Discipline. Compassion. Organizational ability. There are many skills that veterans in the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) have learned during their time in service that align well with the funeral service profession. For those in the profession who seek to actively recruit veterans, there is a powerful career training and support system available called CAF Career Transitions Services.
Any military personnel and family members who are preparing for transition from CAF to civilian life can benefit from these services. Funeral professionals should be aware of the many resources offered to ensure that veterans have the training and financial support needed to pursue a career in funeral service. Here are some of CAF’s key services:

Second Career Assistance Network (SCAN) Seminars

This two-day seminar offers a wide range of information on major transition topics such as pension benefits, Veteran Affairs Canada benefits, services and entitlements, administration procedures on release, SISIP financial coverage after release, family services, education benefits, career interest inventories, job search tools and networking opportunities. SCAN seminars are conducted by local Base and Wing Personal Selection Officers (PSOs), who provide professional advice on training and professional development. All CAF members are encouraged to attend a seminar at least five to ten years prior to their potential transition and again during their final 12 months of service.

Long-Term Planning (LTP) Seminars

As funeral professionals discuss potential career options with veterans, it’s important to keep in mind that CAF offers seminars that can help guide additional education, career and retirement goals. Some of the topics covered in these seminars include financial and budget planning; home purchase and mortgages, wills and estates, CAF pensions and benefits, as well as education upgrades for CAF career development.

Career Transition Workshops

For those veterans who are just starting their transition to civilian life and may want guidance on career interest assessments, CAF offers a series of workshops at military wings and bases across the country with modules that address various topics such as job search techniques, common interview questions and resume writing. This is an excellent early step for veterans who want to determine how their specific skillsets may apply to various careers.

Career and Education Counseling/Reimbursement

When veterans need more personalized support, one-on-one guidance is also available with the help of Personal Selection Officers. One key question often asked during counseling is, “How will I pay for the education or certifications I need in my next career?” The answers to that can be found through CAF’s Education and Training Benefit (ETB), which provides education and training reimbursement available to veterans who have completely transitioned out of the military. Veterans who continue their education at colleges, universities or technical education institutions can receive up to $80,000 in benefits, depending on their years of service. Visit the ETB section of the Veterans Affairs Canada website to learn more about the criteria for eligibility.
Len Ohlman – a Master Seaman with the Canadian Navy – knew from an early age that he was interested in pursuing a career in funeral services. He was able to leverage CAF’s Career Transition Services to help with preparatory courses such as resume writing, but the educational reimbursement benefit played an even bigger role for him. “The military was really effective at advising me of the benefits that were available to me and covered over half of my schooling at the Canadian College of Funeral Service (CCFS),” Ohlman said. Today, Ohlman serves as the manager of Park Memorial Funeral Home in Alberta.
As education and training requirements differ greatly depending on the specific funeral service career that a veteran is interested in, the support offered by CAF’s Career Transition Services offers veterans an effective and convenient way to assess their personal interests and help them prepare for the myriad of funeral service career options – whether that is a funeral director, a sales or marketing representative or a member of a cemetery grounds maintenance crew.