Do You Have What it Takes to Be a Professional Driver?

Commercial truck driving is generally categorized  as a driver of a semi-trailer on a long haul route.  For those who want to have the freedom and adventure of being paid to drive across Canada, and the US, long haul domestic and international driving is a dream come true.

Being a long haul driver of an 18 wheeler is not for everyone.  In fact, it is for a very specific breed of individual. Those who drive long haul, have to be self motivated and have the  training and licensing to do so.  Drivers must be able to problem solve, work independently and enjoy their own company. 

If you are feeling the need to get a better career, and enjoy the open road, becoming a professional driver may just be the ticket. If you’re serious, contact Manitoba’s premiere driving education provider – First Class Training Centre. They can give you all the information you need to make this important decision about your future. With offices in Winnipeg, Brandon and Thompson, the best class 1 or class 3 license training is close to you. 

Are you ready for success?

Driver Shortage in Canada Will Increase 50% in Next 4 Years

The 22,000 openings for professional drivers will increase to 34,000 in the next 4 years according to a CBC article published in late December 2019.

As many semi-truck drivers slip into retirement, the driver shortage will reach critical mass in Canada. For a career that offers a starting salary of near $50,000 for an investment of only 244 hours of training, why aren’t more people moving towards a career as a long-haul trucker?

Especially if you are 21 years of age, the opportunity is huge. Most states south of the border require you to be 21 or older to cross state lines as a professional driver. That means that you are in demand as a critical component to the growing global logistics puzzle. 

Being in driver demand will lead to faster pay raises and better routes for the cream of the crop. If you’re looking to quickly move ahead in your career, consider leveraging your opportunity by becoming a Class 1 driver.

The good news is that First Class Training Centre is the premier driver training academy in the province. They have the best reputation and the best connections with the transportation industry to get you that important first posting.  

With offices in Winnipeg, Brandon and now Thompson, First Class Training Centre is focused on delivering driver education close to where you are. Take a moment to read the CBC article and then give us a call at 204 632 5302 to discuss how lucrative your future can be. 

The Class in Class 1 at First Class Training Centre

At First Class Training Centre, we like to think that we put the class back into Class 1 Driver Training.  Let’s talk about “class” from 3 different perspectives.

Excellence in Driver Training

1.  Class is where you go to learn.  Our “classes” at First Class offer the some of the best student to teacher ratio in the country.  All of our instructors have years of experience in the trucking industry and our curriculum is industry recognized as one of the best in the business
2.  First Class is really First Class. Everything we do at First Class is done with the highest standards in the industry.  Our facilities in Brandon and Winnipeg are modern and bright, and the equipment you train on is the latest generation tractor trailers.  We also offer the only mobile training centre in Manitoba.   We treat you with respect and have more one on one time than any other truck training provider.
3. It’s about giving you class. We know that you have made a big commitment to get your Class 1 Driver Training through us.   By the time you finish your training, you will have developed the self confidence to be great as a professional driver.  We want you to be proud of your career and build your confidence to be the best you can be.

Class 3 vs Class 1. Invest a little more to get more.

At First Class Training Centre, we get many inquiries for students seeking information about training to attain a Class 3 (tandem axle truck) licence. A Class 3 licence allows the holder to only operate a dump truck or 5-ton straight truck. And if they do pull a trailer, it can’t exceed 4,600 kg (10,000 lbs).

Potential students of First Class are considering a career move that will involve some sort of driver training. Short term thinking may limit the potential of a student to maximize their career.  As an example. If the job driving a Class 3 vehicle disappears, wouldn’t it be better to have more options than less for your next career move? As well, having a Class 1 license will generally move you up the pay scale quicker even if the unit you are driving is only requires a Class 3 designation..

Class #1 & #3 License Comparison
Class #1 Class #3
Can operate any class of license except motorcycle Can operate only a tandem axle truck and passenger vehicles
Probability of getting job: Excellent Probability of getting job: Fair
Training Cost: $8400 Training Cost: $1600
Course Time: 244 Hours Course Time: 20 Hours

Some companies will only hire drivers with a Class 1 license.  This makes total sense as a Class 1 driver can operate any vehicle.  Class 3 drivers are limited in what they can and can’t drive.

First Class Driver Training is the industry leader in driver education in Winnipeg and the province of Manitoba.  Our graduates are successful in job placements throughout North America. We are MPI accredited, and have a proven track record of success.

Opportunities Exist in Trucking

Despite the fact that the Canadian economy has slowed in recent months, especially in the petroleum industry, the long-term outlook for truck drivers remains solid.

Experts are predicting a wave of retirements in the coming decade. Coupled with rising demand for goods across the country, a shortfall of 20,000 to 30,000 truck drivers is forecast to hit by the year 2020. For job seekers looking for a long-term career, this is good news. Here are the types of jobs you can look for in the trucking business:

Long Haul (Over the Road) Driver
The bulk of opportunities, especially for new drivers, lie in the long-haul trucking industry. You can expect to spend long periods of time alone and away from home, but will gain experience quickly, be well compensated, and see Canada and the United States from a unique perspective. You’ll drive an 18-wheeler, which requires you to take Class 1 driver training.

