Travel, adventure beckon for non-public fund members

Celest Nygaard, Personnel Support Programs Travel Supervisor deployed as part of Operation Impact, assists a member at Ali Al Salem Air Base, Kuwait, on May 11. Operation Impact is Canada’s training mission in the Middle East. Photo by Cpl Nicolas Alonso, Op Impact

Celest Nygaard, Personnel Support Programs Travel Supervisor deployed as part of Operation Impact, assists a member at Ali Al Salem Air Base, Kuwait, on May 11. Operation Impact is Canada’s training mission in the Middle East. Photo by Cpl Nicolas Alonso, Op Impact

Peter Mallett, Staff Writer ~

If you’re a Canadian citizen yearning for travel and a taste of military life, there are Personnel Support Program (PSP) deployment opportunities available.   

The PSP Deployment Support team is currently searching for candidates to fill positions at overseas Canadian military locations and at sea in warships.

Over the year, they deploy about 60 non-public fund staff in morale and welfare support roles. Twenty staff are already on the ground at two locations: Kuwait for Operation Impact, and Latvia in support of Operation Reassurance. Deployment contracts are typically six months.

Jobs are available in fitness, sports and recreation, retail, travel services, financial services, barber and morale and welfare managers. Salaries are based on a deployment support pay grid and may include operational allowances if applicable in deployed locations.

Celest Nygaard, a deployed PSP employee from Trenton, Ontario, has worked on contracts as a travel agent several times since applying to the organization in 2008.  She has taken 10 overseas postings throughout the Middle East and Europe. She is currently working at Ali Al Salem Air Base in Kuwait in support of Canadian troops deployed on Operation Impact.

“My first deployment was to Kandahar in 2008; it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for adventure,” she said. “I also wanted to do something that had more meaning than just working in tourism. Serving the military has been very rewarding.”

Deployment Support Manager, Maj (Retired) Dan Morrison, works at Canadian Forces Morale and Welfare  Services (CFMWS) Headquarters in Ottawa where the program is coordinated, building a roster of potential job candidates to match with postings.

He believes in the support services offered by PSP because he was once a beneficiary of their services.

“The intention is to bring our troops those little touches of Canada to enhance their operational effectiveness,” said Morrison. “When you’re a long way from home, faced with challenging days in austere conditions, sometimes the little things mean everything.”

The program is part of the CFMWS mandate to provide a reasonable level of services and support for deployed operations and troops as spelled out in Treasury Board direction and agreements with the CAF.

Nygaard says being part of a deployment team is a good opportunity for anyone who is flexible, adaptable, and can easily deal with change. 

“Deployment tempo is much faster-paced than a typical job, so time usually goes by quickly and the days and weeks tend to blend together. Projects need to be completed quickly and have shorter turnaround times. It’s definitely a 24-7 work environment.”

The PSP Deployment Support Team has provided morale and welfare services to deployed CAF members since September 2000 when it first sent civilian staff to manage and deliver welfare programs for Canadian troops serving as part of the NATO Stabilization Force in Bosnia-Herzegovina.

Its largest operation to date was 75 staff deployed to multiple locations at Camp Mirage in the United Arab Emirates, Kabul, and Kandahar in support of Joint Task Force Afghanistan.

“PSP continues to respond to requests today to provide operational support to missions and exercises around the world, adapting the services, equipment and support programs to meet the needs of today’s soldiers,” said Morrison.

Deployment candidates are required to complete a training and selection course that occurs twice annually.

Morrison notes that current COVID-19 restrictions have greatly impacted two important features of the support program related to travel for CAF members on leave and local excursions for deployed members.

A full outline of deployment support initiatives, including detailed criteria on whether a person’s participation in the program is a good fit for them is available at https://www.cafconnection.ca/Demo/Programs-Services/Deployment-Support.aspx

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Filed Under: Top Stories

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