What Are the Requirements to be Employed in the Trucking Industry?

According to Service Canada, the past few years have shown an increase in the number of truck drivers in Canada. The increase is due primarily to Canada’s overall economic growth and more specifically, growth in international trade, particularly with the United States. Job prospects in this occupation are considered fair and the number of truck drivers is expected to increase slightly in the coming years.

Increased job opportunities will result primarily from the need to replace retiring truck drivers, with the 2011 National Household Survey data reflecting 54.5% of employed truck drivers are between the ages of 45 and 64.

While the job opportunities may be there, you have to know yourself and recognize whether you will enjoy the lifestyle that goes along with being a truck driver. Some examples of occupational titles include: bulk goods truck driver; dump truck driver; flatbed truck driver; logging truck driver; long-haul truck driver; moving van driver; tow truck driver; etc.

Whether you choose to work as a long-haul truck driver or short-haul truck driver, a good portion of your time will be spent alone and possibly away from home, friends, and family for extended periods. If that sounds like it would suit you fine, you can rest assured that opportunities exist in the trucking industry, and a stable, long-term career is essentially guaranteed.

Employment requirements can vary, and oftentimes, on-the-job training is provided, however completion of secondary school is usually required. It’s probably also beneficial to have a good driving record!

Driver licensing requirements vary from province to province, but certain things are standard, such as the air brake endorsement requirement for drivers who operate vehicles equipped with air brakes, and the transportation of dangerous good (TDG) certification is required for drivers who transport hazardous products or dangerous goods.

The only thing that you need to decide is whether a stable career in a growing industry is something that appeals to you, and you can talk to us about the rest, we’ll steer you in the right direction!

Long Haul Trucking

If the thought of spending long hours on the open highway, criss-crossing Canada or the USA alone in the cab of an 18-wheeler excites you, you should consider a career in long haul trucking.

For the right type of person, long haul truck driving is a great job, but it’s not for everyone.

The Perfect Fit
Class 1 Long Haul Driver TrainingThe right type of person for long haul driving is self-motivated, loves travel, and enjoys being alone. It’s ideal for independent people who can work without supervision, and still get the job done. The pressure of scheduling while complying with all of the relevant laws regarding rest time, can be quite complicated. Only the most success-minded people are able to do the job at a high level.

There’s nobody out there on the road with you (except other drivers), so you’ll have to be able to spend long periods of time by yourself, with nothing but your thoughts and the radio for entertainment.

The most important quality in a long haul driver, in our experience, is a love of travel. It’s not a job for homebodies. The best truck drivers enjoy the freedom of the open road, and while they might enjoy the comforts of home, are equally happy out on the road.

In Manitoba, you’ll need a Class 1 License to drive a transport truck, and undergo a regular medical examination. To work in the United States, you’ll need to be at least 21 years of age. You’ll need a good driving record, and in some cases you might have to pass a criminal background check and drug testing.

First Class Training Centre has instructors who can prepare you for your career on the road. We’re Manitoba’s Premiere Truck Driving School, and we have decades of hands-on experience in the business. Contact us online or call Toll Free 1-(855) 632-5302.

Is a Career in Trucking For You?

Movies and TV tend to romanticize the life of the over-the-road trucker. If you’ve ever seen “Smokey and the Bandit”, you’ve seen a very inaccurate portrayal of the road freight business.

In our experience as Manitoba’s premiere provider of driver training, First Class Training is aware of the mythology surrounding the trucking life, and as licensed and experienced drivers ourselves, we want to make sure you’re presented with an accurate portrait of your future career, in order to make the best decisions about your personal suitability for the job. Here’s the skinny:

Long hours, mostly away from home. If you’re an over-the-road (long haul) trucker, you can expect to spend days at a time criss-crossing Canada or the United States. It can be challenging to spend this amount of time away from family for many.

It’s solitary. In some circumstances, drivers work in teams, but the bulk of long haul driving is solitary. If you require social interaction in your job, trucking is probably not for you.

Changing scenery. You will have the opportunity to visit places you wouldn’t ordinarily get to see. If you’ve got an urge to see new places, the view from behind the windshield of a semi is hard to beat.

