A career in the PEI trucking sector: great careers for men and women
PEI trucking companies operate buses, long-haul and short-haul trucks, repair trucks, and manage the logistics around moving freight. From food to furniture to clothes, 95 percent of items Islanders purchase are delivered by truck.
On PEI, there are approximately 250 transportation industry-related companies.
“Approximately 1,500 Truck Drivers are employed in this sector on PEI, with another 2,000 or so employees who keep their wheels turning,” says Brian Oulton, Executive Director of the PEI Trucking Sector Council. “There is a potential need to hire up to 400 or more people in the next several years to keep up with retirements and the growing demand for trucking services.”
The PEI Trucking Sector Council works to improve the human resources of road transportation companies.
Examples of careers in trucking
- Truck Driver
- Freight Broker
- Driver Trainer
- Parts Technician
- Safety and Compliance
- Human Resources
High demand for truck drivers
“Across Canada, the biggest demand in this industry is for long-haul truckers to drive across the country and into the US,” says Brian.
Help for employers to recruit, retain, and advance women in trades on PEI
In the summer of 2015, Women’s Network PEI began a three-year project called Supporting Island Trades Employers (SITE). Phase 1 is complete, and Michelle Blanchard is coordinating Phase 2.
“It’s a supply and demand equation,” says Michelle. “Our Trade HERizons program has supplied trades women, and now the SITE project is working with trades employers to increase demand. We are looking at their workplace practices and suggesting ways to recruit, retain, and advance women on PEI.”
The 12 employers on SITE’s advisory board represent companies across the Island, from smaller businesses such as Ridgeline Construction with 10 employees to larger firms such as Holland College and Maritime Electric.
“The project found that employers of all sizes have common concerns. SITE can help small employers which don’t have a human resource department to build their own action plans. We help them track their changes and look at their outcomes. The companies seem open to change.”
As part of the project, Michelle analyzed participating companies’ HR policies and employee orientation manuals. Focus groups were also held with Island tradeswomen.
“Since its start in 2009, Trade HERizons has helped to almost triple the number of tradeswomen on PEI. Yet we are hearing some women feel a sense of isolation because they are the only female in the shop. We have created professional development workshops where they can share ideas. Some of our employer advisors have agreed to sponsor these workshops.”
Monthly information sessions with employers will be held on general workplace issues. Employers will also have the opportunity to promote their companies and possibly recruit future employees.
“The knowledge-sharing piece of this project is going to be huge. After we have learned all we can from employers and employees, we will ask how we can best share this information to make workplaces more welcoming. Trades work can be challenging; for example, some women may not be able to do a lot of heavy lifting.
“I know of one employer who makes sure his female employee is busy doing something else when a heavy delivery comes in.
“I think the SITE project will have a lasting impact on the way PEI trades employers accommodate their employees.”
For more information on Women’s Network PEI, call 902-368-5040. Visit www.wnpei.org.
Funded by Status of Women Canada.
Career paths for truck drivers
- Company driver – driving for an employer.
- Owner/Operator – using your own truck/trailer to haul cargo booked through a company you have leased the truck to
- Owner/Operator/Broker – using your own truck to haul another company’s trailers
Demand for mechanics is high
“PEI companies are always looking for truck and transport mechanics. Those jobs pay very well, and there are lots of opportunities.
“Becoming Red Seal certified takes about four to five years, and training is not currently available on PEI. Some PEI employers are willing to train people. If you have a mechanical background, many employers will support your apprenticeship as you take a block release apprenticeship training program.”
Women in trucking
“More women are moving into the trucking industry, but numbers are still quite low,” says Brian. “The number of women in trucking on PEI grew from three percent to 7.5 percent in eight years.”
How much can you earn as a trucker?
“New US Long Haul Truck Drivers start at about $50,000 to $60,000 per year, and if they are willing to drive longer distances, they could earn $70,000 to $80,000. Drivers are paid by the mile; the more miles you drive, the more money they make.
“If two people share a truck, which is called team driving, it becomes much more productive – one person sleeps while the other drives. Team drivers on PEI make about $70,000 per year, and are home about 10 days a month.
“Drivers who haul specialized loads such as fuel or B-trains (two trailers hooked together) also make more money. The further you want to go away from home and the longer you stay away, the more you are paid.”
How to check out if a career in trucking is for you
The Trucking Sector Council offers a full employment assessment to those interested in a career as a truck driver to ensure they are both eligible and capable of working in this profession.
This includes an Essential Skills assessment (TOWES), review of driver’s abstract for insurance purposes, review of the criminal background check, approval of driver’s medical report, and an industry presentation that highlights details about the career.
Training in Atlantic Canada
“We have had some great success in building a pool of Red Seal certified mechanics,” Brian says.
“We have developed a model that assists mechanics who are eligible to challenge their Red Seal exam. Essentially, they do a self-assessment of their skills, which highlights areas that need additional training. We focus their study on these areas.”
Tractor-Trailer Drivers must have a valid Class A license. To drive most straight trucks, a class 3A license is required.
- JVI Commercial Driving School offers Class 1A and 3A driver training. The school is located at Slemon Park. Visit www.jvidrivertraining.com.
- Commercial Safety College offers Class 1A and 3A driver training. The school is located in Masstown, Nova Scotia. Visit www.safetycollege.ca.
- New Brunswick Community College campuses in Moncton and Woodstock offer Truck and Transport Service Technician programs. Visit www.nbcc.ca/programs-courses.
- Nova Scotia Community College campuses in Sydney and Dartmouth offer Heavy Duty Equipment/Truck and Transport Repair programs. Visit www.nscc.ca/learning_programs/programs.
Trucking is a way to see the world
“Many loads leave PEI and go as far as California. That is approximately a two-week trip. It’s great for those who want to explore and see the world. They can use their downtime to explore the area.
“Trucking is a really great industry, and you get to haul some crazy things. Island drivers have hauled stuff that went to space, sports cars, and some pretty regular stuff too, like paper and potatoes.
Future growth potential
“Trucking is a growth industry. The only thing stopping us from growing is people. Across Canada, there will be a need for 30,000 or more drivers and thousands more in private fleets in the next five to seven years.”
PEI Trucking Labour Market Information 2017
To view a copy of the Industry Forum 2016, click here.
For more information on the trucking industry on PEI, contact the PEI Trucking Sector Council at www.peitsc.ca.
|For more information about careers in trucking, call 902-566-5563. Visit www.peitsc.ca.|
|To explore careers further, check out the career booklet.|
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