RCAF trainees encouraged to make the most of their time between courses

News Article / June 4, 2018

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By Captain Sylvain Rousseau

Every day, Royal Canadian Air Force personnel safeguard our sovereignty from coast to coast to coast and participate in missions around the world.

It’s no wonder that new members of the RCAF family are excited to join their brothers and sisters in arms to watch over the security interests of Canada, but doing so requires being trade-qualified—and that can take time. 

The waiting periods between various phases of training varies for each occupation, and can be perceived as long. However, these periods between training courses can be a great opportunity for individuals to develop further professionally. It’s up to all individuals to make the most of their time.

Major (retired) Terry Sokolowski administers the basic training list (BTL) administration officer at 2 Canadian Air Division (2 CAD) Headquarters in Winnipeg, Manitoba. He encourages every member on the BTL to “take on challenging opportunities, work on professional development and work towards obtaining a second language.” His advice to each and every student is to “have a positive attitude, stay focused on their goal, work hard and enjoy the journey to becoming a fully-trained member of the RCAF.”

Second Lieutenant Kyle Rebryna, a pilot awaiting training, is a strong example of what one can do to make the most of their time while waiting for the next phase of training.

“Be bold and really invest in whatever mission your unit is performing,” he said.

Second Lieutenant Rebryna arrived at 2 CAD Headquarters in February 2017 with an open mind and a willingness to try anything. Once tasked with certain administrative duties he tackled the challenges head on with enthusiasm.

“Everyone at 2 CAD was quite happy to let me spread my wings,” he said.

During his time at 2 CAD, Second Lieutenant Rebryna’s initiative and professionalism was notable as his mentor progressively increased his responsibilities. For instance, he produced a handbook to help guide new graduates from the Basic Military Officer Qualification course, he improved administrative processes and, assisted his supervisor with the management of the BTL aerospace engineering officer occupation training requirements. In addition, he completed significant professional development by finishing courses in Air Force Officer Development, Canadian Armed Forces Junior Officer Development and the administration of SharePoint, to name a few.

Keeping busy during his waiting period allowed Second Lieutenant Rebryna to enhance his learning and acquire a better understanding about what goes on behind the scenes in the RCAF.

“I think I now have a very solid grounding in the administrative workings of the training side of the RCAF, and also an insider’s perspective on the motivations of everyone who works there,” he noted. 

As if being productive in the office wasn’t enough, Second Lieutenant Rebryna was also actively engaged after hours. He was an active committee member of 2 CAD commander’s mixed mess dinner, contributing to the online registration process, and volunteered his free time in the community such as the Canada Summer Games in Winnipeg and the Winnipeg Santa Claus Parade. “The  Royal Canadian Air Force is your Air Force, so build it up like you own it, because—well—you do,” he said.

“Knowing that you’re respected and have something to contribute, even at such an early stage of your career, is what can bring you to work every day with a positive attitude, especially when your training courses can look so far away.”

Second Lieutenant Rebryna recently started Phase II pilot training at 2 Canadian Forces Flying Training School at 15 Wing Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan. Before leaving 2 CAD, he was recognized by the commander, Brigadier-General Dave Cochrane, with a 2 CAD Commander’s Commendation for his outstanding contributions.

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