Author Topic: My Story: Out of Canada Application to AVS (Avionic Systems)  (Read 6191 times)

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Offline Vell

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Wall of text warning! To skip past the back story leading to my decision to apply as an AVS Tech (Avionics Systems Tech), go to the next post.


I am a 33 year old male who is living in Japan with a wife and two children. I have lived in Japan for about 8 years now but I am Canadian born and raised. At the time of this writing, I have been in the application process for AVS and Pilot for just over a year. I have completed my CFAT (aptitude test), medical and interview and am now simply awaiting an offer. This is my very long story of how I came to be where I am now.

Ever since I was a young child, I have been fascinated with anything and everything mechanical or electronic. I was already repairing house appliances well before I was 5 years old and building my own computers by my early teens. Of the myriad mechanical devices in this world, one item always was the focus of my admiration, aircraft.

In my early teens, I decided to join air cadets to satiate my desire for aircraft. I enjoyed my time in but I was not a responsible mature adult in my teen years so while I did very well during the studies portion of air cadets, basic and later aviation, I was not very motivated to do drill or PT (I did do it, but not with the enthusiasm I should have had). I was a little too laid back.

Out of high school, I began university and took some computer programming courses, but quickly discovered that while I like the mechanical and electronic aspects of computers, I had little interest in programming in a chair all day. I wanted to work with my hands more, and spend far less time at a desk. During my first year of university I took a test for employment as an over the phone internet and browser repair technician and dropped out of university as soon as I became employed.

I enjoyed my work at first but after the company was taken over and management changed, the nature of my work changed drastically. At that time, I was doing research, development and training of new troubleshooting methods but the new management decided to use us as data entry in our downtime. They also cut out all our benefits and treated us very poorly. Within a year of the management change, 3/4 of their technicians had quit and moved to a competitor to essentially do the same work they were doing before the management change but for more money and less stress. The company branch I worked for went out of business shortly after. I decided that I wanted to finally pursue post-secondary education despite an offer to work for the better company most of my colleagues had went off to.

Now 24 years old, a more mature adult, I looked back at my time in air cadets and realized it was one of my most enjoyable activities as a teen. I also now had a greater pride in being a Canadian and a desire to pursue a career that was almost guaranteed to be dynamic regardless of trade choice so I decided to go to the CAF recruiting center in Winnipeg and applied to be a Pilot through the ROTP program.

My time with the recruiter was not great. I asked to apply for ROTP Pilot but he was very adamant that I apply as a signals officer (it may not have been called that at the time) in the army given my extensive technical background. They also (for some reason) had access to my range scores from back when I was in air cadets and said that someone with my shooting skills should try for the army (I had won some range competitions during my cadet years). I did enjoy range, but I was not interested in joining the army. The recruiter said he would call me for future processing for pilot but still pushed for army.

Disappointed, I left the recruiting office and instead decided to pursue education at a civilian university. My high school marks were good enough to get into most university programs, but not good enough to get into some of the more competitive programs at larger universities like the University of British Columbia or the University of Toronto. I went back to school for a few months, upgraded my lowest high school marks to the upper 90's and applied to a few universities. Shortly after, I was accepted to all the universities I applied to and chose to go to the University of British Columbia to pursue an Asian Area Studies degree focusing on immigration and emigration in order to hopefully someday become a immigration officer (I still wanted to work FOR Canada, if not in the military, as a civilian).

Some time after my acceptance into UBC, I got a call from the recruitment center in Winnipeg to go in for further processing for Pilot ROTP. This was almost a year after my initial trip to the recruitment center and I turned the offer down considering I was already packed and ready to move to BC. Sometimes I wonder how my life would have been different had I accepted that offer. I do not regret not accepting as my choices would eventually lead me to meeting my wife in Japan (something I would not give up for the world), but in retrospect, I do now realize just how spectacular of a program ROTP is for those interested in military life.

After 4 years in University, extensive experience working with immigration and visa issues part time, and learning a ridiculously difficult language (Japanese), I finally graduated with a BA in Asian Area Studies. I was also given a job offer directly from someone in immigration services because of my volunteer work helping students with immigration and visa issues. The job offer was something very rare for such a high demand job. I was told that they would prefer that I have three languages under my belt before I begin work and that they would like me to continue to work on my Japanese skills in Japan first for a year or two before beginning work.