Short Haul Driver
These jobs tend to pay a bit less than long haul assignments. Some companies have a limited area in which they do business, and have opportunities that are closer to home, which means you can expect to be home more regularly. Some of these opportunities only require a Class 3 License, which has fewer requirements and is generally easier to earn.

Support Staff
With the increase in the volume of goods moving around by truck, there will be opportunities in the industry that aren’t behind the wheel. Scheduling, dispatching, loading, warehousing and many other “spin-off” jobs are expected to open up as a result of the industry’s continued expansion.

If you’re considering a career in trucking, we have decades of hands-on experience to offer. Come and visit us at First Class Training CentreContact 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.

What Lane is Right For You?

You might know that the North American trucking industry is experiencing an unprecedented need for new drivers, and that this demand is forecast to continue for some time. The Conference Board of Canada predicts that there will be a shortfall of more than 25000 drivers by 2020, caused by industry growth and a high level of attrition among older drivers who will be retiring.

It’s never been a better time for job seekers in the road freight business. For years, the majority of opportunities were for long-haul drivers, who could look forward to irregular schedules with very little assurance of “home time”. As a result, many potential drivers were dissuaded from joining the industry. Today, trucking companies have woken up to the fact that lifestyle is important to many young people considering careers, and so have restructured their operations to make employment more attractive.

Today’s truck drivers have more choice, and control, over their careers than ever before. Here are some of the available options:

1) Over-The-Road trucking, also called Long Haul – These jobs, which are relatively plentiful and also financially rewarding, are the traditional “lone wolf” trucking opportunities. Canadian drivers who are comfortable and open to US routes are among the best paid in the industry. Many companies have responded to the needs of their drivers, and offer schedules with regular weekends at home.

2) Domestic Routes – Many companies offer routes that don’t include border crossings, which some drivers prefer.

3) Local Trucking, and Dedicated Routes – For drivers who prefer to be home every night, there are many companies looking for local drivers. While these jobs tend to pay less than long hauls, they’re more family friendly, which appeals to a lot of people.

To find out about the various options available for new drivers, contact Winnipeg’s leading driver training centre, First Class Training today.

Truck Registrations Down in 2013, But Demand for Drivers is Still High

Truck registrations in Canada were down in 2013, according to figures released last month. Despite the overall numbers being down, the year was still one of the four strongest years for Canadian truck registrations ever.

The trucking industry is responsible for delivery of 90% of the goods sold in this country, and 60% of exports to the United States, our largest trading partner.  As such, it can be considered a bellweather for the health of our economy in general.  The only two provinces to experience a rise in the number of truck registrations this year were Prince Edward Island and British Columbia.

In a recent study, the Conference Board of Canada forecast a shortage of 25,000 truck drivers across the country.  This is because the existing labour pool in the industry is shrinking again.  These figures bode well for those entering the industry, as increased demand is likely to improve working conditions and drive wages up as companies compete to attract drivers.

If you’re considering a career in trucking, visit First Class Training Centre.  Our instructors have more than half a century of combined experience on the road, and we keep our class sizes small to provide the individual instruction you need.  First Class Training Centre is a member of the Manitoba Trucking Association,

To find out more about First Class Training Centre, or the opportunities that exist in the trucking industry in general 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.

Trucking In Winter

Truck drivers do a whole lot more than hang on to a steering wheel and watch the kilometers pass.  Out there on the road, they are the manager, driver, navigator, communications technician, and safety officer.

When driving in winter conditions, there are a lot of things that a driver needs to do to manage the business of getting themselves and their loads from A to B.  Here are some tips for driving transport truck in the winter:

Be comfortable. If the road conditions get to the point where every kilometer is nerve-wrecking, you’re headed for trouble.  Time to pull off and let it pass.  Watch other truckers – if they’re getting off the highway in droves, there’s probably a reason.  Seek experienced drivers at the truck stop or on the CB, and follow their advice.

Be prepared. In the event that you have to stop somewhere less civilized than a truck stop, or go off the road and have to wait for a rescue, make sure you have some survival gear in the truck. Extra blankets, water, food, a first aid kit, and some candles are essential winter travelling companions.

Make sure you have plenty of fuel. In winter, you can find yourself in a traffic jam for hours, and you don’t want to be worrying about how much diesel you have.  When the temperature gets cold, diesel fuel will gel and your truck won’t run.  When driving in winter conditions, make sure you use an anti-gelling additive.  Buy some extra ahead of time, because it can get scarce at truck stops when everybody suddenly remembers that they need it.

Go easy.  No load is worth your life.  Don’t drive faster than conditions will allow, and if they won’t allow driving at all, don’t.

At First Class Training Centre, we’re in the business of preparing people for the real world conditions they will experience in the trucking industry.  To find out about an exciting career in transportation, visit us online or call Toll Free 1-855-632-5302.

In the Winnipeg area call 204-632-5302.