Author Topic: Initiatives launched to retain and increase RCAF personnel experience levels  (Read 1165 times)

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Offline Dimsum

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Quote
News Article / June 10, 2019

Quality of Life — Quality of Service
In June 2019, programs were launched to ensure the continuing health of the RCAF and our ability to achieve mission success. These initiatives are vital in the face of an unprecedented level of global competition for the skills of pilots, technicians, highly trained aviation specialists, and support personnel. Across the RCAF, we are working on restoring and retaining levels of personnel experience and thereby ensure we are able to meet our current mandate and properly transfer skills and knowledge to the next generations of aviators.

On June 10, 2019, the commander of the Royal Canadian Air Force, Lieutenant-General Al Meinzinger, sent the following message to members of the Royal Canadian Air Force

The Chief of the Defence Staff recently launched “Operation Experience”, which directs the Canadian Armed Forces to implement immediate actions to stabilize and rapidly increase levels of pilot experience. These actions are nested within a broader RCAF campaign plan, “Operation Talent”, which focuses on the quality of life and quality of service of all our personnel and their families. It addresses, in particular, the intake, training, absorption and employment of our members.

Although these two directives have been published separately, be assured that they address two aspects of a single challenge and we will implement measures arising from both in a seamless, mutually complementary and holistic manner.

Together, these initiatives are vital in face of an unprecedented level of global competition for the skills of pilots, technicians, highly trained aviation specialists and support personnel. We are at risk of losing the depth of experience that our more senior personnel possess and, thus, the ability to mentor, train and transfer knowledge to our newer aviators and bring them to an operationally effective level.

Without action to stabilize our levels of experienced personnel, the RCAF’s operational output will be further impacted. Increasing our intake and our training capacity is not enough. We must nurture an environment where the RCAF’s quality of life and quality of service make it more attractive for our members to stay than to leave.

The challenge is complex, however, and will require equally complex solutions. We are already working on several solutions to alleviate our situation. We will implement some of them quickly but others, I want to be clear, may take up to five to seven years to put in place.

We’re already seeing progress on the establishment of a new Air Operations Support Technician occupation (Reserve Force) that will augment force protection capabilities and provide support to aircraft maintenance and search and rescue activities. This will allow highly qualified Aviation and Search and Rescue Technicians to focus on their primary functions. We will begin accepting applications to this occupation this summer. Planning is also under way to establish an Air Operations Officer occupation (Regular Force) that will focus on non-flying activities, thereby returning more aircrew to the flight lines. More immediate actions include adjusting the restricted release policy and increasing the length of first flying tours to a minimum of four years. Additional initiatives are outlined in our Fact Sheet.

You will be able to learn more about both operations at future town halls in your locations, and we will distribute a “tool box” through the chain of command for leaders at all levels to use. We will also set up an intranet page (available on DND intranet only) that will keep you up to date on the progress of all our initiatives. In the meantime, I encourage you to read the upcoming edition of PERSpectives, which contains a more detailed account of our planned way ahead (available on DND intranet only).

As we work to ensure the RCAF remains an effective provider of air and space power for the Canadian Armed Forces and the Government of Canada, I encourage you to become informed, do your part and always keep in mind the words of our motto: Such is the pathway to the stars – Sic Itur Ad Astra.


http://rcaf-arc.forces.gc.ca/en/article-template-standard.page?doc=initiatives-launched-to-retain-and-increase-rcaf-personnel-experience-levels%2Fjwmfy5h7&fbclid=IwAR0fMxZ31ybtEFiL4qA1rTqgj_gPevs1OhwNgYhTVWIpvVJuxpYLvZzw-zs



Also:

Quote
News Article / June 10, 2019

From the Royal Canadian Air Force

Fact Sheet

In June 2019, programs were launched to ensure the continuing health of the Royal Canadian Air Force and our ability to achieve mission success. These initiatives are vital in the face of an unprecedented level of global competition for the skills of pilots, technicians, highly trained aviation specialists, and support personnel. Across the RCAF, we are working on restoring and retaining levels of personnel experience and thereby ensure we are able to meet our current mandate and properly transfer skills and knowledge to the next generations of aviators. On one front, we will focus specifically on stabilizing and increasing levels of pilot experience. On a second front we will focus on the quality of life and quality of service of all our personnel and their families and address, in particular, the intake, training, absorption and employment of our members.

