Military recruiting centre gets million-dollar makeover

Similar look being adopted at recruiting detachments across Canada

Navy Lt. David Utzinger

Navy Lt. David Utzinger

Navy Lt. David Utzinger walks through a labyrinth of metal stud frames that hint at the new design of the Canadian Forces Recruiting Detachment in Victoria.

The centre, located at 827 Fort St., is in the midst of an extensive $928,000 multiphase overhaul that began June 30 and is expected to finish Oct. 24.

Military recruiting centres across Canada are being modernized to mirror an updated and enhanced Canadian Forces recruiting website. To date, about half of the detachments have been renovated.

“It’s a new look and feel for Canadian Forces recruiting,” Utzinger said.

The centres are the first point of contact for people interested in pursuing regular force military careers, and it’s important to provide a good first impression, Utzinger said.

“That ability to provide the face-to-face contact is invaluable,” said Utzinger, who took over as commander of the Victoria recruiting detachment in August. “You can’t put a price on that, and that’s one of the reasons for the renovation – having that good first example as an employer of choice.”

The centre is expanding in size by 40 per cent, giving the 21-member recruiting team more elbow room in which to process military employment applications that come in from all over the Island, as well as test, interview and medically assess applicants.

“It also helps with our ability to process people in a more efficient manner,” Utzinger said, noting that while about 375 applications were submitted to the detachment this year, recruiters also welcomed many more people who came looking for information.

Saanich-based general contractor Canpro Construction began the makeover by enhancing a space next door to the centre, where recruiters are temporarily greeting the public.

The space in back has been completed, and now the push is on to finish the reception area, which will feature, among other new design elements, two TV screens playing recruitment videos and four computer terminals the public can use to access the www.forces.ca recruiting website.

“Right now it is a good time for us (to do the renovation project) because there was a lull in recruiting,” Utzinger said.

“There is always a shift in the occupations we’re trying to fill. There is a little less this year than last year (but) we’re always recruiting new people, and (Canadian Forces members) are always retiring.”