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The following are testimonials from a few of the many Canadian Forces personnel and their friends who have attended NAIT. Learn why they chose NAIT, what makes NAIT their post-secondary institute of choice after retiring from the Canadian Forces and why their families want to choose NAIT for their future.
Christine Bannerman – Compassion in the Air and at NAIT
Christine Bannerman may be retired from the Canadian Armed Forces, but the former flight nurse is still busy caring for people.
As the supervisor of NAIT’s Health Services Team, Christine leads a team of 8 registered nurses who care for students and staff who have a wide array of symptoms, including occupational injuries. Their goal is to get students back to class and staff back to work.
“NAIT’s atmosphere is positive and upbeat,” says Christine. “I enjoy helping staff and students.”
Most of Christine’s 32-year career in the military was spent with the Royal Canadian Medical Corps. As a nursing officer she provided primary and tertiary patient care to ill and injured Forces members.
Christine also worked in the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) with Aeromedical Evacuation, which provided her the opportunity to fly and work with CAF’s elite Search and Rescue Technicians. As a flight nurse, Christine arranged the flights and the medical crews who cared for injured soldiers during their journey back to Canada. Her last tour was with the Casualty Support Team, based out of Landschul, Germany. Christine had the difficult task of preparing injured military patients – most of whom served in Afghanistan, for medevac home to Canada. During the 8-hour flight, Christine supported both patients and family members.
In the last 3 years of Christine’s military career, she served as flight commander and worked with a team of 5, instructing the subject of aeromedical evacuation to nurses, paramedics and physicians from around the world.
Suzanne Davidson was a Vehicle Technician for 20 years in the Canadian Armed Forces. After a medical release, Suzanne entered the Alternative Energy Technology program. Now in her second year, Suzanne finds the courses exciting and is looking forward to working in the Alternative Energy sector, designing and installing systems for solar use.
As a Military family member, Rebecca Grant knows all about moving constantly and becoming accustomed to new situations and learning experiences. They had lived in many places in Canada and around the world.
After graduating from an Alberta high school Rebecca entered the NAIT Culinary Arts Program. She chose NAIT because she wanted to attend an institution that would provide her with the practical skills required for her career in Culinary Arts.
After graduating in 2007, Rebecca began a successful catering company. She completed a NAIT Management Diploma in 2013, and currently owns and operates the Violet Chocolate Company.
Donna La, a Financial Analyst in the NAIT Financial Planning and Analysis Team, acquired her Business Accounting Diploma from NAIT. NAIT offered flexibility and allowed her to raise her family while taking some of the courses through Continuing Education.
Donna also spent several years in the Canadian Forces Militia. When she began her basic training in the Militia she was one of only two women taking the difficult and demanding training. In the Canadian Militia, she learned many skills, one of which was team building. "The military ingrained in you that you are as strong as the weakest link in your team. NAIT and the Militia trained me well."
Joanne McCleod served in the Canadian Forces as a Materials Technician for 8 years. The training was grueling, but it gave her a respect for the military. "I learned how to adapt and overcome. I had always wanted to be in the military, but it was difficult to be a mom and in the military at the same time."
Now, Joanne is studying the NAIT Business for Journeyman Diploma. "NAIT provides the flexibility I need as a mom and the training I need for the future," she says.
Dan Racett, a NAIT Instructor in Mechanical Engineering Technology, is a Reservist for the Canadian Armed Forces. He says the military training he received has influenced his style of instruction. "I encourage my students to problem solve much like I train the soldiers to problem solve. I am personally invested in the success of each of my students."
After serving in the Canadian Forces for 20 years, Lorne left the military. “The military gave me great skills, and I needed some bridging. NAIT provided the best experience for me in the apprenticeship in Crane Operations.”
NAIT’s hands-on training was similar to Lorne’s military trades training, and he found NAIT’s training to be exceptional. Now, as the Associate Chair of Crane and Hoisting, he encourages exiting military to consider training at NAIT. He is also currently challenging himself with the NAIT Trades to Degrees Program.
Roger Tokay spent 22 years in the Canadian Forces as an Electrical Mechanical Engineer. "The training in the forces was excellent," he says.
In 2004, Roger took the NAIT Project Management Course in the evenings. "The project management course exposed me to the business world – it filled in the gap."
Now Roger is a NAIT Millwright Instructor. “The Military gave me what I needed in terms of training, leadership and an understanding of teamwork. The Military experience helped me to bring a sense of leadership to the classrooms. NAIT gave me training to understand how to teach it."
David Weppler, a NAIT Math instructor, is also a member of the Canadian Militia who has served since 2002 in the Service Battalion in Domestic Service Emergency Response. His militia career has taken him across Canada, including to Calgary to help with the 2013 floods.
David feels his military training has helped his work at NAIT. “The hands-on emphasis is similar to military training,” he says – and his military leadership skills help him provide direction to his classes.
David says NAIT is a good fit for exiting military and serving reservists for both learning and instructing.