The RCAF will stabilize and grow our capacity across all capabilities to ensure continuation of effective delivery of air and space power now, and into the future. This will be achieved by implementing the initiatives outlined below. Some will be implemented quickly but others may take up to five to seven years to put in place.

Initiated
Empower leaders down to the unit level to improve work-life balance.
Finalize implementation of the Air Operations Support Technician trade that will concentrate on providing functional maintenance, Force Protection, and Search and Rescue support so highly qualified personnel focus on their primary functions.
Complete the implementation of the Family Sponsor Program by the 2019 annual posting season.
Make first aircrew tour a minimum four years at tactical squadrons, beginning with pilot flying tours.
Review pilot occupation to reflect the current operating environment and job realities.
Implement four-year extensions to engagement periods for pilots enrolled under the Continuing Education Officer Training Plan as a matter of course, rather than one-year extensions, when pilots have not completed their degrees.
Contract additional instructors for basic aircrew and operational training unit production, while also exploring creating Public Service instructor positions.
Review current restricted release policy for air occupations, beginning with pilots, to determine the appropriate period of service.
Seek allied and industry partnerships to retain, attract, and grow pilot experience within the RCAF.
Provide greater flexibility for Reserve Force employment.

To be initiated June 2019-2020
Review and adjust the balance between training and professional development with other professional and personal demands on RCAF members.
Optimize the path to being operationally effective in air occupations to maximize productive time in the training system.
Implement the new Air Operations Officer occupation that will concentrate on non-flying activities to reduce the number of aircrew filling non-flying positions.
Streamline and prioritize re-enrolment of skilled air occupations (former RCAF or allied).
Enable greater access to Class C full-time service for Reserve Force members employed on domestic operations.
Explore additional options with allies to increase training and absorption capacity for RCAF pilots and other air occupations.
Expand and/or create additional rotary wing and multi-engine flying capacity to season new wing grads awaiting platform-specific training.
Conduct an organizational review and adjustment of pilot positions to rebalance and maximize employment.
Explore options for deferred degree programs for pilots.
Explore short-term compensation measures for experienced Regular and Reserve Force pilots.
Adapt the training system to better recognize existing skills and qualifications for RCAF-managed occupations to create more flexibility in achieving operational effectiveness.
Develop eligibility criteria for reimbursement of civilian flying for pilots in non-flying positions.
In coordination with Military Personnel Command, explore a modern compensation and benefit model based on skill sets vice only rank progression across RCAF occupations.
Propose compensation measures for skilled pilot applicants who re-enroll, including move benefits for former RCAF pilots who are located outside Canada, and allied pilots who are Wings-qualified and only require recertification training.

http://www.rcaf-arc.forces.gc.ca/en/article-template-standard.page?doc=quality-of-life-quality-of-service-initiatives/jwmfxwk7
Philip II of Macedon to Spartans (346 BC):  "You are advised to submit without further delay, for if I bring my army into your land, I will destroy your farms, slay your people, and raze your city."

Reply:  "If."

Offline SupersonicMax

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Too little too late.  This won’t stop the bleeding.  It’ll just make you comfortable until you die...

Offline MarkOttawa

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Another story:

Quote
Air force commander eyes bonuses to address shortage of experienced pilots

The commander of Canada's air force wants to pay retention and signing bonuses to pilots, one measure of several meant to address the military's shortage of experienced aviators and mechanics.

In a frank message to Royal Canadian Air Force members on Monday, Lt.-Gen. Al Meinzinger called the moves "vital" for stabilizing the military's ranks at a time of unprecedented competition for skilled aviators and technicians.

"We are at risk of losing the depth of experience that our more senior personnel possess and, thus, the ability to mentor, train and transfer knowledge to our newer aviators and bring them to an operationally effective level," he said.

"Without action to stabilize our levels of experienced personnel, the RCAF's operational output will be further impacted. Increasing our intake and our training capacity is not enough."

The new initiatives aim to minimize the amount of time pilots spend on the ground rather than in the cockpit by streamlining training and cutting non-flying responsibilities while using more reservists and contractors.

