CFB Halifax Navy High School Co-op Program

The CFB Halifax Navy High School Co-op Program provides students actively considering future career choices with a unique opportunity to better understand the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) lifestyle while promoting Department of National Defence civilian job opportunities as well. Thursday, March 23, was the first day of the 2023 program!

Week 1 Recap

During the first session, we welcomed 12 students from Halifax Regional Centre for Education (HRCE) high schools at the Naval Museum of Halifax. After a brief introduction to the program and a safety and security brief, the students were given the opportunity to explore the museum and learn about the history of the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) through a scavenger hunt activity. The students were also given a presentation on the various ranks of the CAF and were given an official welcome by the CFB Halifax Base Commander and Base Chief.

Following a lunch break at the Dockyard, the students were given a tour of HMCS Sackville, Canada’s Naval Memorial.

Week 2 Recap

For the second session our students visited the Base Logistics (BLog) warehouse. After a quick welcome brief and safety instructions, CPO2 MacMullin, WO Moloney, Cpl Goss, and Cpl Charchuk explained their jobs and the main services that BLog provides everyday such as transportation services and warehousing. Subsequently, CPO2 MacMullin and WO Moloney led the students in a tour to discover different sections in the building and observe how they provide different services. The students also had a chance to ride the High Bay Forklifts.  They finished their morning tour by visiting the Clothing Stores and the CAF tailor. 

In the afternoon, the students went to the Fleet Gym for the FORCE fitness test which they completed with assistance from the gym’s PSP Halifax fitness instructors. 

Week 3 Recap 

Our students visited Fleet Maintenance Facility Cape Scott (FMFCS) for the third week of the co-op program. In the morning, FMFCS executive staff and managers welcomed the students and gave them a presentation about different roles and services that the facility provides every day, after which Shawn Coates provided the students with important safety instructions. The students also, had chance to speak virtually with members from the Canadian Forces Snowbirds 431 Air Demonstration Squadron to learn about their unique jobs that bring thrilling aerial performances to the Canadian public. 

That afternoon, the students completed a tour of various FMFCS shops and sections to learn about how FMFCS provides unique services to the Royal Canadian Navy fleet.

Week 4 Recap

On April 13, our co-op students started their morning with an engaging visit to Military Police Unit (MPU) Halifax at Windsor Park. Led by Corporal (Cpl) Montgomery, the students were given a comprehensive tour of the MPU detachment including the offices, detention area, and interview rooms. They gained valuable insights into how our military police manage suspected impaired drivers, as Cpl Luker, Cpl Kenty, and Cpl Comeau outlined the various types of standardized field sobriety tests used during assessments. The students even had a chance to sit inside a patrol car and experience what it’s like to be on the front lines. Their visit concluded with a classroom session on the use of force, where Mcpl MacGillivary demonstrated the different techniques used by the military police when necessary. It was an enriching experience for all involved.

Later in the day, the students visited the Base Logistics Transport, Electrical and Mechanical Engineering (TEME) division for an informative visit. Following a warm welcome and safety briefing, Sergeant Trudel and Master Corporal Theriault led the students on a comprehensive tour of TEME, including the various offices and shops. The students were given hands-on experience with different Department of National Defence vehicles and buses, learning about their components in the transport bay. Their busy afternoon concluded with a tour of the small engine shop and main vehicle maintenance shop floor. It was an enriching and enlightening visit, providing our students with a deeper understanding of the inner workings of TEME.

Week 5 Recap 

Our High School Navy Co-op Program students were warmly welcomed to Naval Fleet School Atlantic’s Damage Control Division this week by Petty Officer 2nd Class (PO2) Leblanc. After receiving a safety briefing from PO2 Hackett, the students received a presentation about Damage Control Training Facility (DCTF) Kootenay, a facility that trains Canadian Armed Forces personnel on how to respond to potential emergencies at sea while serving onboard Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) ships. DCTF Kootenay staff teach courses on topics like fighting floods and fires, hazardous material cleanup, and monitoring and assessing dangers while at sea. 

After they changed their clothes and put on safety shoes, the students went outside where they were introduced to the fire hose. They learned how to use the hose correctly and control the high-pressure water to extinguish fires while also observing a simulated helicopter burn scenario. Afterwards, PO2 Leblanc explained the different stages of fire and how they are controlled onboard a ship. Students were even provided a chance to work in groups of two to extinguish a fire using different fire extinguishers in one of the DCTF Kootenay burn rooms!

To conclude the day, the students participated in an exciting experience in the flood training room where they worked together to plug holes and pump out the water as if they themselves were responding to a flood on board a ship!

Week 6 Recap 

On May 9, the students visited the CFB Halifax Fire Department. The visit commenced with a warm welcome and safety briefing, followed by an engaging and educational session led by Zac Ma, Andrew Lockyer, and the firefighter team. Students gained insight into fire trucks and the various tools firefighters utilize in emergencies. In addition to these demonstrations, students were also instructed on rappelling and were given the opportunity to experience it themselves with a guidance from Zac. They were able to see the breathtaking view from the top of the bucket truck and were trained in confined spaces like an actual firefighter. 

