A truck parks in Cottonwood Park

Truckers in demand

Trucking companies throughout BC require professional drivers, mechanics, dispatchers and operations staff right now

  • Nov. 20, 2012 8:00 a.m.

Trucking companies throughout BC require professional drivers, mechanics, dispatchers and operations staff right now, which means that 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.

“If you have a Class 1 driver’s licence and a clean driver’s abstract, you can probably work anywhere in B.C. and Alberta,” said Gord Palmer, and employment counsellor at the local Fort Outreach office which helps people find employment. “They’re crying for truck drivers, everybody is.”

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 percent of long-haul truck drivers fall in this age range).

Similar shortages exist for other jobs, including diesel engine and heavy duty mechanics.

Locally, things have gone from bust to boom, and Palmer said after the forestry shut down in town in 2007 and 2008, he had people in Fort Outreach looking for work who had 30 years experience doing something, but simply couldn’t find work.

Now things have picked up again, and local businesses can not find enough drivers to operate their vehicles. He said some businesses had vehicles sit idle last winter when they could not find the drivers to operate them.

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.

And, people joining the industry have many career choices.

Drivers, for example, may work close to home as pick-up 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, livestock – most of what we purchase or consume spent some time on the road with a commercial truck!

If you already have experience as a driver, mechanic or operations worker, most companies advertise jobs on their websites. Or job seakers can look under Careers on www.bctrucking.com, and WorkBC (http://www.workbc.ca/Jobs/) and Working in Canada (http://www.workingincanada.gc.ca/ – choose to Explore Careers by Occupation, then by Region). Within your own community, it may also pay to approach a company you’d like to work for, drop off a résumé and inquire if and when they’ll be hiring.

If you’d like to enter the industry but need 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 BC that offer programs. For information on transportation trades in BC, including mechanics and other technicians, visit transCDA (http://www.tcda.ca/home). And for information on trucking careers in general, see www.truckingcareers.ca.

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