Laid off and with two kids to support, Shawn Brightman turned to one of the few agencies that’s hiring these days: The military.

“It’s a full-time job with a three-year contract,” he said. “I’m looking for a permanent career for the rest of my life.”

The 29-year-old from New Glasgow was sworn into military service at the recruitment office in Halifax yesterday.


Brightman worked as a landscaper in New Brunswick, but was laid off a few months ago. He said his new job will provide the security he needs for his kids, aged six and four.

And Brightman is certainly not alone.

“I’m seeing a lot more people sitting in the chairs in our reception area than I’ve ever seen,” said navy Lt. Richard Rhodes, who works at the Halifax recruiting office.

Rhodes started working there in July and, he says, back then there was only a trickle of interest. Now he’s seeing a flood.

“We’ve seen a lot more people coming through our doors … and this has been occurring over the past few months as the news has gotten worse with the economy,” Rhodes said. “People are looking to the military as a good, viable option.”

Aside from the normal reasons the military attracts recruits — extensive training, learning new skills and travelling — it’s even more attractive these days because of job security.

“The military, like any job, has pluses and minuses, but I think the pluses way outweigh the minuses because the military does provide a lot of job security for people,” he said.

“We’re looking for people who are interested in longer-term careers.”

The people pouring into the recruitment office on Duke Street are from all walks of life. Rhodes said they’re getting teenagers and 40-year-olds, men and women.

“People who may have thought of it for some time now are giving it more serious thought.”

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