The following stories were shared by veterans who found new careers through the Helmets to Hardhats program. Do you have a success story to share? If so, email:

Top feedback of our clients per building trades

Plumbing and Pipefitting
Elevator Constructors
Operating Engineers
Sheet Metal



I would like to sincerely thank the Helmets to Hardhats organization for helping me start a fulfilling career as a Millwright Apprentice. I greatly appreciate the dedicated work you provide for the Canadian Forces members to transition into the trades. I would recommend Helmets to Hardhats to all members leaving the Canadian Forces interested in the trades. Thank you H2H.

Mike T

I just wanted to take the time to give a big thank you to Helmets to Hardhats Canada. I was in the CAF for 7 years and I participated in the H2H program and secured a career in the Boilermakers Local 128. I’m currently a 2nd year apprentice and finished my first block of schooling at Humber College. I speak highly of the program to my friends that are still in the Army and looking to get out. Have a great day and keep up the good work!

Justin B

I am very pleased with the help I received from the H2H staff. I released from the military and I traveled for a bit. Once I returned to Ontario I contacted H2H to assist me in starting a career in a trade. H2H assisted me by getting my resume out there and finding the career that I was interested in. In just 4 months from contacting the H2H team, I have started my apprenticeship and am well on my way to a new career with the Boilermakers.


I truly appreciate everything you did for me. It was an amazing feeling to receive that phone call and get offered the position I've been working so hard to get. H2H was a very straightforward and very efficient organization to work with. Thank you all so much!


My name is Nik and I recently got out of the CF. I applied to Helmets to Hardhats in order to help me join a local union for work. I was approved in very quick time and the union was able to get my information very fast and expedite my application because of this. Helmets to Hardhats has helped me out at a time when I needed it the most and I am very glad such a program exists. Every veteran getting out of the CF should apply to them immediately!


I sent the Operative Plasterers and Cement Masons International Association an e-mail with a cover letter and resume, and explained that I was In the Helmets to Hardhats program and that I am in the military. A couple hours later I got a call and they offered me a job to start on Monday. I have workplace safety training this weekend before I start. Best part about it is that it is right here in Windsor so I don't have to move. I just wanted to inform you because you have helped me out so much through the process and I really appreciate it. Thanks again

Andrew W

After almost 12 years on the gun line, long nights in the coordination centres, and even longer months away from home. My family and I needed a change. H2H Canada assisted in finding an amazing career as a Steamfitter-Pipefitter with UA Local 488 and I appreciate being a recipient of the St Eloi Scholarship award. Their continued support throughout my apprenticeship lets my employer know that selecting a former member of the Canadian Forces to get the job done benefits them with a well trained tradesperson, and contributes to their overall success on the project.

David L

I am very grateful for receiving the St Eloi Scholarship. The UA and H2H has been a huge support for me in this career change, and I am very happy to see the industry's respect and support for veterans and reservists. The Sprinkler Apprenticeship is a well designed program and I am learning something new everyday. I also take pride in knowing that the system I helped install may save lives in the event of a fire. Thank you all again for supporting me.


I would like to thank everyone from the H2H community for their gracious help and support. This is one organization that I can say truly works. A fellow CF friend of mine recommended H2H to me after he applied and was successful at getting in to one of the most sought after apprenticeship programs in Ontario. Once I contacted H2H they were very quick at getting me information regarding local apprenticeship intakes. Within a month of applying I was offered an apprenticeship. With H2H help and guidance I am now a Steamfitter apprentice at U.A. Local 401. I would recommend this program to any individual in the CF who is considering transitioning to a civilian career. Thank you H2H


I would like to express my sincerest gratitude to you and Helmets to Hardhats a such a noble organization. I can’t thank you guys enough.


Thanks to you guys at H2H I have made a smooth transition operating a Grader with North American Construction. I'm very impressed with how fast transition happened. I was working within weeks of applying, I should have signed up with Helmets to Hardhats sooner.

Vince C

I would like to thank Mike and his team for the transition from military to a trade. We all know it is hard enough leaving the military and trying to find a right fit and work place. I have just recently joined Local 67 Plumbing and Pipefitter in Hamilton Ontario and it's the first time since I have retired from the military that I feel like I belong. I would recommend helmets to hard hats for any military personnel who is leaving the military. The union is a brother hood very close to the one we all know in the military. Once again thanks very much and I look forward to my new career.

