Category Archives: Industry Professionalism

Training Schools Focus on Carrier Based Training

There are a number of things that differentiate one school over another such as instruction styles, courses available, longevity in the industry, and commitment to professionalism. The focus for any good school should be the student and their success after the course in the workplace for their chosen career path. Over the years I have seen schools that are more interested in filling seats than student success.

A school focused on student success will have a course structure allowing for students to learn all aspects of the industry. They will be challenged as close to real life scenarios as possible during their training so that they have an understanding of what a career will entail when they complete the course. This is carrier-based training and as a student this is the type of training you should be looking for when researching training facilities.

It has been seen in the past where a school will take a student on a certain route in order for them to memorize the road orientation so that they are successful when taking the licencing road test. Many of the testing centres use a certain route for their testing so schools will follow that route so the student is better prepared. Even if the student passes however once they get into a real life scenario they get into trouble.

We have seen the same issue with inspections where students are memorizing a certain system but not really learning what issues to look for on a truck. They pass the test but then have problems when road testing with a carrier because they haven’t learned how to do an inspection the way a carrier would like it done. A good training centre will teach a student what to look for and learn the reason why they have to do certain things, not memorize routines.

truck driver in drivers cab
Carrier-based Training

The Truck Training Schools Association of Ontario (TTSAO) has always designed their curriculum to help the student be successful when applying to carriers after the training is\ complete. This means ensuring the membership is delivering carrier-based training for their students and that the courses are set up to give them real life solutions to problems on the road. Carriers expect students to come out of a training facility with a certain amount of knowledge and training so that they can be taken to the next step of a Finishing Program. If a student doesn’t have the basics of their training they won’t be successful and able to go to the next step. This is why carrier-based training is so important.

The TTSAO will be focusing on instruction and training at the 5th Annual Conference where Philip Fletcher of Commercial Heavy Equipment Training and Dave MacDonald of Revolution Staffing will be talking about carrier-based training and how training facilities can ensure student success when transitioning to the carrier.

Learn more about the presentation here

The question then becomes is your training curriculum focused on the student being successful when applying for employment with a carrier or is it focused on the student passing the licence test? If your focus is the latter then you may not be delivering carrier-based training.

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Have you registered for the conference?

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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Joining the Carrier Group at TTSAO

The Truck Training School Association of Ontario (TTSAO) is an association focused on the training industry in Ontario Canada helping to improve the level of professionalism in the industry and making our roads safer. Over the years several groups have evolved within the association to help focus truck driver training issues and solve some of the large issues in the industry. The Association now has four significant membership groups that help shape the opinions and projects looked at by the Association.


The Accredited Schools Group is the major membership group within the association. This group is made up of the training facilities registered with TTSAO. The Accredited Schools are audited on a regular basis to ensure their training systems and curriculum meet the standards set out by the TTSAO.

The Insurance Group is made up of insurance providers registered with the Association. This is an important group because the insurance market dictates much of the hiring requirements
and policies for new drivers. Over the years this membership group has been important to guiding the TTSAO on how they design programming to offer the best career outcome for new students.


The Associate Members Group is the largest group and is made up of vendors, suppliers, trainers, and other companies involved in the transportation industry either working with or supporting the truck training industry.

find-a-ttsao-Carrier
Carrier Group

The Carrier Group is possibly the most significant after the Accredited Schools Group. The reason for this is that the carriers registered with the TTSAO are the ones directly hiring the
students. Their direction, opinions, and requests are extremely important to the other membership groups. As current President Kim Richardson says, “The carriers are our customers without them there is no training industry.” If you are a carrier based in Canada and hire new students on your team then you may want to consider joining the organization that is training those students. Not only will you get to know the people training your future team members but you will also have a say on the type of training you would like to see a new student have when applying for a job. If you’re a carrier joining the organization you don’t have to do anything unique as you will automatically be added to the Carrier Group upon acceptance of your application. If you’re not sure if you want to join the group the best thing to do is to attend the upcoming conference and attend the Carrier Group Meeting where leader of the group Guy Broderick will be leading a discussion and updating the group on issues discussed throughout the group. You can learn more about the TTSAO at www.ttsao.com or register for the conference at http://ttsao.com/ttsao-conference/

Guy Broderick
Guy Broderick / Carrier Group

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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Build Your Truck Training School Business for 2020

Happy New Year from the TTSAO. The Truck Training Schools Association of Ontario ( TTSAO) would like to wish you a safe and successful new year and all the best for 2020.

