Transportation industry keeps on truckin’ on

NANAIMO: Demand for skilled-workers in the trucking industry likely to grow.

Job seekers are in luck when it comes to the commercial road transportation industry in British Columbia.

Trucking companies throughout B.C. require professional drivers, mechanics, dispatchers and operations staff right now, which means job seekers with experience and/or training may find work within their preferred region.

For those considering training prior to joining the workforce, demand for skilled-workers in the industry is likely to grow – to 2020 and beyond.

There are a number of reasons for this. For truck drivers, the industry is facing a North America-wide shortage because most are 45 years of age or older and nearing retirement (in fact, in Canada, according to a report by the Canada Trucking Human Resources Council, 58 per cent of long-haul truck drivers fall in this age range). Similar shortages exist for other jobs, including diesel engine and heavy duty mechanics.

Phil Dutton, owner of Parkway Driving Academy in Nanaimo, said even in today’s technological world, there’s work for truckers.

“There is one thing that can’t be done through a computer and that is move freight,” he said. “Every single thing a person can look around the office and see, all came on the back of a truck at one point in its life.”

Dutton said there are massive shortages in the industry with needs in construction, development, food services, plumbing, logging and fishing, grocery stores, liquor stores and more.

“I get calls all the time with people saying, ‘Phil, I need eight drivers, Phil I need six drivers,’” he said. “We did 67 [Class 1 driver’s licences] last year and every one of them is working.”

Aside from worker shortages, economic growth in the Asia Pacific Gateway is also driving demand for workers in transportation.

This applies not only to companies in the Lower Mainland, but in other regions as well, since the Asia Pacific Gateway is actually made up of an integrated supply chain of airports, seaports, rail and road connections, and border crossings, from Prince Rupert to Surrey, with links supplied by trucking.

Today’s trucking industry is an exciting place to be. Equipment in many companies is state of the art, meaning increased comfort and ease for drivers and opportunities for mechanics to work with technologically advanced systems, keeping both their skills and interest engaged.

Dispatch relies on sophisticated tracking and routing systems. Others on the operations side also use information technology of many kinds to deal with everything from licences and permits, to customer services, accounting, sales and marketing.

And, people joining the industry have many career choices. Drivers, for example, may work close to home as pickup and delivery or short-haul drivers. Those who like the idea of travelling across Canada or North America can become long-haul drivers for an employer or work as owner-operators. Drivers may haul consumer goods, fuel, logs, heavy-duty equipment or livestock.

For those with experience as a driver, mechanic or operations work, most companies advertise jobs on their websites.

Members of the B.C. Trucking Association from across the province may post jobs under Careers on www.bctrucking.com, and the provincial and federal governments maintain job sites at WorkB.C., www.workbc.ca/Jobs and Working in Canada, www.workingincanada.gc.ca – go to Explore Careers by Occupation, then by Region. Within a community, it may also pay to approach a company, drop off a résumé and inquire if and when they’ll be hiring.

For anyone wanting to enter the industry but needing training, there are also many avenues to explore. Although there is not a standard training course for professional drivers, there are numerous private schools throughout B.C. that offer programs.

For information on transportation trades in B.C., including mechanics and other technicians, please visit transCDA at www.tcda.ca/home.

For information on trucking careers in general, please see www.truckingcareers.ca.

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