Given my situation, I got a job working at the board of education of a small town in Japan and continued to practice my Japanese in a professional setting. After my first year in Japan, I met my wife to be. I also had started a side business that was doing extremely well helping expatriates and exchange students with remittance issues.  Given that I was in a good relationship and was looking forward to a very lucrative business, I decided to stay in Japan and turned down my previous job offer. A few years I got married and went in to have my business registered as a corporation when some very bad news hit. A change in the law made it so that I could not continue to help customers until I first put aside millions of dollars into a securities account (needless to say, I did not have millions of dollars just sitting around). I had to immediately halt my business and was never allowed to continue. Out of work, just married, and just starting a family, I had to take work wherever I could get it. I became a public elementary and junior high school English teacher for a terrible dispatch company.

At first, the work was not so bad. The pay was not great, but it was enough and I did not mind teaching even though it was for my most hated subject, English. The company took about 30% of my pay (permanently) just for introducing me to a school (and I never saw them more than a few hours per year), but I could still get by. In my second year, my infant son had developed a life threatening problem that required immediate surgery. I had to miss two weeks of work while taking care of him in the hospital (not to mention I was not in a good state of mind with my child's life hanging in the balance). One of the schools I went to was very angry that I missed work because of this and demanded that I no longer go to their school as they did not want to risk the chance of me missing more work if my child had to go in for further surgery. Being a dispatch company, the company I work for cared little for me and followed the desires of their client. Since I had done nothing wrong, they did not fire me, but they moved me to a new school an hour and a half away, changed me to a 9 month contract per year (not paid between school years) and cut my pay by about 20%. The next year they increased the commission they were taking from all their employees to between about 50 and 60%. I was now working a job that requires a university degree for less money than the starting wage of a McDonald's employee in Tokyo. To add insult to injury, because of my high teaching performance, they wanted me to start doing some training sessions for other teachers... with no increase in benefits or pay but a significant increase in work load. Many other problems including contract fraud, countless labour law violations (the labour laws are not usually enforced in Japan), 12 hour days with no overtime pay, not allowed to use holidays, 3 hour travel time (unpaid) and the financial strain of all the pay decreases made me come to the conclusion that my career plan needed a change.

My wife suggested that I open my own English school, but I did not really want to commit to a career of doing something I do not really enjoy. I decided to look up what jobs are currently most in demand in Canada to see if any of them were of any interest to me. Avionics was on the list and was a field that piqued my interest of both aircraft and electronics. While looking up schools that teach avionics, I came across a forum post about Avionics Systems Technicians (AVS) in the CAF. Recalling that I had always wanted to be in the CAF, in September of 2013, I began my application for AVS.
« Last Edit: October 08, 2014, 19:37:31 by Vell »

Offline Vell

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Re: My Story: Out of Canada Application to AVS (Avionic Systems)
« Reply #1 on: October 08, 2014, 02:02:12 »
As an out of country applicant, my road to a career in the Canadian Forces has been a long one so far despite not having any problems with my application and my desired trade being in very high demand.

In September of 2013, after discussing it at length with my wife, I decided to apply for AVS  (Avionics Systems) Tech.

I was out of shape and fat which was the first thing that had to be dealt with. Fortunately, after my first son was born in 2011, I had realized that I did not want poor health to deny my son access to a capable, live and energetic father so I had already began to exercise and watch my diet since then. I started at 96kg (212 lbs). I could run about 300 meters before getting tired and could do about 4 push ups and 20 sit ups consecutively. Today I am 74kg (163 lbs). I can run about 7km before becoming tired at a pace of about 1 km per 4.75 minutes. I can easily do 50 sit ups or more but my push ups are still fairly lousy at only 25 - 30 max consecutively (this just does not seem to be improving anymore). My health is now a FAR cry from what it used to be!

Confident in my exercise regime, on October 3rd 2013, I put in my application for AVS online. Things from here to about February 2014 were quite rough. On November 15, 2013 I got my first email from the Toronto recruiting center asking me to submit additional forms. I excitedly got the requested documents together only to check my email a few hours later and find a message asking me to disregard the previous email. This would be the last time I would hear from the CAF until January 2014. I sent in an email to the recruiting office in November and December and left a few messages asking to be emailed or called back with the status of my file. No emails or calls were returned. At the end of December, desperate to hear something, ANYTHING, about my file, I began aggressively calling around to find out what was going on. Eventually I ended up talking with an officer at the recruiting center in Halifax who sounded angry about how no one could tell me anything about my file. I don't know what he did or how he did it, but my file had apparently been lost somewhere and he tracked it down. He also got the Toronto recruiting center to, for the first time since I had applied in early October, contact me directly. In January of 2014 I finally got the email asking me to fill in the initial security and personal data verification documents. I also had to fill in the very lengthy 330-60 Security Clearance form and submit a copy of my police record from Japan as I had lived out of Canada for too long.

