High school students in Regina will soon be able to undergo basic military training and get a school credit for it.
The Army Reserve Basic Military Qualification Co-op program is being launched in the city's public and Catholic systems during the 2014-15 school year.
It's for Grade 10-12 students who are at least 16 years old and want a taste of the army life.
"And that will be done through a Core high school credit — the first time in Canada that this has been put in place," said Col. Ross Ermel, commander of the 38th Canadian Brigade Group, which is made up of reserve units from Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Ontario.
Students in reserve program will get 2 credits
Students will in fact get two high school credits; one for Canadian History 30 (which they must take as part of the program) and a second for the reserve program.
The 23-day reserve program includes military drill, first aid, weapons handling, physical fitness training and other activities.
Among the attractions is the students will be paid — about $2,000 over the 23 days, according to Ermel.
The program is going to begin in February.
Students will train at the Regina Armouries Building during the school day.
They're not required to stay in the reserves after the course is over.
Money attractive to some students
High school student Jordan Taypotat, who says he doesn't have plans for a career yet, told CBC News the Army reserve co-op program sounds interesting.
He said boot camp sounds tough, but the money would be attractive.
"For $1,500, I could probably do it easy!" he said.
Good opportunity for youth, education minister says
Don Morgan, Saskatchewan's Minister of Education, told CBC News he supports efforts by Canada's military to recruit young people.
"This gives our students some different learning opportunities, great chances to learn life and leadership skills," Morgan, himself a former sea cadet, said Tuesday. "So we think this is a really strong initiative."
When asked if he anticipates any backlash to a program that pays students to learn how to handle weapons during school hours, Morgan said he did not think so.
"I think most people in our province have got strong enough support for the military, I don't think there will be push back from everybody," he said.