Tom B

The Helmets to Hardhats (H2H) program helped me to find a great civilian career as a training coordinator in the trades. My new employer values my skill set and background coming from a career as an Armoured Officer in the Reg Force. The employers in the H2H program value the work ethic and drive of our military personnel, and have built relationships with former and serving forces members. While preparing for a civilian career has been a challenging path that required long hours of hard work and networking, the H2H program was able to give me the boost that I needed and helped to link me up with the right people to land a great career in the civilian sector. I now work with apprentices in the trades, and look forward to using my new position to help interested military personnel with their own transitions as part of this great network.


I was recently hired by the OIFSC through an H2H opportunity. I would like to thank everyone in the program who makes these opportunities possible and vouches for military personnel. It quickly became apparent in the first interview that someone in your organization had personally handed the director of the OIFSC (Ontario Industrial and Finishing Skills Centre) my resume and given a recommendation. Please feel free to use my example as a positive testimonial for the program. Equally, please feel free to contact me to help promote the program, as I will be doing so to my peers within the Reg and PRes forces. Thanks again very much from my wife and I and have a great day.

Alec F

Before joining H2H I was a member of the 31 CER. H2H helped me to find a new career as a heavy equipment apprentice with Local 793. They made it all very easy for me, all I had to do was to register, then tell them my interests in the trades world. Within 3 months of checking in online I had found a job in the trade that I wanted. This program is great for someone who is looking to have a civilian job and still stay in military as a reservist. I couldn't be any happier with the help I received and would recommend this program to all CF members who are interested.

Michele L

I would like to thank Helmets to Hardhats for playing a vital roll in my entry to the construction industry. Within just a few days of having contacted H2H, I was immediately placed into a competitive apprenticeship program with one of the most sought after unions in the GTA. My training in the program has helped me build strong trade skills as well as the knowledge and confidence to succeed in the field of construction.


I would just like to thank H2H for helping my find a new career with Local 853 Sprinkler Fitters of Ontario. The process to getting in was pretty, simple with a little patience, and after completing my orientation and working at heights training, I was out on a work site within a week. I can honestly say I was completely unaware of sprinkler and fire protection as a career option and it was all thanks to H2H and Local 853 for being supportive of them. After a few years of unsuccessful searching for a new career before H2H's support, it is extremely refreshing to find an employer who understands the benefits of hiring a previous members of the Canadian Armed Forces.Thanks again!


Spring of 2013 I attended a scan seminar at CFB Edmonton and Helmet to Hardhats gave a presentation on what services they can provide for vets. I thought it wouldn't hurt to try so I signed up. It wasn't long after I retired in 2014, I got a phone call from TransCanada Pipeline HR and asked if would be interested coming in for an interview. Working for TransCanada Corporation has been amazing experience. I have had an opportunity to receive mentoring and training to acquire new skills. I can't say enough about how great the support is with TransCanada Pipeline. I have been fortunate to have enjoyed two great careers both with DND and now with TransCanada Corporation! Thank you TransCanada and Helmet to Hardhats for all your support.


I am a serving reservist soldier and I used the Helmets 2 Hardhats program to acquire an apprenticeship in plumbing. The H2H crew couldn't have been more helpful. Getting into a union is very difficult, but within two months I had a date for my orientation into the plumbers union. I believe any soldier or veteran having a difficult time finding a job in construction should use this outstanding program. Thank you so much for the help H2H.


As a former Electrical & Mechanical Engineering officer in the midst of completing a Masters of Engineering Management degree, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that H2H was able to help me, as I thought the program was only for opportunities in the skilled trades. In fact, Greg quickly introduced me to several promising companies and key HR folks involved with hiring. His calm, reassuring manner as well as his contacts & suggestions resulted in me getting an excellent position as a Project Engineer with TransCanada Corporation. Having not had much luck on my own despite sending out many applications, it was a great relief to have this level of support. Thanks!!!


After completing the 24 hour seminar and test, I am now eligible for employment within the elevator union. I would not have had access to such a promising career in this field if it weren't for you and your organization. I hope I can continue down this path and one day "pay it forward" the big helping hand you've given me.