Freedom and Responsibility. While you will have an employer to answer to and a schedule to keep, you will be the boss in your truck. If you like to work independently, and don’t mind assuming responsibility for a huge truck and its’ expensive contents, you’ll love the road freight business.

If you’re considering a career in trucking, you need to see the professionals at First Class Training Centre. We have decades of hands-on experience in the industry and can get you on the road to a new and rewarding future. Contact us online or call Toll Free 1-(855) 632-5302.

More Jobs Driving Less Than Truckload

Since it first became a common shipping mode in the 1980s, LTL (Less Than Truckload) shipping has become a staple of the trucking industry. These smaller shipments have made the freight business, and in fact the manufacturing and distribution industries as a whole more competitive, and have changed the way companies move their goods to market.

Previous to the advent of LTL trucking, businesses were restricted to the cost of a full truck to deliver goods, making smaller shipments impractical and giving an advantage to customers who shipped at higher volumes. The LTL model levelled the playing field, giving smaller companies better access to transportation so they could compete more effectively.

Life on the road is different for companies and individuals moving goods that don’t fill the truck. There are more pickups and deliveries, and goods need to be handled more on their way to their destination. For over-the-road haulage, LTL carriers prefer tandem or “pup” trailers, which allows them the ability to drop off half of their load to a terminal, and then continue to a second destination with the other half.

For local delivery, goods are generally moved to a day cab truck, which is shorter because there’s no sleeper compartment. Trailers often utilize roll up doors rather than traditional swing doors, as it makes it easier to load and unload. The truck will be equipped with a pallet jack, as the load will need to be manipulated between shipments.

LTL shipping means more business for smaller companies, and more opportunities for aspiring transportation professionals. We’re forecasting a significant shortage of truck drivers in the short term, which means that carriers that accept LTL shipments will be looking for drivers. If you’re pursuing in a career in trucking, come and see us at Winnipeg’s premiere driving school, First Class Training Centre. Our instructors are freight professionals who know the ins and outs of the complicated trucking business, and can help you make informed decisions about he best way to enter the industry for you.

Contact us online or call Toll Free (1-(855) 632-5302.

In Brandon, contact us at (204) 727-4781 or fill out our online form with your questions.

Canadian Exports to the U.S. On the Rise

While the slowdown in oil production in the Canadian West is largely viewed as a negative influence on the economy, there are select industries that stand to gain from low energy prices and a weak Canadian dollar. Among them are the Canadian manufacturing sector, and the road freight industry.

It’s easy to comprehend that lower fuel costs will mean higher margins for anyone in the transportation business. The invisible benefit is the lower dollar. When the Loonie drops, Canadian products become more attractive to U.S. buyers. As the United States is our largest trading partner, an increase in purchasing from them can profoundly affect the number of shipments going over the border by road.

2015 is shaping up to be a great year, with shipments of Canadian products heading south in large numbers. For our industry, this means a change in the types of jobs that exist for truck drivers. While the Western provinces have been a solid source of jobs for aspiring truckers, a boom in the manufacturing sector means that there are going to be more opportunities to drive products out of Ontario and Quebec, where manufacturing is generally centred.

This means that there are still going to be jobs in trucking – lots of them. A shortfall of truck drivers over the next five years means opportunities for aspiring truckers. If you’re interested in a career in trucking, come and see us at First Class Training Centre. We’re Winnipeg’s premiere truck driver training school, with decades of experience on the road, and hundreds of hours in the classroom preparing drivers for the rigors of the road. Contact us online or call Toll Free (1-(855) 632-5302.

Unsung Heroes of the Road

Truck drivers are often unsung heroes of the road – most trips are uneventful, safe and routine, a testament to the dedication to safety that members of the profession share.  Truckers deliver 90 percent of the goods sold to Canadians, and without road freight, our economy would quickly grind to a halt.

Sometimes, however, a member of the trucking profession is called upon to perform a heroic act in an acute situation.  The Ontario Trucking Association recently honoured some heroic acts performed by truckers who were thankfully, in the right place at the right time and made a difference in some lives.

