Driver-in-truck

Use your training time to get job ready as a new driver

As I was surfing some industry blogs the other day and I came across an article that got me thinking about new drivers and preparing themselves for a new career as a professional driver. The article was a comment style article where a person new to the industry was asking which carrier they should sign on with to get their training.

The new driver had the option of getting his licence on his own or signing on with a carrier and have them train the person through their own training program. His dilemma was which carrier to choose. He posted the comment on the website asking for feedback on different carriers and got a whole lot of information. He was looking at some of the big carriers in the United States trying to evaluate the best ones to work for. In one of his last comments he had talked to a carrier and liked what they had to offer. One of his main reasons for choosing that carrier is that he would be close to home for his training allowing him to be home to sleep in his own bed and eat meals at home.

Driver-in-truck

This is a common way that many people new to the industry decide on choosing a school. They look for a school close to their home so they don’t have to drive too far for their training. I have seen this first hand in training programs as an instructor where students want to leave early from class or are in a hurry to get home to finish chores around the house, but could that be hurting their success?

One of the issues we find in the industry is that people are not prepared for the life style change that comes with a job in the transportation as a driver. The training schools tell the students about it, the recruiters remind them about it at the time of hiring, but then the student gets a job and finds it very hard to adjust to being away from home. Part of the problem may be in the mindset of the student. Trucking is not a nine to five position even in the city as a local driver. Students need to prepare their minds for the change of lifestyle that will occur once they start driving for a company. This means adjusting to the job at the beginning by practicing what you will have to do in reality. Of course you want to keep expenses down until you have money coming in but adjusting your schedule so that it begins to feel like it will when you get hired can go along way to success in the industry.

How do you mimic a lifestyle that you don’t know how will work for the future? The biggest adjustment for most students is the time away from home. Let me tell you from experience as much as it is a big adjustment for you, it is an even bigger adjustment for your family. Depending on how you have set up your training schedule changing it up can be the best thing you can do. Try not to set it up to be nine to five everyday. Spend additional hours practicing what you’ve learned. If you can pick a school that is not in your area so that you can get used to staying out over a few days at a time even better. Adjust your time to waking up early or staying up late, practice taking lunches and snacks like you would on the road. Basically you are getting used to your new life. Once you work for a carrier you won’t be going home at noon after a four hour yard shift or have multiple days off in between runs, so get used to the new lifestyle. The faster you and your family adjust to the new industry, the faster and more successful you will be once you start your new career.

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About the Author

Bruce Outridge has been in the transportation industry for over 30 years. He is an author of the books Driven to Drive and Running By The Mile, and host of The Lead Pedal Podcast. TTSAO also known as the Truck Training Schools Association of Ontario has certified member schools in the truck training vocation ensuring quality entry level drivers enter the transportation industry. To learn more about the TTSAO or to find a certified school in your area visit www.ttsao.com

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