Just wanted to say thank you for getting me onto the elevator safety course.The instructors seemed to hold all of the military guys from the helmets to hardhats program in high regard and commented on how they enjoyed working with us as apprentices because we show up on time, and do the job with no complaints.


I would like to thank you for the opportunity that you have provided me with. The class that I attended consisted of 89 people. Four of those attendants were from Helmets to Hardhats, a few were from a program called "hammerheads" and the rest were comprised of the individuals that had attended the IUEC Local 50 in January 2014. The individuals that had attended the union local in January were lined up at the local from as early as 02:00HRS and approximately 900 people had attended in hopes of gaining the opportunity that I had gained through Helmets to Hardhats. Those 900 people had to attend and be interviewed. So needless to say, for someone like me to have been contacted to give me the heads up for this seminar, provide me with information and simply request a resume and cover letter, Helmets to Hardhats really made a difference.
In terms of the seminar, it was great! All the instructors had tremendous amounts of insight and experience to share. The safety course provided me with all the details regarding the duties and safety measures required in order to be successful within the trade. It's a challenging trade, and they made us all very well aware of it. Right off the bat, they told us that now that we're in this program, upon completion of the safety seminar, we will be waiting for the call to start the apprenticeship, which could be as little as a days notice. Essentially, we are a part of the union as they are the ones doing all the legwork for us. After a year in the program, we will be sworn in to the Union as a member. 
In terms of work and education, chances are that we'd be working as elevator apprentices within the construction site atmosphere for a great portion of our apprenticeship career. The theoretical portion of the apprenticeship takes place one day a week for about 4 hours at a time over the span of the 4-5 years. The pay and benefits are excellent and continue to increase throughout the apprenticeship. 
So once again, as I've said before, Helmets to Hardhats has provided me with an immense opportunity to begin a new career path and I really appreciate the assistance that the H2H team has provided me with.

Boyd C

To introduce myself, I have been employed through the Teamster Union 855 for the past three years working on the HEBRON project, through the Helmets to Hardhats program. Prior to that, I served faithfully for 34 years in the Canadian Armed Forces. I’ve been deployed to Bosnia, Iraq and Afghanistan. I left the military having been diagnosed with PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder). That did not deter the above agencies from accepting me and helping me gain employment into this project. It aided me socially, financially, but most importantly mentally. It gave me a renewed sense of purpose. I was allowed to be part of something much bigger than myself. The project provided a regimented work schedule (something I had missed), and allowed me to again be a part of a team. The ship has now sailed; the HEBRON oil platform has departed Bull Arm NL, headed for the HEBRON oil field. The construction phase of this endeavor is now complete. I was very fortunate to be part of this journey. There are too many people to thank, but I would be remiss if I did not mention at least a few: Dave Pearce, past-president Teamsters NL; Justin Haddock, SSH Manager, ExxonMobil; Kim Keating, Project Manager, NE-AL; Gail Hickey, Diversity-Lead, WorleyParsons-Fluor; Michelle Wadman, NE-AL (my mentor) and last but not least; The whole crew in the BAHW (Bull Arm Heated Warehouse). Thank you all for the opportunity.


Thanks again to Mike and Marie and the rest of your team for all your hard work giving me this great opportunity to try a new avenue in life I am extremely grateful. The H2H program is definitely helping veterans and not just paying lip service. I am very optimistic that others like me will have a smooth transition from army to civilian life and available means of employment when they leave the army all thanks to the H2H program so on my behalf you have my deepest gratitude.

The safety course was very informative and I left there with a good sense of the job I will be performing, and how to conduct it in a safe manner the staff that weekend were very passionate and knowledgeable about the industry and really seemed to genuinely care that everyone left there with something. The subject matter was pertinent to the job and industry and was presented well, just not in the sequence I was accustomed to in the army some points covered seemed to be just touched on then where elaborated more into detail later in the course when in my mind it would have been simpler to just expand on that topic right then and there teaching it as a whole complete module. 

All in all the course was lengthy but very informative and worthwhile; the staff were all approachable and had a great wealth of job knowledge.


