Entry level driver standards is a hot topic and has been for years in the trucking industry. And it should be! Professional Drivers are the backbone of the Canadian economy and deserve the recognition that responsibility demands.
With the ongoing driver shortages and demands for better entry level standards we still see many Carriers who demand change yet are reluctant to invest in entry-level professional drivers.
As an industry, demanding more of our regulators to support mandatory entry level training is critical. We need highly skilled, qualified men and women driving on the highways safely, proudly and confidently.
That doesn’t mean you have to wait for those changes to occur before you can hire entry level professional drivers with confidence. As the employer you have the right to set your entry level hiring policies to meet your expectations.
There are a large number of professional training schools, across the country, who are exceeding current and / or proposed entry level professional driver standards. You need to know these schools, learn about their training programs and offer feedback if you feel there are gaps in their training plans. Work with schools to get the Professional Driver you want for your Company.
I have had the privilege to work with Professional Driver Training Schools throughout my entire career and I am confident there are many who would exceed your expectations. We have had an entry level standard in Atlantic Canada since 1995. Not mandatory but an entry level standard set by Industry. Carriers have been taking entry level drivers out of school, successfully, since that timeframe. With over 90% success rate, including retention in the trucking industry, we know investing in entry level professional drivers can work.
Entry level standards start with you!
What can you do today to confidently hire entry-level drivers?
- Get to know the Professional Driver Training Schools in your area. Your Provincial / National Trucking Associations, Truck School Associations, Sector Councils will be able to provide you with a list of some of the top trainers in your region. Visit them and learn what they are teaching. A confident training provider will do everything they can to work with you and demonstrate why you should have confidence in their graduates.
- Look at your hiring practices. Do you welcome entry-level professional drivers? If you want to begin, use a Training Provider you are comfortable with and do a test pilot with some new entrants. Set some expectations for your hiring team to work with a small number of entry-level drivers. Create an on-boarding program that is aimed at success, set realistic expectations and train some of your elite professional drivers as Coaches to support your entry-level drivers.
- Make your voice heard! Work with your Trucking Associations and make the commitment to hire qualified entry-level professional drivers today!
Need help with this topic? Be sure to reach out! Kelly Henderson, Executive Director of the Trucking Human Resource Sector Council Atlantic has 25 years working in the trucking industry and is happy to share her expertise!