Shortly after sending in the requested files (February 2014), I received an email from the Toronto recruiting center asking me when I would be available to come in for the CFAT (aptitude test), Medical and Interview. I told them anytime before the beginning of May (when the school year started back up) and I was told that I would be contacted within a few weeks with the dates for my processing in Toronto.

February and March came and went. By April I was wondering where this email with my processing dates was so I decided to send an email to the person in charge of my file. Two weeks later and there was no reply to the email so I called and left a message. Still no reply. Frustrated, I started to call aggressively again (not leaving any more messages though, that would just be obnoxious) and I finally got through to the recruiter in charge of my file by going through a different number and getting that person to get the recruiter on the phone for me. I was told that the Toronto office was very busy with some extra project and that my file could not be attended to in any way for at least another month.

During this long wait however, I had read a lot more about the other trades in the CAF. I decided to put my degree to good use and try to attempt Pilot and MARS as well. I managed to have both added to my file.

April, May, and June came and went. I would send an email every month asking about the status of my file but most went unanswered. Finally in July after another round of aggressive calling, I got scheduled for my CFAT, Medical, and Interview on August 18th 2014.

On August 14th, 2014, I flew in from Japan to Toronto for my processing. I did well on my CFAT and passed for every trade I applied for. Unfortunately, while I did pass for Pilot, it was not with a score competitive enough to proceed with Air Crew Selection this year and there were no positions available for MARS. I decided to go with my original choice of AVS. The only other officer trades I qualified for just did not seem to be worth the stress and decreased enjoyment just for better pay. If I REALLY want to become an officer, I can look into it again in the far future if I really want, but I am happy with AVS for now.

So that brings me to today, October 8th, 2014, more than a year since I applied. I am now simply awaiting for my security clearance to go through and hopefully get an offer before April of 2015. It has been a long ride but hopefully it will pay off with an enjoyable and fulfilling career with the Canadian Armed Forces.

Offline Vell

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Re: My Story: Out of Canada Application to AVS (Avionic Systems)
« Reply #2 on: January 22, 2015, 01:44:07 »
Update: So, over a year later, I was finally able to find out what happened to my file and why it was lost. Apparently, my file was rejected by the automated portion of the application system because it could not identify my Japanese postal code. This should have been fixed manually but instead my file was sent to Halifax where it remained in limbo.

When I made all the calls to track down my file back in December of 2013, it is likely thanks to a very nice officer in Halifax that my file ever saw the light of day again.

Also, only more bad news for my security clearance. The process for my pre-security has been underway now for over a month (I don't know exactly how long though) but I received an email that I may have to fly into Canada again for more interviews before my pre security can move forward again. I have very little debt outside of student loans but multiple trips to Canada and then back to Japan are really hurting my finances. I really hope things pan out in the end.

Offline Vell

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Re: My Story: Out of Canada Application to AVS (Avionic Systems)
« Reply #3 on: July 13, 2015, 21:01:01 »
So the bad news continues. My security clearance is taking FOREVER. I knew this would be a distinct possibility, but the reason for the long processing time is unreasonable in my opinion.

After waiting about half a year, my security clearance had been returned as 'failed' due to discrepancies with my time in university. I was required to fill out my forms again and start the process over again. I though the problem was that I was not specific enough about the unit numbers I was in while living on campus. I made the appropriate changes, updated some information about family members who had changed addresses and jobs in the over one year since I first sent in the security forms, and resubmitted them.

Last week, I got another email saying my clearance is still having problems because of 'discrepancies' with my time during university. I was really confused since I was sure everything was accurate and I was extra diligent when filling out the forms for the second time.

As it turns out, I did not actually fill out the form wrong. I made no mistake (that I am aware of). The 'discrepancy' (as it was finally explained to me) was that I claimed that I was a student of a Canadian university while I was on a 1 year student exchange in Japan. In other words, my school address was in Canada while my living address was in Japan for my second year of university. CSIS should know that I was on exchange because of the documents I submitted (including my transcripts which show the dates and location of my exchange), but their 'system' will not accept the discrepancy. I sent in a signed letter from my Canadian university in response clearly showing that I was still considered a student at my Canadian university while studying in Japan through the exchange program (something I would have figured is common sense). The person in charge of my file has been very helpful, cleared up some issues with CSIS for me, and I can tell he is a little frustrated with the results as well, but I will need to go in for an interview with CSIS regardless which means yet another trip to Canada.

The trip to Canada no longer matters however. Since my security clearance has taken over a year, I need to do my medical, interview and police check again regardless which means... another trip to Toronto anyway. This process is starting to frustrate me, but I am not about to back out now. I have to think of it as motivation to forge through training no matter what the conditions. Too much will be wasted if I do not do my best.