Stephen Lill was named the 2013 Bridgestone-OTA Truck Hero because, after witnessing a tanker truck rollover in Mississauga he rushed to the scene, and despite being urged by others not to approach the cab because of fears of an explosion, attended to the driver, keeping him semi-conscious and calm until help arrived.

This year, the Goodyear North America Highway Hero Award count among its finalists Brian Dunn, who braved flames to rescue a two-year old child from an overturned vehicle, and a quick thinking driver named Tim Horton, who used the boom crane on his truck to right a pickup truck that had overturned in a pond, so that the driver could be rescued.

These outstanding acts are just the tip of the iceberg.  Every day, the professionalism of truck drivers helps to prevent accidents, and in extreme cases react to them when they happen.

To find out more about careers in the road freight industry, call or visit First Class Training Centre in Winnipeg.  We are an excellent source of information for the curious and training for the committed. Our mission is to help our students build careers in the trucking industry. Contact us online or call Toll Free (1-(855) 632-5302.  In the Winnipeg area call 204-632-5302.

Fighting Fatigue – Staying Awake (and Healthy) During Night Runs

Driving at night has a lot of advantages for a long-haul truck driver.  There’s a lot less traffic on the road, making it easier to earn money when you’re paid by the kilometer. Fuel costs are reduced, and you’ll use the brakes a lot less frequently.

Unfortunately, the human body isn’t designed to be awake at night.  Our internal clocks are dictated by the circadian rhythm of the sun – and haven’t really gotten the hang of the changes that modern living and electric light have brought about.  As a result, fatigue is often a factor in nighttime driving accidents.  Here are some things you can do to keep fatigue from being a factor for you.

Keep a Regular Sleeping Cycle

If you drive a lot of nights, resist the urge to stay awake too long when the daylight hits.  You’ll naturally wake up a bit when the sun rises.  Fight this by sleeping with blinds on the windows.  On your days off, don’t completely “flip” your sleeping cycle – your body will get confused.

Don’t Rely on Caffeine or Carbohydrates

Coffee and sugary foods are both short-term solutions to fatigue, and both deliver a “crash” after only a short time.  Another dose might be effective, but for an even shorter term.  Stick to healthy foods – your energy level will be more consistent, and your waistline will thank you.

Get Exercise

A fit driver is a more capable driver.  Long haul trucking can make it difficult to maintain a healthy lifestyle – you need to go out of your way to ensure that you are in top shape to take on the rigors of the road.  A quick run around the truck when refueling or at a rest stop can get your blood flowing for the next few kilometers, and a good exercise regimen will pay dividends for years to come.

If You’re Too Tired to Drive – Don’t

No matter what your logbook says, fatigue impairs your ability to drive.  Pull over and take a nap – nobody will fault you for putting your safety, and everyone else’s, first.

When you take driver training At First Class Training Centre in Winnipeg, you’ll get the benefit of highly experienced trainers with decades of industry experience.   Call us Toll Free 1-855-632-5302.

The Myths About the Trucking Profession

The general public’s perceptions about the trucking industry can be outdated, and sometimes just plain wrong. When discussing trucking as a possible career choice, people will often tell you what’s accepted as “the truth” about the business. Here’s the real story behind some of the most common misconceptions about being a trucker:

1) Truck driving pays poorly
In every business, there are employers who specialize in “getting the most for the least” out of their employees. Thankfully, in trucking they’re a relative rarity. Companies are constantly recruiting drivers, and in order to attract good employees have to keep wages competitive. In Manitoba, the average company driver earns more than $900 dollars weekly, with some experienced drivers earning considerably more. Owner/Operators run their own businesses, and stand to earn high profits. Truck drivers, as a whole, earn wages well above the national average.

2) Trucking isn’t secure
Truck driving is one of the few jobs in Canada that offers career-long security. A recent study has shown that the high number of retirements expected in the next decade will result in a severe shortage of drivers in the 2020s.

3) Truck driving is “man’s work”
While traditionally attracting few women, the current need for more drivers means that companies are actively seeking female recruits. The number of women truckers on the road is increasing all the time, and so is the number of women employed by trucking companies in other capacities – dispatchers, sales reps, etc.

