The Chief Warrant Officer Robert Osside Profession of Arms Institute: a source of pride for Chief Warrant Officer West.

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Chief Warrant Officer Kevin West will end his military career in nearly a month. (Photo : Yves Bélanger)

Yves Bélanger, Servir

Chief Warrant Officer Kevin West, the Canadian Forces Chief Warrant Officer (CF CWO), will retire from military life in a few weeks. He recalls that his visits at the Chief Warrant Officer Robert Osside (Osside Insitute) in the past five years are probably what he will miss the most.

Each time I come here, it’s like a breath of fresh air. It confirms the trust I have in the members of the CAF.” Chief West mentions that although he loves his job, these visits as part of his functions allows him to stay in touch with the reality on the ground.  “I meet non-commissioned members from all over the country who are in training here, who share their day to day with me.” 

Chief West is particularly proud of the changes that brought to the Osside Institute since his appointment five years ago. “We implemented a preselection process that ensures that the candidates who are trained at this school have the skills required to take on the institutional leadership responsibilities associated to the ranks of chief petty officer first class and chief warrant officer.”

His successor to the position of CF CWO will be Chief Warrant Officer Alain Guimond. Chief West says he rests easy knowing that “he is the ideal person to ensure continuity in the implementation of the changes that were initiated. It is also important to ensure the human development of the members who are trained at the Osside Institute, as the functions for which they are trained are mainly related to human resources management.”

It is also vital for the CAF to adapt to the newer generations who enroll. “We can no longer afford to apply the same teaching techniques that we used forty years ago. New candidates do not perform less than those of the past decades. They are simply different, as today’s society is compared to yesterday’s. I believe that young members have a lot to bring to the CAF and vice-versa.”

If Chief Warrant Officer West is putting an end to his career after more than 35 years of service, he is not near to retiring. In fact, he wants to start a new chapter working in the fields of teaching and consulting. “I intend taking a few months’ vacation, but I look forward to carrying on with work afterwards.” CWO West is the 12th Canadian Forces Chief Warrant Officer. This position was created by the Chief of the Defense Staff in 1978 to support him in his duties and advise him on matters related to non-commissioned members.

Training NCMs
 
The Chief Warrant Officer Robert Osside Institute offers four professional development programmes that provide non-commissioned members with opportunities to develop their knowledge and leadership at crucial moments in their career. Although the school used to operate under a different name (Non-Commissioned Member Professional Development Division) under the auspices of the Canadian Forces Leadership and Recruit School (CFLRS), training programmes have been delivered for many years.

In 2014, there was a transfert of authority from CFLRS to Royal Military College Saint-Jean, which has been hosting the school for several years. The time was right to rename the Division the Chief Warrant Officer Robert Osside Profession of Arms Institute, and thereby honour the memory of the very first Canadian Forces Chief Warrant Officer. The Osside Insitute trains between 1700 and 1800 non-commissioned members each year. Training is delivered partly in distance learning and partly in residence at the Osside Institute.  

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