Offline Vell

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Re: My Story: Out of Canada Application to AVS (Avionic Systems)
« Reply #4 on: October 02, 2015, 02:39:09 »
Happy two year application process anniversary to me.

Two years in the recruitment system for a highly in demand trade all because of not one, but three separate computer glitches with my application (Japanese postal code caused the recruiting system to send my application to a black hole in Halifax for 4 months and also TWO failed security clearance checks because the automatic system would not accept my home address in Japan while my University address was in Canada while on exchange).

I applied when I was 32, I am now 34. If I am not in before I am 35, there is no chance of me ever staying in the military for a full 25 years for the awesome pension. What a downer.

Offline Vell

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Re: My Story: Out of Canada Application to AVS (Avionic Systems)
« Reply #5 on: January 08, 2016, 20:21:26 »
After more than TWO YEARS (about 28 months), I finally have been merit listed! My long wait may soon be coming to an end.

Offline Vell

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Re: My Story: Out of Canada Application to AVS (Avionic Systems)
« Reply #6 on: January 14, 2016, 00:23:28 »
THE WAIT FINALLY ENDS! My perseverance has paid off. 2 years, 3 months and 11 days (833 days) after my application to the Canadian forces began, I have finally been given an offer! On February 15th, 2016 I will be off to Quebec to begin my training as a member of the Canadian Armed Forces and then as an ATIS technician. It was a long haul but everything only really begins now.

Amazingly, after my security check finally cleared, I was merit listed within weeks and sent an offer only 6 days after I was informed that I was on the merit list. That security check and file loss really slowed things down for me but perhaps I should look at this time as blessing as it gave me the opportunity to greatly increase my fitness level, research many aspects of the CAF, and most importantly, to get a chance to see my 4 year old son and 2 year old daughter develop into the wonderful kids they are today.

Offline kevytj

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Re: My Story: Out of Canada Application to AVS (Avionic Systems)
« Reply #7 on: November 15, 2017, 00:45:40 »
THE WAIT FINALLY ENDS! My perseverance has paid off. 2 years, 3 months and 11 days (833 days) after my application to the Canadian forces began, I have finally been given an offer! On February 15th, 2016 I will be off to Quebec to begin my training as a member of the Canadian Armed Forces and then as an ATIS technician. It was a long haul but everything only really begins now.

Amazingly, after my security check finally cleared, I was merit listed within weeks and sent an offer only 6 days after I was informed that I was on the merit list. That security check and file loss really slowed things down for me but perhaps I should look at this time as blessing as it gave me the opportunity to greatly increase my fitness level, research many aspects of the CAF, and most importantly, to get a chance to see my 4 year old son and 2 year old daughter develop into the wonderful kids they are today.
What can you tell me about ATIS? I am interested in positions with the AF. What do you recommend? I'm looking at Avionics Tech. Any input is welcome. Thanks.

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Offline clmarr

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Re: My Story: Out of Canada Application to AVS (Avionic Systems)
« Reply #8 on: November 15, 2017, 14:21:45 »
Interesting story. I am in a similar situation, I am 31, almost one year into the application process now and I feel like my current career does not satisfy me/future is not so bright. Hopefully I will be in before November 2018. The lengthy process is due to me studying and living abroad for a few years as well, but I am applying from within Canada. AVS is my first choice. I am curious to know what made you change your mind from going to AVS to ATIS? How is BMQ for an older folk like you and me?
« Last Edit: November 15, 2017, 14:25:37 by clmarr »
Recruiting Center: Ottawa
Regular/ Reserve: Regular
Officer/ NCM: NCM
Trade Choice 1: AVS
Trade Choice 2: AVN
Trade Choice 3: ACS
Online Application: Nov 29, 2016
First Contact: Nov 30, 2016
CFAT: Jan 18, 2017
Lasik surgery: Feb 13, 2017
Reliability Interview / Pre-Security Interview: July 26, 2017
Medical:
Interview:
Merit Listed:
Position Offered:
Swearing In:
BMQ:

Offline kevytj

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Re: My Story: Out of Canada Application to AVS (Avionic Systems)
« Reply #9 on: November 15, 2017, 14:32:29 »
Interesting story. I am in a similar situation, I am 31, almost one year into the application process now and I feel like my current career does not satisfy me/future is not so bright. Hopefully I will be in before November 2018. The lengthy process is due to me studying and living abroad for a few years as well, but I am applying from within Canada. AVS is my first choice. I am curious to know what made you change your mind from going to AVS to ATIS? How is BMQ for an older folk like you and me?
I'm reserve, vehicle tech, 34 years old. Took my oath begin of this year. Doing BMQ on weekends. Loving it. Transferring to RegF, first choice is Avionics tech.

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