If the perfect carrier knocked on your door tomorrow, would you be ready for the opportunity? You may wonder why I ask such a question, but it does make a difference. Here is the issue, I talk to drivers all the time and many of them are in search of the perfect carrier. They want great pay, they want great equipment, and they want to be respected. We all want those things from a carrier but it just doesn’t happen because you have your licence. It takes hard work, dedication to professionalism, and building a brand that will create opportunities for you.
I recently attended a conference for the Truck Training School Association of Ontario where much of the topics focused on the image of the driver. One of the messages coming from those in the room is that carriers are looking to attract the right people and not just anyone that comes along with a licence. With the changes in the testing and training requirements from the MInistry of Transportation coming into effect on July 1, 2017 with the Mandatory Entry Level Training Program (M.E.L.T.) drivers will need to have a basic amount of training to get their feet in the door of a carrier. The new training standards have forced the MTO to change their testing standards which will make the driving test harder for new applicants. All of this is in place to make the roads safer and ensure drivers have basic training when receiving their licence.
How does that help you get the perfect job?
Carriers are looking for professionalism. The new standards will ensure a driver has the basic training required to pass the road test. It’s a good first step but it won’t get you to the final destination. Carriers want professionals! The way to become a professional is to keep stepping up above what is called for and learn to be the best you can be. Many new drivers try to get by with the minimum amount of training and testing because often they don’t like the school part of the training program. Those classes teach you the extra information that makes you attractive to a carrier. The better you learn the items taught in those classes the better a driver you will be. Sadly many drivers don’t take that information seriously and lose the opportunities that will be presented to them.
Where are you?
If you are someone looking at the industry then you need decent training. Even with the new M.E.L.T. standards many feel it may not be enough. Insurance have ratings for new drivers that start with a 200 hour course which are already out on the market with certified schools such as those at the TTSAO. If insurance companies already have their policies set at 200 hours the new standards may still not be enough. So go to a certified school and get proper training or you really will be wasting your money and your time. You can start by visiting www.ttsao.com.
If you already have your licence but have found carriers won’t talk to you because you weren’t certified by a recognized training facility then here is an idea to try. Call a certified school and ask about upgrading your training with certificates. You shouldn’t have to take the driving test again but many have what they call refresher courses that can upgrade you and get you certified. They will assess you and upgrade you where required. Once you have your certifications you will be able to start applying at those carriers that wouldn’t look at your resume previously.
The final piece is to keep learning and upgrading yourself even when the formal training stops. Always try to improve your efficiency, get better with trip planning, and keep up with technology. To be successful in trucking it means continually learning and improving. If you can do that you will have a successful career, I did!
About the Author
Bruce Outridge is transportation consultant with over 30 years experience in the industry. He is the host of The Lead Pedal Podcast for drivers ( www.theleadpedalpodcast.com), author of the books Running By The Mile, and Driven to Drive, and is a trainer and consultant for the industry. You can learn more about Bruce and his work at www.bruceoutridge.com