In the afternoon, Andrew provided the students medical training, including the importance of CPR and how to care for someone in shock until the ambulance arrives. Overall, this visit offered the students valuable hands-on learning experiences, enhancing their knowledge of firefighting and medical procedures.

Week 7 Recap 

On May 11 during the 7th week of their high school co-op program, the students had the opportunity to visit 12 Wing Shearwater. Students were able to enter the hangar and learn about the CH-148 Cyclone helicopters, as well as get inside the helicopter and sit in the cockpit. After learning about the helicopters, they were taken to the Aviation Life Support Equipment (ALSE) shop where they had the chance to see the uniform and equipment that pilots and crew need to wear when flying in the helicopter. The ALSE shop ensures that all equipment is up-to-date and safe for members to use. The next stop was the Aircraft Structure Technician Shop, where helicopter parts are maintained. The students learned that working in this shop had several opportunities for trades, such as welding, mechanics, painting, and graphic design. The next part of the morning included going up to the control tower and meteorologist technician. The highlight of the morning for most was having the opportunity to meet the wildlife team, Hunter the dog and Hella the hawk and their handler, who patrol the runways to ensure there are no wildlife concerns that will obstruct any aircraft.

The afternoon consisted of touring Fleet Diving Unit (Atlantic) (FDU(A)) at the lower Shearwater base. Students had the opportunity to observe a Ship’s Diver Training course and a small ammunition demonstration on the jetty; some students even had the chance to try on a bomb suit! The next stop included learning about the equipment that a diver needs to do their job. A favourite part of this visit for the students was getting to control the underwater Explosive Ordnance Disposal robot under the supervision of FDU(A) unit members. 


Week 8 Recap 

On Thursday, May 18, our high school co-op students spent the day between Stadacona and HMC Dockyard. For the morning, the students were welcomed into the Naval Fleet School (Atlantic) (NFS(A)) submarine trainer building where they had the opportunity to learn about what it’s like to be a submariner in the Royal Canadian Navy by exploring various submarine simulations. A favourite for the students was being in the moving submarine simulator which felt like they were actually diving and resurfacing in a real submarine!

For the afternoon, the students got to chat with the team at King’s Harbour Master (KHM) where they learned about how KHM controls the military vessel traffic in the harbour. Next, the students were split into two groups which alternated from visiting the KHM emergency response team who taught them about what would happen in the case of an oil spill or other pollution-related event. The students were also given the opportunity to go out on a KHM tugboat – some students even got to steer! 


Week 9 Recap 

On May 23, the CFB Halifax Navy High School Co-op students visited the Tribute Tower galley and Naval Fleet School Atlantic’s (NFS(A)) Navigation and Bridge Simulator.

The day began at the galley where the Kitchen Manager, WO Darren Mushrow, greeted students in the galley cafeteria before leading them behind-the-scenes to the kitchen area. During their time in the kitchen students prepared salads, baked cookies, assisted with boxed lunch preparations, organized canned and frozen goods from the supply room and received a full tour of the kitchen space to gain an appreciation of how galley employees go about feeding hundreds of military personnel each day. Students were then treated to an early lunch in the cafeteria after which some of the students joined the hot meal line to serve military members their meals over the lunch hour. Many thanks to all of the cooks, kitchen staff and galley administrators who supported this delicious visit!

In the afternoon, LT(N) Kevin Callahan and Lt(N) Josh Caldwell led an interactive exercise in two of NFS(A)’s Navigation and Bridge Simulator rooms. Students learned how Naval Warfare Officers-in-training and other operational naval occupations operate Royal Canadian Navy ships along coastal waters and in the open ocean while identifying other vessels that may be transiting in close proximity to their ships. Each group of students was responsible for operating their assigned ship and navigating to find the other ship within the simulation. They were challenged to operate the ships in foul weather conditions (large waves) and with suspicious vessels and aircraft in sight! Many thanks to NFS(A) for supporting this visit and to the students who did an excellent job at the helm of their very first (simulated) naval warships! 


Week 10 Recap 

On May 25, their final day of activities, our High School Navy co-op students spent the morning touring the Arctic and Offshore Patrol Vessel HMCS Max Bernays and learning about the different job opportunities when posted to a ship. The students got to explore the engine room, go to the bridge, learn about navigating the ship, and even got to enjoy 10:00am soup in the mess! 

For the afternoon, the students enjoyed some thrilling RHIB (rigid-hull inflatable boat) rides around the Halifax Harbour. What a way to end off their Navy co-op experience! 

A huge thank you to everyone who hosted the students during their last couple days exploring CFB Halifax. 

That’s a wrap!

On Thursday, June 1, our High School Navy co-op students completed their spring 2023 program at CFB Halifax. The students started their day with a presentation from the Canadian Forces Recruiting Centre and had lots of questions about how they could start their careers in the Canadian Armed Forces!  

The students then proceeded to give individual presentations highlighting their time in the program and what their favourite moments were, and what they learned while exploring the various Defence properties and units around the Halifax Regional Municipality the past few months.  

CFB Halifax would like to extend a huge thank you to all of the students in this year’s co-op program, it was a pleasure meeting you all and we hope you enjoyed your time as well! We would also like to thank everyone who hosted the students this spring; the program would not be the same without your support.