There are also plans to look at retention bonuses for more experienced aviators and signing bonuses to attract former military pilots from Canada and elsewhere back into uniform. Such measures, however, will require government approval
[emphasis added].

Other militaries, notably the U.S., that are also struggling with shortages of pilots have introduced financial bonuses and other measures to keep aviators in uniform.

Meinzinger acknowledged some of the measures will take longer to implement than others, some as up to seven years, which is when he has previously said he hoped the shortage would finally be addressed.

Meeting that timeline will be essential to ensuring a smooth transition from the current CF-18 fighter-jet fleet to new state-of-the-art replacements, during which the air force will be stretched in three different directions.

Not only will the RCAF need to keep the same number of planes in the air to fly missions and have enough senior aviators to train new pilots, which is already difficult, it will also need to send seasoned pilots for training on the incoming fleet [emphasis added].

"The challenge is complex ... and will require equally complex solutions," Meinzinger told air force members.

The federal auditor general reported in November that the military doesn't have enough pilots and mechanics to fly and maintain the country's CF-18s as it is.

Two months earlier, air force officials revealed they were short 275 pilots and need more mechanics, sensor operators and other trained personnel across the air force's different aircraft fleets.

And there are concerns the shortage will get worse as a result of explosive growth predicted in the global commercial-airline sector, which could pull many experienced military pilots out of uniform.

The situation might not be an existential crisis for the air force, at least not yet. But military officials have nonetheless conceded it is one that needs to be addressed if Canada's air force is to continue operating at top levels for the foreseeable future.
https://www.baytoday.ca/national-news/air-force-commander-eyes-bonuses-to-address-shortage-of-experienced-pilots-1499188

Mark
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Online Ostrozac

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The new Air Operations Officer MOSID is an interesting development. But what form will it take? Is it going to be a Prussian-style General Staff for the RCAF, educated, trained and specialized in the planning and employment of airpower? Or is it going to be a place where washouts from the aircrew training pipeline end up for permanent employment on cubicle duty in Ottawa?

And doesn’t the AirPower Operations Course already provide trained RCAF staff officers without creating a whole new career structure? Aircrew and non-aircrew officers with APOC can fill staff billets, or be employed in their home cap badge. This new MOSID seems to be intended as staff-only, is there a need for that?

Offline Navy_Pete

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Only know a few pilots, but none of them complained about the things listed here.  Getting messed around by the boss/wing/RCAF and getting stuck in jobs where they couldn't fly were the complaints over a pint.

From an outsiders take, this seems like an off target top down approach from the same group that is ignoring/causing the underlying issues. Am I missing something here?

Maybe they could start with simple solutions at the lower level, like not being arseholes to their people. That would be free!

Offline Eye In The Sky

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Lots of talk about pilots.  Not much about ACSOs or any of the NCM aircrew trades.  Like I mentioned on FB when I saw the article, fill an Aurora up with pilots and it can't even take off.

But, I'm sure the concerns and burn-out for "non-pilot" aircrew and maintainers are on the Leadership's radar... :whistle:

Quote
Empower leaders down to the unit level to improve work-life balance.

Oh ya, that's what I've been seeing the last X years at my Sqn.  You know...more LOE than there are crews, people being effectively on duty for weeks straight...not sure what "intiated" means, of what "empowering" has happened but...it must have bypassed my Wing.
Everything happens for a reason.

Sometimes the reason is you're stupid and make bad decisions.

Offline Dimsum

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The new Air Operations Officer MOSID is an interesting development. But what form will it take? Is it going to be a Prussian-style General Staff for the RCAF, educated, trained and specialized in the planning and employment of airpower? Or is it going to be a place where washouts from the aircrew training pipeline end up for permanent employment on cubicle duty in Ottawa?

And doesn’t the AirPower Operations Course already provide trained RCAF staff officers without creating a whole new career structure? Aircrew and non-aircrew officers with APOC can fill staff billets, or be employed in their home cap badge. This new MOSID seems to be intended as staff-only, is there a need for that?

