Why More Young People Should Become Truck Drivers
Canada’s truck driver shortage is worsening, which could spell disaster for the economy and the supply chain. A nation-wide shortage of 22,000 drivers is on course to hit 34,000 by 2024.
It doesn’t help that the average age of commercial truck drivers is 55 and rising. Young blood is something Canada's trucking industry desperately needs as it faces a serious shortage of qualified drivers that is only getting worse.
Why Trucking Is A Great Career For Young People
The Ontario Trucking Association (OTA) estimates vacant truck driver positions across the country to be as high as 22,000. Those vacancies are expected to swell to 34,000 by 2024 if the industry fails to recruit enough young people to replace aging drivers.
That few young people seem to be willing to enter the industry might be surprising. Not only does trucking pay well — salaries range from $44,000 to $110,000 — it also offers a life of travel and adventure. Many trucking companies also offer excellent health benefits and additional perks, like annual bonuses, RRSP matching programs and even pre-paid vacations.
Training costs to become a qualified commercial truck driver are also much lower in comparison to university or even college tuition. Commercial truck driver training can be completed in 6 weeks and many drivers are recruited and on the road right out of truck driving school, which is an attractive alternative to spending four or more years accumulating student debt.
In Ontario, where more than half of Canada's trucking companies are based, individuals who have been laid off and are not working may be eligible for Second Career funding to help cover the cost of truck driving school. Second Career funding applications for truck driver training are currently being fast-tracked.
Compensation aside, the trucking industry also offers young people an alternative to the standard 9 to 5. For many truck drivers, the real perks of the job are the autonomy—in your cab, you’re the boss—and flexibility, the view from the window, and the chance to discover more of North America than most people will see in their lifetimes.
Barriers To Entry For Young People Looking To Get Into Trucking
One reason why the Canadian trucking industry has had problems attracting young people may be due in part to the truck driving age requirement in the United States, where truck drivers must be at least 21 to haul cargo across state lines.
In Canada, where you can start truck driver training at 18, that creates a problem. Many new truckers cut their teeth on long-haul jobs that require them to cross the U.S. border, which means any Canadian who starts driving at 18 has to wait three years before they can work in the United States. However, the truck driving age requirement is on track to being lifted or lessened in the very near future as the U.S. grapples with a crippling truck driver shortage of their own.
Another aspect of trucking that may be putting off younger generations is long hours on the road, sometimes days or weeks at a time. In response, many carriers are reevaluating or restructuring their routes in order to improve work-life balance for truck drivers who want to be home in time for dinner.
How To Choose A Truck Driving School
In Ontario, truck driver training must be completed through a Ministry of Transportation (MTO) approved truck driving school. The truck driver training program you choose must include a minimum 103.5 hours of standardized training, though more advanced training is strongly recommended.
Most drivers will also need to obtain their Z endorsement, which is an additional certification required to operate any vehicle fitted with an airbrake or an air-over-hydraulic brake system. KnowledgeSurge’s MTO-approved advanced truck driver training program includes:
200 hours advanced training, including air brakes training
certifications in Transportation of Dangerous Goods, WHMIS & First Aid and CPR
certified and experienced instructors
blended learning technique (in-class and hands-on training behind the wheel)
state-of-the-art simulators to practice reacting to potential road hazards
access to KnowledgeSurge career advisors, networking events and career seminars
We’re proud to operate at a 99.9% client recommendation rating. Contact us to learn more about training with KnowledgeSurge. Whatever truck driving school you choose, we hope to see you on the road soon!