The Path to CFLRS of a Royal Canadian Air Force Technician
Upon enrolment in the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF), it isn’t possible to do so as an instructor. It is a simple fact that this isn’t an option. The question therefore stands: how does one end up with an instructor job at the Canadian Forces Leadership and Recruit School (CFLRS)?
The reality is that each instructor comes with a unique past and experience within their own trade and that the addition of each singular package of experiences allows a better reflection of life within the CAF for candidates who will then leave the School with as many tools as possible to have a great career.
Being a very concrete example of this, Sergeant Andrew Hooker realizes the importance of his experiences. Sgt Hooker is an aerospace telecommunication and information systems (ATIS) technician within the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF). With his 18 years of service, the Vancouver, British-Columbia native could not have imagined that his path would lead to the quiet suburban town in which the Saint-Jean Garrison is located, nor how glad he would be about it.
Sgt Hooker said that when his spouse who is also a CAF member was posted in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, it was an obvious choice to accept a position as an instructor in CFLRS, adding that “(…) it is an ideal posting for a military couple. There are a lot of Master Corporal and Sergeant positions for a variety of trades, and a variety of units if being within the same chain of command is an issue.” Sgt Hooker is also very glad of the bilingual and diverse life in the province of Quebec, with affordable childcare which facilitates a work-life balance, an opportunity to learn French in an environment where many people can also communicate in English and with the dynamic metropolitan area of Montreal that has a lot to offer. Furthermore, he explains that “in times other than those marked by COVID-19, it is a posting to choose for those who love to travel, considering the close proximity with the American border as well as the accessibility of other countries through the Pierre-Elliot Trudeau airport.”
Above the more than ideal family and personal life available in Saint-Jean, Sgt Hooker explains that within his work, he is able to apply techniques and methods learned in his trade and adapt them to his current duties. Among other examples, he applies troubleshooting methods from his trade courses to solve issues encountered with candidates and their training. He explains that he can also call upon his colleagues’ rich and varied experience to learn new ways and to have them assist when needed, therefore making his and candidate’s life easier.
He remains conscious that a position at CFLRS implies sacrifices, long hours and scarce free time. Nonetheless, he realizes that time at the School is rewarding like few other postings can be. He hopes to be able to stay at the School for a few more years and finally fully enjoy all that the region has to offer whilst pursuing his personal and professional growth.