From what I've heard, the Air Ops Officer is very similar to the RAAF's Operations Officer or Operations Manager: 

https://www.defencejobs.gov.au/jobs/Air-Force/operations-manager

Basically, they will take a lot of the billets in Sqn/Wing Ops, certain cubicles, etc that are currently filled by Pilots and ACSOs, to allow them to be back in flying units.  Higher up, they will also deal with the strategic planning, etc.
Philip II of Macedon to Spartans (346 BC):  "You are advised to submit without further delay, for if I bring my army into your land, I will destroy your farms, slay your people, and raze your city."

Reply:  "If."

Offline Dimsum

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Lots of talk about pilots.  Not much about ACSOs or any of the NCM aircrew trades.  Like I mentioned on FB when I saw the article, fill an Aurora up with pilots and it can't even take off.

But, I'm sure the concerns and burn-out for "non-pilot" aircrew and maintainers are on the Leadership's radar... :whistle:

The sad truth is that Pilots (and AECs) have a clear way out and people are leaving.  ACSOs, AES Ops, FEs and such don't, and so it's not as imminent of a threat. 

I would like to get more than GSO (and aircrew pay when flying) too... :'(
Philip II of Macedon to Spartans (346 BC):  "You are advised to submit without further delay, for if I bring my army into your land, I will destroy your farms, slay your people, and raze your city."

Reply:  "If."

Offline Eye In The Sky

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Our trade has some decent opportunities;  payload operators, contractors...there are job posting shared in our FB group and they seem to be fairly frequent. 

I guess, despite the fact the demand for our trade is growing in the RCAF, there's no GAFF for how healthy the trade is.  Just crank more people out of Wpg...that might keep numbers up, but not experience levels.   :dunno:

Everything happens for a reason.

Sometimes the reason is you're stupid and make bad decisions.

Offline Tcm621

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The sad truth is that Pilots (and AECs) have a clear way out and people are leaving.  ACSOs, AES Ops, FEs and such don't, and so it's not as imminent of a threat. 

I would like to get more than GSO (and aircrew pay when flying) too... :'(

Techs are in high demand as well. It isn't quite as bad as it was a few years ago during the oil boom but they are still leaving. And the ones that are leaving are the 10-12 year MCpl/Sgts, just as they are becoming "experienced" they are leaving. I would argue that techs are even more important than pilots right now because most of our aircraft take a ton of maintenance to actually fly. No point having pilots if the planes don't work. I know that my Sqn didn't meet its YFR primarily due to lack of serviceable planes.

Offline daftandbarmy

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Albeit about the civilian side of the sector, apparently, it's not just about the money....


Strategies for Attracting and Retaining a Skilled Workforce
in a Cyclical Industry
A Study Prepared for
The Aerospace Review Secretariat
July 2012

Executive Summary:
This report describes the cyclical nature of the Canadian aerospace and space industries and the
challenges that cyclicality poses to retaining and replenishing the industries’ human capital. The report
also describes human resources management initiatives and strategies that might assist the industries in
attracting and retaining skilled and experienced workers. The report is based on a literature review, a
review of statistical sources, and eight key informant interviews.


The first group of strategies focused on firm-level strategies to retain skilled and experienced workers.
These strategies included relative remuneration, supplementary unemployment benefits, work-sharing,
and strengthening the linkage between short-term lay-offs and industry-relevant training.

The second group of strategies focused on potential strategies to replenish the human capital pool
available to the aerospace and space industries. These included: formulating a consensus to increase the
number of entry-level engineering positions, augmenting support for co-op and internship programs
(including tracking participation), exploring the scope for shared apprenticeship management, and
utilizing various options under federal and provincial immigration schemes.

The third group of strategies that were discussed pertain to sector-level human resources planning. An
important experiment that will be of interest to the industry is the PARC initiative in Quebec. This
section also looked at the industry’s need to consider options to preserve investments already made in
industry-recognized certifications. It was also noted that, outside of Quebec, there are data deficiencies
that will need to be addressed as part of any broadly-based strategy to address human resources planning
on a sector level.


http://aerospacereview.ca/eic/site/060.nsf/vwapj/Report_on_Cyclicality_and_Human_Resources_-_Final.pdf/$file/Report_on_Cyclicality_and_Human_Resources_-_Final.pdf
"The most important qualification of a soldier is fortitude under fatigue and privation. Courage is only second; hardship, poverty and want are the best school for a soldier." Napoleon