’ says Musson.
The tour will stop at most major military centres in Ontario, and on Remembrance Day it will deploy in Ottawa for the special ceremonies on Nov. 11.