4) Truck driving isn’t safe
Canadian truck drivers are among the safest in the world. We have high standards for the safety of our roads and trucks, and stringent licensing requirements. Trucks are involved in fewer than 4% of all road accidents.

First Class Training Centre is one of Manitoba’s premiere truck driving schools. If you want to find out if trucking is the career for you, contact us online or call Toll Free (1-(855) 632-5302. In the Winnipeg area call 204-632-5302.

Talking the Talk – Trucker Slang

It takes a special type of person to be a trucker. Despite the long hours spent alone, there is a community out there on the highway. Anywhere truck drivers meet and talk (rest stops, roadside restaurants, or over Citizen’s Band radio chatter) they express their camaraderie through a special language. Trucker slang has changed since the Smokey and the Bandit movies made it famous in the 1970s, but it remains a “code of the brotherhood (or increasingly, sisterhood)” of truck drivers.

It’s a unique and entertaining form of language. Here is an abridged guide to some of the more entertaining euphemisms you might hear out on the road:

Alligator – a piece of a tire that’s lying in the road. Looks like a little like a resting reptile.
Back door – behind you. Eg. “I’m knocking at your Back Door”
Bambi – a deer, dead or alive. Moose is a “Swamp Donkey”
Bear – law enforcement officer
Bedbuggers – moving companies
Bobtail – tractor with no trailer attached. Verb for is “bobtailing”
Brake check – when traffic slows for no apparent reason
Bumper sticker – a tailgater
Chicken coop – weigh station
Covered wagon – a gravel truck with a tarp on top of it’s load
Dead head – to haul an empty truck. Usually unpaid.
Double Nickel – 55 mph speed limit
Flip-flop – a U-turn
Four-wheeler – any vehicle not a truck or bus
Granny lane – the right, or “slow” lane
Parking lot – a truck hauling cars in a “piggy back” trailer
Reefer – refrigerated cargo trailer
Roller skate – a small car
Skins – tires
Stagecoach – a tour bus
Thermos bottle – a tanker trailer
Yard – the parking lot at a drivers company eg. “Sitting in the yard ready to go.”
Yardstick – kilometer or kilometer marker on a major highway
Wearing out your bumper – tailgating

By no means is this an exhaustive list. At First Class Training Centre we’ve got more than half a century of combined experience in the business to draw on, and we will help you find out everything you need to know about the trucking industry, including the language. If you’re interested in finding out if truck driving is the career for you, contact us online or call Toll Free (1-(855) 632-5302. In Winnipeg call 204-632-5302.

Untapped Potential – Women in Trucking

Canada could be facing a shortage of 25 000 truck drivers by the year 2020, according to a recent Conference Board of Canada study, commissioned by the Canadian Trucking Association.

Why? The factors include increased demand for goods transported by road, retiring drivers, and a lack of skilled drivers. Companies are going to be looking outside of traditional areas when they search for new recruits. Women in particular represent a large population of people who are currently under-represented in the field, and could be attracted to careers in trucking.

Currently, fewer than 3% of all company-employed drivers are female. Women make up only 4% of all owner/operators in the country. If the Canadian trucking industry is going to deal with the coming shortfall behind the wheels of the nation’s trucks, this dynamic is going to have to change.

Granted, there are some challenges for women to overcome. Truck driving is generally perceived as unfriendly to female drivers. It often involves long hours away from home, physically and mentally challenging work, and a lot of the time accommodations are actually inside the truck. In spite of the challenges (that face men, too) many of the women who have pioneered the long-haul landscape have found the work to their liking, and the companies they work for are finding that gender makes no difference in job performance.

More and more of the companies looking to hire truck drivers are actively trying to attract women. As the approaching driver shortage drives up demand for skilled professionals to take the drivers seat, these efforts are likely to increase.

If you’re interested in a career in the fast-paced, challenging motor freight industry, you owe it to yourself to find out more. In Manitoba, contact First Class Training Centre online or call Toll Free (1-(855) 632-5302. In the Winnipeg area call 204-632-5302.