Speaking of 2020 the TTSAO is working hard to make our industry better from a training standpoint and we have a number of initiatives on the go which we will talk about in a minute. Time is moving faster and now is the time to get your training business in gear and ahead of the competition by learning new and interesting ways to market your business. In order to do that you need to know which way the industry is going.

If we had a crystal ball we would all be able to change our business models to be successful, but unfortunately life isn’t like that. There is a way for you to learn about the changes in the industry and hot topics that will help you focus your training business for the future and that’s at the TTSAO Conference. Every year the TTSAO holds a conference and usually the topics covered are initiatives or points of discussion that need attention in the industry. What’s hot this year?

TTSAO Conference 2018
Lou Smyrlis

Lou Smyrlis of Newcom Media is a leader when it comes to trends in the industry and where we seem to be heading. Smyrlis will be talking about changes coming up in 2020 and trends happening in the industry which are a great way to adjust your marketing and business for the future. You can learn more about Lou Smyrlis here.

Quality training is important for everyone especially carriers. When a training school completes the training with a student that student is then hired by a carrier that will finish the training with a good finishing program. The student must have those basics in order to be successful in a career as a professional driver and that’s where a good school comes in. Philip Fletcher of Commercial Heavy Equipment Training and Dave MacDonald of Revolution Staffing will be offering information on how to ensure your program is inline with carriers for a successful student transition.

Foreign workers and female truck drivers have been in the forefront for couple of years and is still in front as the industry struggles to bring in new people and both of those topics are being discussed in depth at the next conference. Vikram Khurana is an expert in International Recruiting and will be offering information on how we can bring foreign workers into the industry successfully.

Picture-Vikram-Khurana
Vikram Khurana

Helen Thorpe will be one of the panelists talking about women in the industry and how they can have successful careers in an industry that is predominately male. Thorpe has had a successful career in the industry and is looked at as a leader for women in trucking. You can learn about Helen Thorpe here.

Helen Thorpe
Helen Thorpe

Instructor qualifications are leading many discussions these days as the industry tries to create a uniform presence across the Country. Last year Joe Teixeira was the first recipient of the Instructor of the Year Award and a new recipient will be awarded this year. The award meant a-lot to Teixeira and helped his carrier with new ways of promoting their brand. View the qualifications by clicking the requirement file here.

Instructor of the Year

Technology and marketing will round out the hot topics as we look to how those trends affect students and the industry as a whole. Vickie Devos of iMVR will lead a panel on technology in the industry and tips on business and marketing will be talked about with Audra Thompson of Northbridge Insurance and Scott Rea of Avatar Fleet Services. Hopefully this will help you devise a successful plan for the future for your training location. As you can see we don’t have crystal ball but the next best thing are experts in the industry offering information to help you be successful. You can learn about the TTSAO 5th Annual Conference by clicking here.

Save your seat for the conference by clicking here.

About the Author

Bruce Outridge has been in the transportation industry for over 30 years. He is the author of the books Driven to Drive, 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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Are You Creating Your career Opportunity?

Is it time to treat yourself to a gift? It’s amazing how many people go through life doing the same job or working in the same capacity and never think about moving up or changing their career environment. We often go through life doing the same job everyday hoping that
someone will notice our hard work and offer us change to a better opportunity. Sometimes that can take years for someone to notice your hard work among the other employees at the company and management still may not see you as right for the job. The secret to making this happen is to create the opportunity.
This happened to me back in 2003. I had been a truck driver for over 20 years at this point and was looking to move out of the truck. I had been at the company for over 9 years and one of the reasons I moved to the company in the first place was to advance in my career. The change to the company itself was an advance but I now felt ready for the next step. I had decided a year before to go back to school to learn some new skills and clean up my educational
background. I took a number of courses in technology, business, and other interesting career courses to help build my education for the future. At the same time the company was upgrading their technology and moving managers and supervisors to different departments. Things changed and I found myself with the opportunity to be supervisor of the same fleet that I had worked for as a driver for many years. As it turned out I got the job beating out another driver that had a long standing career with many more years of experience. The reason he didn’t get the job even after I threw my support behind him is that he hadn’t upgraded his computer skills and the company was changing in technology.