When I left the CF, I more or less felt lost. I was told that I should try to get into the trades. I looked around at the job ads and i found an ad for the UA. I went to the UA local 488 hall and filled out an application. One of the questions on the application was "have you served in the armed forces?" when i checked that box the whole world of the building trades was opened up to me. I soon after received a phone call from one of the Business Agents named Kevin Morin.
He told me that there was work available if i wanted it, and offered me a spot. Around 3 months later I was sworn in to the Union. I am now staring my 2nd year as a Steamfitter/Pipefitter and am also a member of UA local 488,and so completely grateful for everything Helmets to Hardhats and Local 488 have given me. And I have passed on my experience of this with my military peers that there is still a light at the end of the tunnel. Thank you again!


I was nearing my release date in April 2014 and I was looking to get into a good paying trade, where I could potentially apply some of the skills I learned while working on CF-18 aircraft as an air weapons tech. I stumbled upon helmets to hardhats and immediately applied to jobs that I thought would be well suited. I was contacted by UA Local 663 Business manager and was offered a job. I spoke to him on the phone and told me to call him back when I was closer to my release date. I called him within a week of my release and he told me that if I showed up on Monday there would be work for me after I had completed some of the mandatory paid training needed to work in the chemical valley in Sarnia. I got there on the Monday and was taking my paid training on the Wednesday and by the Wednesday the next week I was working. This program has been fantastic in linking up veterans with good unionized jobs, and I had a chance to work with several other H2H veterans in Chemical Valley. I hope that this program will continue to support veterans as they transition in to the civilian work place for years to come, as it has been so supportive.


When I was medically released from the Military I was in the midst of what seemed like a career which would take me right through to the retirement age of 60. Therefore, I had never considered any other type of career path or employment, and I was certainly at a loss as to how I could continue to provide for my family. Fortunately, during the early stages of my search for a new career, I happened upon Helmets to Hardhats (H2H) and its Executive Director Mr. Greg Matte. Initially, I called Greg's office with the presumption that H2H was meant to offer positions solely within the trades and that I would not find anything suited to my most recent training as a project manager. However, after speaking with Greg and outlining my desire to move into such a position within the Oil and Energy industry, I felt extremely confident that the H2H group would be helpful in pointing me in the right direction. Within a matter of a few weeks I was contacted by Greg and he gave me the names of several important connections within the industry, and he told me that he had spoken with them and that those people were interested in hiring an ex-Military member such as me. I made the calls to those contacts and within a matter of days I was given the offer to work as a member of the planning team for a group in the Alberta Oil Sands. Ultimately, I believe that Greg went far beyond what most job search units would have done and that allowed me to garner some fantastic employment opportunities. Clearly, for those of us who are seeking post-service employment within both the trades and managerial positions, having H2H on our side makes our chances of finding viable employment much greater.


I finally got a call from the elevator union. I am making a good salary and I am really enjoying my new career. I just wanted to thank you guys for all the help along the way and let you know I think you guys have a great program going here and I hope you can place more people into the workforce.


My hat goes off to you, you really helped me out. I had an interview today with UA Local 71 and I was accepted for an apprenticeship position as a plumber starting Aug 4th. They were very up front about being on board with Helmets to Hardhats, and more or less said,"We want you, let us know when you're available." I will be picking up my letter of offer on Monday.Going to see Helmets to Hardhats was one of the best moves I've ever made, and one of the most helpful organizations I've ever been in contact with.


Everything is going well. The whole process from applying online to being accepted in a position with the union was pretty straight forward. I appreciate the opportunity H2H has given me to transition into a new career. My previous military background has allowed me to hit the ground running and pick up new skills easily. I would recommend the Sprinkler and Fire Protection trade and Local 853 for any veteran. I received my safety training through the union and was to work the next day.


Teamsters Local 879 has hired me through the H2H's program. The pay and benefits are truly amazing to say the least.Please accept my gratitude for all your efforts. I look forward to this career and your program made this happen quickly.


First of all a huge thank you, I'm shocked. My experience with Helmets to Hardhats was great. I walked into UA 179 on a Friday afternoon. They told me I start on Monday. I've been fortunate and have been working with the same company for about 15 months now. The guys I work with are great, and I enjoy my job. This scholarship will be a huge help when it's time for me to go to school. Thank you again!


