One of Canada's energy giants will make military veterans a priority when hiring new employees.
Federal Veterans Affairs Minister Julian Fantino took part in an announcement Wednesday that Cenovus Energy Inc. has joined a program which was announced last fall as part of a government veterans transition plan.
"Cenovus Energy is giving veterans new and interesting opportunities to make a successful transition from military to civilian life," Mr. Fantino said.
"The type of training that veterans receive, it's regimented, it's geared in many different areas … and things are very well structured," he said.
"Very often transitioning into a different kind of environment in civilian life can be challenging."
Jim Grecco spent 27 years in the Canadian air force before retiring in 2000. He's now the military liaison manager with Cenovus.
"When you get outside the military and you come into industry, you find that there are a lot of things that the military has taught you: communications, problem-solving, leadership," Mr. Grecco said.
"Those things are applicable anywhere in this country – whether in uniform or out of uniform – and a lot of military people don't recognize that."
Cenovus plans to inform veteran affairs groups of job opportunities, so those looking for work are aware of openings.
"If we have equally qualified candidates for the same role, we will offer the role to the veteran," said Jacqui McGillivray, senior vice-president at Cenovus.
"We've been actively working with the Canadian military … on opportunities to hire because the quality of individuals from the Canadian Armed Forces is exceptional – the leadership, technical expertise, the experience. They bring great skills into an organization."
Cenovus is a leading Canadian oil company which employs about 5,000 people. Its operations include oil sands projects in northern Alberta and natural gas and oil production in Alberta and Saskatchewan.
It's the first energy and utility company to participate in the job creation initiative. Toronto's Hospital for Sick Children was the last organization to sign on to the program a few months ago.
Mr. Fantino said support for the program is growing.
"Certainly the private sector recognizes more and more the value, the skill sets, the discipline … and the kind of opportunities that are inherent to the training and experience the veterans have had," Mr. Fantino said.