Training, whose responsibility is it? That’s a common question we often hear from drivers. We all know that training schools teach only the basics, otherwise the curriculum would be longer and a greater financial burden to those entering the industry. But it’s just the start.
The good carriers offer a six to eight week training program to ensure that the new driver and the general motoring public are safe. This is often referred to as a finishing program, sometimes extending the training longer to meet individual driver requirements. After all, we all learn at our own pace.
In the last few months we’ve been approached by drivers who felt their driver trainers didn’t give them the start they needed. The biggest concern is backing up skills. For some this has led them to leave our industry.
So, what can we do about it? Where do we start?
Now that we have M.E.L.T (Mandatory Entry Level Training) and we’re pushing for all instructors to be certified, does it not make sense to have certified driver trainers as well. Should there not be a consistent training program in place to ensure that every new driver is getting the skills they need to start their career as a professional driver? We have some great trainers in our industry who go above and beyond for a newly licensed driver, let’s ensure they all do.
Today’s drivers need to remember we all started somewhere. We’ve all made mistakes and learned from them. Instead of mocking a new driver, posting a picture or video to social media, offer to give the driver a helping hand!
I’m sharing one of the many messages we receive at the Women’s Trucking Federation of Canada.
“In the last few weeks, I’ve talked to two female drivers whose trainers didn’t let them practice backing up. Excuses the trainers spouted included being too stressed, in a hurry, too tired….
Ok…OK… but CONSTANTLY? For the entire duration of the training?
If you accept the responsibility of training another driver, I beg you… please, take pride in your work.
Respect for the industry and for the women drivers who are doing their best to work in a male-dominated vocation would require a trainer to allow the student to PRACTICE. One only becomes proficient at backing up a trailer by being patiently coached through different scenarios and angles…not just STRAIGHT back in.
I helped a young female driver today while 5 trucks were waiting for her to back into her assigned spot. She was insistent about doing it herself, saying she had to learn this skill. But she had been trained in an automatic, then given a manual transmission truck to drive and her trainer had never allowed her to practice backing up so she was struggling.
I ended up talking her through it and sharing what limited knowledge I have. But a big empty lot and a few hours of coaching would have saved her so much frustration and stress and the other waiting drivers were less than patient.
She gave me a huge hug at the end of the event, and I wished her all the luck in the world. She’s going to be great, eventually. She has the determination it takes to get the job done.
But I was so sad that some “trainer” did not send her off into the trucking world with the proper proficiency. Have they no honor, work ethic or sense of responsibility? “ – J Douglas