Man driving tractor

You have to create opportunities in your life and career. There are too many people looking for that promotion for you to standby in the shadows hoping someone will notice you. When I went back to school people noticed my ambition, asked about courses I was taking, and were impressed with the determination of working harder than the next person. I didn’t quit my job to do this as there are many flexible courses online or at local establishments allowing you to work around your current job hours. This is the perfect time of year to start thinking about upgrading your skills for the new year. Whether for yourself or someone in your family giving them the gift of training can be the best thing you can give. Check out the video below on the career of Joe Teixeira.

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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Should Transportation Start Policing Themselves

Trucking is a serious job! Forty tons of freight on a vehicle that is 75 feet long and bends in the middle is not something to be taken lightly. It takes skill, dedication, and training above other drivers on the road. If you add drugs and alcohol to the mix you are making a bomb that is traveling at 100 kilometres per hour and has the potential to do harm to many at once.

Here we are in the heart of Holiday Season with an increased presence of police enforcement with RIDE Programs and new technology for evaluating impairment putting driver impairment front and centre on the map of safe driving. But is it working?

Recently there have been an increase in driver impairment among truck drivers with alcohol or drugs. The last few reports on this the drivers were not in any type of incident but were found impaired after being stopped for another violation such as a traffic stop or inspection. Why is impairment among truck drivers increasing?

To be fair driver impairment has been in the news more over the last year with cannabis becoming legal over the last couple of years in Canada and the Holiday Season approaching. You would think with the amount of awareness and the increase in monitoring of drivers by carriers that the numbers for impairment would be going the other way, yet they seem to be increasing.

What is the answer to decreasing the trend upwards of impairment among drivers. Is it more information or additional training? Is it breathalyzers in every truck such as they have for those that have been convicted of offences?

Here are a couple of articles talking about impairment issues. https://www.canada.ca/en/services/policing/police/community-safety-policing/impaired-driving/drug-impaired-driving.html and https://madd.ca/pages/impaired-driving/overview/cannabis-and-driving/

depressed-person

When I talk with other drivers at safety meetings and shows many of them have the same opinion in the fact that drivers know the importance of keeping their licences free of violations and the fact that it can greatly reduce opportunities for their career in the future. If drivers know this then why are we continuing the trend upwards.

I believe common sense needs to be added to training. As an industry we spend a lot of time training drivers for compliance to ensure the carrier can show insurance that they are keeping up on safety, but how many are training based on leadership, professionalism, and common sense decision making. How many carriers included drug and alcohol training in their training over the last year on a regular basis?

As an industry we have to start policing ourselves in a number of areas from impairment to safety to tax evasion. As we get more people involved in the industry from other cultures and Countries where laws may be different we have to enhance those standards that make our industry professional. As an industry we invest a lot of money in technology and equipment but if we can’t help a driver understand the importance of being free of drugs and alcohol and good decision making we will always be a threat to other motorists on the road. Please be safe this Holiday Season and don’t drink or do drugs when about to drive.

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 for Truck Drivers. 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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TTSAO instructor of the Year Nomination Information

Do you have an instructor worthy of becoming Instructor of the Year? If so use the form below to enter them into the nomination. If you would like to see what the last recipient thought about the award listen to this interview with award winner Joe Teixeira from Rosedale Transport.

Joe Teixeira-Instructor of the Year 2019
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Instructor of the Year Award Sponsor

Learn more about the conference here

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Women Leading Change in Trucking

Women can do it! That was the message at a recent event talking about leadership for women in the trucking industry. The event was a traveling road show by Trucking HR Canada and sponsored by TransCore Link Logistics to help women improve their careers by offering information on what successful women in the industry have done to reach the career heights. The panel of women included Claudia Milicevic of TransCore Link Logistics, Tracy Clayson of In-Transit Personnel, and Stephanie Carruth of One for Freight. All of these ladies have reached executive levels within the transportation industry.

