madison holowachuk

Madison Holowachuk, 16, is a Grade 11 student in Regina. She is one of the first 10 participants in a new program involving military training for high school credit. (CBC)

A new program that has high school students earning credits while taking basic military training has its first participants.

In Regina, ten students were introduced as the first enrolees in the Canadian Army Primary Reserve Co-op Program.

"It sounded like an amazing life experience that would help me learn a ton of skills," Madison Holowachuk, 16, a Grade 11 student in Regina, said Monday.

The students will complete basic military training and earn two high school credits for it.

"My whole life I've aspired to be in the army," Damian Claveauhaasen, 16, said. "I always looked up to men in uniform and always wanted to be that person."

The program is supported by the provincial government and school boards.

"We're always looking for innovative ways to expand our ability to connect with Canadians, to find new recruits and make sure we remain sustainable in the long term," Col. Ross Ermel said Monday.

After the students complete their basic training, they are under no obligation to join the military or become reservists.

They will be paid about $2,000 for their efforts.

"The one advantage of them receiving pay while they're undertaking studies is these same young people now don't have to go and get a job after hours while they should be studying academics, so there is some benefit and there some balance to that point of view," Ermel said.

The training will provide a course credit in Canadian Studies and Military Basic Training.

Currently, the program is being offered in Regina. Ermel said it is hoped, if the Regina pilot program works well, to expand to other communities such as Saskatoon.