DURANT: I don’t get up in the morning and go “Aah, I gotta go to work today”. It’s “I can’t wait to go to work, where am I going and who am I going to get to meet?”.
EHLER: When I first heard of it, I said well that’s for me, that’s something I want to do. I went and did the training, I’ve loved it and I’ve done it for 6 years now.
Hi, I’m Leading Seaman Steven Ehler and I’m from Halifax, Nova Scotia, and I’m a Steward in the Canadian Forces.
I’m Master Seaman Nicole Durant from Clarienville, Newfoundland, and I’ve been a steward for 17 years.
IN THE CANADIAN FORCES
DURANT: As anyone familiar with the hospitality industry knows, it’s the details that make all the difference.
Whether it’s a prompt dinner service, a well-prepared drink, or making sure everyone’s got a room when they arrive.
In the Canadian Forces, those details are left to us, the Stewards.
Our duties cover everything from food and beverage services to financial management, retail merchandising and administration.
We’re experts at fostering morale in the demanding military environment.
EHLER: We work primarily on the vessels of the Canadian Navy, but you’ll also find us on bases and wings across the country, and on Canadian Forces flights.
When you’re on a ship, or whether you’re on an aircraft, the places you get to see are amazing. I’ve basically been around the world as a steward. It’s been remarkable.
EHLER: I’ve been to San Juan, was my first port, Greece, Malta, Dubai, Ireland and still more to come. I never thought I’d be half the places I’ve been but through the Navy, being a Steward, I’ve gotten to see these places and I’m thankful for that!
Basically what it comes down to is whether or not you like to work with people.
DURANT: You never know who you’re going to meet. Presidents from different states, the Prime Minister of Canada, right to our own Chief of Defence Staff.
EHLER: As a steward, your interpersonal skills are paramount.
DURANT: This career will come naturally to anyone who has a hospitality background, whether that’s been working in restaurants and hotels or even in the retail sector.
And it certainly helps if you consider yourself a self-motivated multitasker willing to learn.
If you’ve taken post-secondary training in tourism or hotel and resort management, the Canadian Forces might be just the place to kick-start your career.
Any management or administrative experience is going to work in your favour.
We apply modern business and accounting practices to manage Non-Public Fund operations.
EHLER: For instance, onboard ships, we operate convenience stores called Ship Exchanges, where personnel can buy the things they need while they’re away from home.
DURANT: This is a sea-going trade, and so your initial posting will be onboard a ship.
EHLER: And whenever you’re working onboard a naval vessel, you’re a sailor first.
DURANT: That means you pull together with everyone else in the ship’s company to keep it clean, safe and operational.
EHLER: You’ll be tasked with daily cleaning stations, store ship and watch-keeping duties.
DURANT: As a Steward onboard the ship, you’ll have some secondary duties as well whether it’s casualty clearing, fire fighting, Naval Boarding or you can become a ship’s team diver just like I did.
EHLER: I’ve done many Boardings and I’ve been to the Gulf twice. It’s very rewarding because you get to work as a close crew with the rest of your members. You’re always watching your friends back, he’s watching yours. You can be a little anxious sometimes because you don’t know what’s going to happen, but the thrill of it all is irreplaceable.
DURANT: As a military Steward, your career begins the same way it does for everyone else who joins the Canadian Forces, with the basic military qualification course.
EHLER: After that you’ll be off to either the east or west coast to attend the Naval Environmental Training Program.
DURANT: Among other things this course introduces you to the basics of seamanship and the rich history and traditions of the Canadian Navy.
After that you’ll be off to the Canadian Forces School of Administration and Logistics in CFB Borden, Ontario for Basic Military Occupational training.
During this phase, which is twelve weeks, you’ll learn the Steward trade in a combination of classroom and hands-on training.
You’ll learn everything from safe food handling practices to the etiquette and long-standing traditions of the formal mess dinner.
EHLER: Unlike the private sector, the Canadian Forces offers a great variety of career advancement and training courses.
You can extend your reach with courses in Administrative Support and Financial and Personnel Management.
DURANT: The cost of all your training is covered and you’re on salary with benefits the entire time, that’s pretty hard to beat.
When it comes to careers, it’s all about what you want. If you want to meet interesting people, have rewarding experiences and travel the world – if you do, join the Canadian Forces and become a Steward.
IN THE CANADIAN FORCES