Although the room was filled with industry professionals for the most part the message wasn’t just about trucking. Women make good leaders and the information on how they got there is good information for everyone. A common theme with all the panelists was that women have to get themselves out there and push themselves to network. Doing this is one way to gain confidence and even though it may seem scary at first knowing that attending events and meeting other leaders on a level playing field is paramount to growing your career. Claudia Milicevic constantly mentioned that “Failure was not an option” meaning if you want to grow your career you have to do things that may be uncomfortable, but will help your career grow. That sentiment was echoed by all women on the panel. Other messages included not taking yourself so seriously, know what you’re doing, and not being afraid to ask with confidence for projects that will help your career.

The event was a mix of panel discussion and networking event for women and the transportation industry. Payments made for the event went to the Children’s Wish Foundation as there was a charge for the event. I think all in attendance got a positive message from the panel and information we can all use in our everyday lives and careers. Women are stepping up to the plate more and more in many industries and I think this is good for all of us. It shouldn’t matter what the gender, if a person has the qualifications and aptitude for the job it is worth it for them to be considered. Well done ladies!

About the Author

Bruce Outridge has been in the transportation industry for over 30 years. He is the author of the books Driven to Drive, 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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Are You a Mobile Support Equipment Operator

Over the years we’ve changed the face of trucking with new cultures and immigration programs, maybe it’s time we change the name. One thing trucking hasn’t improved in is respect. We have improved in technology, we have more training, we have more regulations, but we don’t seem to have any more respect. If you say the term “truck driver” to anyone in the general public you will see their face twist and usually hear something like “ that’s a hard job” or “tough industry.” The only time that changes is when you talk to someone who understands the industry or has driven before.

What if we changed the name? We all respect someone in the Military for the hard work they do and the danger of the job. There are many people in the military either doing the exact same job that a truck driver does, but because of the function of the military people’s perceptions are totally different. If motorists get held up in traffic by a line of trucks they swear and curse at the drivers. If they get held up by a military convoy they salute and wave. Could it be the name that helps to change the perception of the job. I agree that people in the army are amazing in protecting our Country and supporting war efforts for others, but we all know if we were to stop the trucks transporting goods across our Country the shelves would be bare. Does it make us any less important?

Trailer-back

I was reading an advertisement for a job to become a truck driver in the military. No I am not trying to get a job but was curious to see what they would look for in a person and what type of work they would be expected to do. I was expecting the job description to say things like; Must be able to drive a tank, ten years experience hauling helicopters, or something like that. When I read the description it was almost the same as a truck driver job. The items were drive buses, trucks, and tractor trailers. Inspect vehicles, fill out paperwork, maintain the vehicle, etcetera. That sounds much like what a truck driver does. You can see the description for yourself at https://forces.ca/en/career/mobile-support-equipment-operator/.

Here is the difference, the job is not called truck driver for the army but “Mobile Support Equipment Operator.” Doesn’t that sound nice? It is much of the same job with a lot more respect and of course learning to shoot a gun. Marketing has always been the transportation industry’s problem. Whether we change it to a skilled trade or rename it for more respect I think we need to look at that as an industry.

On another note our military personnel are crucial to our freedom and survival as a Country. Please remember those that have served to give us the freedom we now enjoy in Canada and beyond and pause to remember them on November 11th. Thank you to all of our military services for the work you do.

Military-Trucks

About the Author

Bruce Outridge has been in the transportation industry for over 30 years. He is the author of the books Driven to Drive, 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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Being Job Ready in 2019

What does being job ready mean in 2019 and 2020? Does it mean you have to be able to out work the person next to you? Does it mean you have to a university degree in your chosen field? Does it mean you have to have a technological background? What does job ready mean anymore?

Decades ago being job ready means you were willing to put in long hours at work and do what it takes to get the job done. Trucking companies were looking for people that didn’t mind hard work and that’s why people with a farming background succeeded so well in the industry. Being educated was for those with financial resources to get someone to college and many people had grade 10 education or less but had a work ethic that carried them through and gave them a good life. They excelled in the industry because of the farming and mechanical backgrounds allowing them to fix equipment and have pride in their work.