Helmets to Hardhats provided me with a great opportunity. I can't thank the team enough for what they have done. I am now a full year in to my plumbing apprenticeship and I cant believe it has gone by this fast. I am extremely honoured to have received the J. Russell St.Eloi UA Scholarship from such a meaningful program. It is because of H2H that I am a proud Local 46 member and enjoying my time learning the trade.

Ted C

I found out about the H2H program through a Boilermaker friend (Mike Bouffard) that referred me to the Burlington (ON) hall. He had heard about Joseph Maloney's efforts in getting the program running and thought I would be a good fit. In 2007, after learning more about the Boilermaker trade, Ted joined Boilermaker Lodge 128 (Burlington, ON) and started his Boilermaker apprenticeship (February 2008). After receiving training in safety, rigging, fitting and some welding, he applied his new skills at the refineries and nuclear plants in Ontario. After successfully completing his apprenticeship in three and half years, he received his Boilermaker Red Seal. Today, he is working in the Nuclear Power Industry on Divider Plate Hardware Replacement and is currently employed as a Trainer/Sub-Foreman for Boiler Divider Plate refurbishment in Pickering. Of his experience transitioning from the military to being a Boilermaker, Cpl. Collins says "I was fortunate enough to enter this trade through the Helmets to Hardhats program. I served the Canadian Forces from 1994 to 2007. A week later I became a Boilermaker. I have now begun my travels as a Boilermaker as I have taken jobs in Sarnia, Toronto, Pickering, and Kincardine. I look forward to continue my travels and learn new trade skills with the Boilermakers.


August 2012 I received my copy of Salute. The article on Helmets to Hardhats got my attention - since I was in my first year welding in college, and I was anxious to get started in a new career. I thought it couldn't hurt my prospect for employment if I gave them a call. Just to let you know, I am closer to retirement age than I am just starting out with my whole life ahead of me. Meanwhile living in the Maritimes where there is limited work and if work comes along it is seasonal. Also I knew employers prefer to hire younger workers - it was going to be a struggle to obtain employment in the Maritimes as a welder. I had over 100 resumes sent out to potential employers across Canada, and only received one call back. I informed those employers that I was willing to relocate, and I had experience galore working in the construction trade, and building environment. That is why the Helmets to Hardhats program got my attention and calling and speaking with Greg Matte was one of the best things I ever did. Greg immediately sent me an e-mail listing of available trades which I could choose from (there were a lot). However, I stuck to my chosen career and picked welder. Greg got back to me within days and informed me of a potential employer in Alberta. I sent my resume and within a week I had a welder apprenticeship position within a major company in Alberta. By the first week of September I had moved from my home in the Maritimes to Alberta. Luckily my wife and I were in the position to relocate. My wife stayed behind and put the home up for sale, arranged for a moving company and joined me in Alberta in October. We have not looked back. I encourage all veterans to reap the benefits of this tremendous program. Greg Matte was more than helpful, and truly went out of his way to get me started on my new life and career. I cannot express how easy it was, and how quickly the process moved along. I am currently in my first year of as a welder apprentice and the pay is great, and I was also indoctrinated into the local Union recently (even more of a benefit). Everyone involved from the military to the people within the Union and company have been more than helpful and encouraging. Take the leap and contact Helmets to Hardhats. You will not regret it. Thanks again.


After contacting Greg Matte to learn more about H2H, I was placed in contact with a rep with the UA Union (Local 488) in Edmonton. The rep (Bill Johnston - a vet himself) was simply amazing for all his help, and also understood the challenges I was experiencing with my transition out of the CF into the civilian workforce. He was really informative, truly looked after me, and found me a position with the pipe fitter trade...all in record time! My release from the CF was on 14 April, and I was able to commence work the very next day. If it was not for all the support that I received from Bill and Greg, I would probably still be looking for work. Instead, I now have a great opportunity to move forward in this trade to make an excellent new career!! I would like to thank these guys and the members of Local 488 for giving me this opportunity. It is a great feeling to know that there are people like them out there who care enough to give someone like me such amazing support during such a stressful period of change. Thanks ever so much from my family and I. It would be my pleasure to now help other vets if I can.