May 30, 2012
ALDO VETTESE/STUDIO SEVEN
Helmets to Hardhats
How military skills relate to construction
Retired Brigadier-General Gregory Matte has been chosen to lead the charge as the Helmets to Hardhats (H2H) program officially launches in Canada.
Matte will serve as executive director of the program which gives veterans exclusive access to jobs and training opportunities in the construction industry, where they can apply the skills they developed in the Canadian military.
Of the more than 85 trades in the Canadian military, at least 12 to 15 trades are directly compatible with building trades. Military personnel are often asked to do a wide variety of tasks around the world, explained Matte, pointing to the Canadian military’s involvement in rebuilding Haiti after a massive 2010 earthquake and helping rebuild infrastructure in Afghanistan.
“The skills, qualifications and experience that are earned in the military are not easily understood or ‘translated’ into civilian terms, and as such, it’s not uncommon for ex-military people to experience challenges and frustration in successfully finding a fit in the civilian workforce,” explained Matte.
“However, given that business often hires for skills, but pays for productivity, ex-military personnel quickly become recognized for their solid work ethic and ability to quickly adapt to new challenges, including management positions.”
Between 4,000 and 6,000 people retire from the regular force component of the Canadian military each year.
“The unemployment rate is higher than it has been in the last decade at least; I think there will be a hole to fill. I think there will be people that will be interested in finding steady employment and this will be one opportunity, hopefully, of others that they have,” explained Matte.
H2H and Matte recently had their first official start at the Helmets to Hardhats Fundraising Dinner on May 23 organized by a collection of construction and building trades stakeholders.
At the dinner, Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty announced a $150,000 contribution, which matches support from the province of Alberta and the federal government.
McGuinty said over the last decade Ontario’s construction labor force grew by 34 per cent, compared to just 16 per cent for the rest of the labor force. In April, $2.7 billion in building permits were issued in the province, more than the nine other provinces combined.
H2H startup costs are estimated at between $750,000 and $1 million. They include administration, website development and Matte’s salary.
The website, which will serve as a portal to pairing retiring members, including wounded vets, with opportunities in the construction trades, is set to launch soon. More Canadians served in Afghanistan than Korea and of those who returned from Afghanistan, 4,181 are collecting disability payments from Veterans Affairs.
Matte graduated with distinction in 1985 from Royal Roads Military College in Victoria with a BSc in Computer Science and Physics and was awarded the Governor General’s Gold Medal.
He began his military career as a private in the reserves.
In 1995 Matte completed a United Nations tour as a Forward Air Controller in the Balkans, serving initially at CANBAT 1 in Croatia during Operation Storm, and then with the British Cavalry in Bosnia during Operation Deliberate Force, the NATO bombing campaign that led to the Dayton Peace Accord.
Matte was also raised in a military milieu.
“My father spent a long career in the Air Force as an aircraft technician. Furthermore, my father-in-law was also a technician in the Air Force. So, I also understand the importance of family and that a former military member is able to find a new career that both pays well and also offers good benefits and job security.”
The program is expected to be running “full blast” by January 2013. To help further develop the program, Matte will meet with the executive director of the American program, which began in 2003, as well as with the Canadian Department of National Defence and the Canadian Forces and with Veterans Affairs Canada to find a way to work together.
|MOST POPULAR STORIES|
- OPG $1 billion proposal to bury nuclear waste up for comment
- Hundreds of workers to be out of work as Caterpillar Inc. is set to close Toronto factory
- Ontario prompt payment bill to get second reading today
- Construction on pedestrian tunnel to Billy Bishop Airport continues to make progress
- Proposed Ambassador Bridge twinning draws Windsor mayor’s ire
- 20 Most Popular Stories
|TODAY’S TOP CONSTRUCTION PROJECTS|
These projects have been selected from 316 projects with a total value of $2,787,806,637 that Reed Construction Data Building Reports reported on Friday.
$90,000,000 Richmond Hill ON Prebid
$82,000,000 White River Twp ON Tenders
$40,650,000 Markham ON Prebid
- VIDEO: Competing in the trades
- Multi-employer approach needed in apprenticeships
- New Perspective
- ACEC’s input helps develop global engineering guidelines
- Clerk of works position gives peace of mind on projects
- World Trade Center developer’s plan for a 926-foot tower moving ahead
- Call for action after MOL says workers are responsible for their own safety
- Cold spring and weak construction hurt Deere’s 2013 predictions
- CanBIM reschedule June session
- More green roofs top Toronto buildings
- Witness recants testimony in Montreal corruption case
- Construction Site Arson
- Journal of Commerce Update for the week of May 20th, 2013
- Industry reacts to surprise B.C. Liberal majority
- Calgary Airport Tunnel
- Worker at centre of union sign up allegations speaks out
- Calgary program aims to get more people into the trades
- Midrise in the City
- Veterans battle barriers into the trades
- Government makes changes to online tendering
- SNC-Lavalin maintains that new bribery allegations have been resolved
- B.C. faces a tough battle for top talent
- Keyano College building state of the art training facility
- Essential skills can play a vital role in an apprentices' success
- Taking a closer look at the risks in green building for contractors
- Colleges conduct construction research in addition to teaching
- Skills Canada BC Competition
- Lower Mainland high school trades program is unique
- Construction Learning Forum aims to educate
- High schools looking for more industry participation
- Industrial construction supervisor program takes off
- Saskatchewan bill passed
- Edmonton garners support for regional cash for arena
- Feds pledge $5 million for Vimy memorial
|ALEX’S ECONOMICS BLOG|
Reed Construction Data Canada’s Chief Economist Alex Carrick discusses current developments in the North American economic environment with emphasis on the construction industry.
- An Overview of Prices and Sales in the Diverging U.S. and Canadian Housing Markets (April 25, 2013)
- Canada’s Precarious Dependence on the Commodity Price Super-Cycle (April 22, 2013)
- Twenty major upcoming residential and transportation terminal construction projects - April 2013 (April 15, 2013)