Today those same values are only important to the older drivers that made their careers successful through hard work. Today people are educated and focused more on work / life balance than getting the job done at all costs. As carriers struggle to change with a rolling economy and demands from a changing labour market it is changing what is attracting new drivers to the industry leaving transportation in a fluctuating market. Who are we looking for?

When you apply for a job in the market today you have to have a number of things going for you. Employers want a mix of old and new and that is very hard to find in the same person. They want someone educated and tech savvy with the old values of willing to work long hours and get the job done while being safe. Those people are out there but our industry has not changed the way things have been done for over 30 years. We haven’t shown respect for the time of the driver and we are still looking for someone to work long hours while that someone is good around equipment with a safety mindset. Unfortunately that is not what young people want in their job. What does that mean for being job ready in 2019 and 2020?

Carriers are changing to meet the demand of applicants in our industry so they can attract the talent they need. They are doing their best to add flexibility to their operations with shorter days and flexible start times. Many are now paying for detention time and offering more technology in the trucks. Different types of people are now making up many carrier teams allowing for different operation styles. Driver pay is slowly rising to help attract talent to the workplace.

Team-Drivers

What does the perfect truck driver model look like in 2020? “A truck driver that is educated with a willingness to be better,” would be my statement if I was asked. Trucking offers so many opportunities but many of them you cannot see until you are in the industry. Someone that is willing to take a little blind faith and get started in an industry that is changing rapidly will have many opportunities available to them that they may not be able to get anywhere else. Since our industry has so many career legs to it you can create a custom career path while making money and seeing the Country at the same time and you will be at the forefront of the technological change which is beginning to happen right now. There has never been more opportunity in our industry and for the right mindset the future is unlimited. Trucking will always be here in one form or another and you can be part of it.

find-a-ttsao-Carrier

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 for Truck Drivers. 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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Be Thankful for Trucking at Thanksgiving

As we move into another Canadian Thanksgiving I always like to remind everyone that without trucking you would have an empty table. I have always said that trucking has terrible marketing campaigns and what many refer to as a dumping ground for people with a lack of education in the past is possibly one of the most important professions on the planet. Without truck drivers there would be nothing on that Thanksgiving table.

I recently interviewed a young reporter on my podcast who has been reporting specifically on the transportation industry for the last two years. She was in her mid twenties and when I asked her what people her age thought of the trucking industry she said they didn’t find it attractive. She mentioned that many young people feel the industry is such as those movies from the 70’s where we are all shown speeding from the police, gear jamming through outlaw convoys, and drinking in the truck stops before heading out on the road. Being a product of that time and starting my trucking career in the early 80’s I can tell you the industry couldn’t be any further from those scenarios seen in many movies. Like any good movie scenario getting a turkey to the kitchen table by truck certainly isn’t as thrilling as hauling illegal beer back from Texarkana Texas with Police in chase.

Even the movies that are made to reflect a more accurate look on the industry get caught up in movie making effects and can soon turn fable over fact in a short period of time. Unfortunately these movies and television shows are there for entertainment and that causes scenarios to be embellished for ratings. My friends that are involved in some of those shows will tell stories of how producers will ask them to make a scene more interesting by re-shooting it outside of what is allowed in the regulations or cut out certain scenes to make things more dramatic.

It’s a shame that television changes reality into fiction because our industry may be very different. Since it is such an important industry to the economy of our Country it should be treated as such because we keep saying, “Without trucks there would be nothing on our shelves.” Truck drivers are expected to get deliveries made in all sorts of weather and traffic situations yet we treat them like children. Even though our industry has changed over the years our importance is still being determined by movies made for entertainment from a time that is long gone.

Thank a truck driver!

As you sit down for that fabulous meal at Thanksgiving this weekend take a moment to reflect on the items on your table. The food came from a store that was supplied by a truck. Your table ware came from stores that were supplied by trucks. For many truck drivers they aren’t sitting at a table for Thanksgiving, they are driving up and down the roadways keeping those shelves stocked for others while you enjoy your meal. Thank a truck driver and Happy Thanksgiving.

About the Author

Bruce Outridge has been in the transportation industry for over 30 years. He is the author of the books Driven to Drive, 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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