Category Archives: Truck Training School Articles

Driving School Culture Starts at the Top

Being involved with the training industry over many years both directly and indirectly I have heard reviews and complaints on certain types of schools in the industry. I have worked with good schools and heard and seen the bad ones. Many times looking at the schools from the outside may or may not allow you to tell the good from the bad. Both will have trucks, offices, and a website. The real difference comes when applying to a school, starting a school, or operating a successful school?

The industry has been changing over the years with the implementation of Mandatory Entry Level Training and certification processes by the Government that are ensuring that the proper training programs are available to the market. Incident rates have been climbing in recent years and training is being blamed for part of the problem.

When you think of it training facilities can implement many of the Government requirements, but that still won’t make them a good school. The reason is that the culture of the school is really determined by the staff or management of the facility and the dedication to safety and training of the students. If I have a school and am just concerned with putting students through the program in the fastest way possible then that won’t be the best school to attend even if certifications are in place.

Man driving tractor

There have been many reports of students being crowded into a truck with one instructor and showing them a specific route to pass the test. Other reports include instructors doing business on the phone when they should be training or cookie cutting courses in order to charge more money.

A school or company with a good culture will train their staff properly, offer quality in their course material, and have a focus on safety instead of value over money. They will have a good culture that drips down from the top throughout their curriculum and staff ensuring students have a successful program helping the industry have successful workers. Culture is king!

If you are a potential student looking for a training facility then talk to other students and make sure the programming is thorough, staff are safety minded and professional, and the training program will give you all the tools to start a successful career in transportation.

If you are an instructor in the industry ensure you really care about the learning process for your students and that they have the training to be safe professional drivers when they complete the program.

If you are a school owner or company providing training realize training is not about just filling the seats with bodies, but ensuring everyone providing training and contact from trainer to reception is offering quality service. The culture has to come from the top down.

If you are looking to start a training facility deciding on the type of training facility you will be operating and supporting through your business decisions will be paramount. No matter how much making money enters the equation the difference between success and a good name in the industry is culture. If you would like to learn about the steps for starting a training facility the TTSAO has the process documented on their website. You can find the information by clicking here.

Start an Accredited School with TTSAO

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

Please follow and like us:
error

Don’t Be Afraid of the Border-Prepare for It!

As we sit between Canada’s Birthday of July 1st and the United States Independence happening on July 4th I felt it was similar to crossing the border in a truck. When talking to drivers at recruiting events or schools many are afraid of the border. They prefer driving through Canada only and may not want to experience the border due to the many stories that they hear from other drivers. It doesn’t matter whether that driver is Canadian based or U.S based the feelings are the same. Unfortunately what those drivers don’t realize is that those that have trouble at the border often weren’t as prepared as they should have been.

I remember my early experience at the border. I was very early in my career as a driver, in fact I had only been across the border in a truck maybe two times before. Just like many new drivers I jumped into truck ownership very early and this was the first time in my own truck taking a load of furniture across the border. I was a partner in the truck with my friend who had taught me to drive and we had taken a couple of loads across the border in his Father’s truck who was also an owner operator in the furniture industry.

I still remember that night. We were moving someone from Ontario Canada to Northern New York State. We had an old cabover Ford truck that we had refurbished and reworked for about $10,000 which is big money to someone only 20 years old. My partner Andre was the one who handled the paperwork for the border and we had decided to cross the border late at night as we were running as a team. We arrived at the border and went through the normal process of submitting the paperwork and sitting in the waiting room at the border.

I remember the room being cold, dark and a place that you had a feeling you could be left there indefinitely if your paperwork didn’t clear properly. After about an hour waiting in this little room with drivers sleeping and looking very disappointed with the simple fact of being there we heard our names called. Happy to be leaving we jumped to the counter to get our release form. Instead of our release form we were told to back our trailer into the dock and we returned to the cold dark room. Four hours later we were called to repack the furniture they had torn down which took us another hour to do. In total we were there for six hours with no explanation as to why such a long delay.

I would have not been blamed if I never wanted to cross the border again. Instead I spent countless years crossing the border and for the most part trouble free. Oh there has been a few delays due to traffic, there was the time there was a trucker strike, and of course there are a few times when the load wasn’t correctly documented by the shipper. For the most part it has been a good experience. Out of my 25 year career 10 of those were operating south of the border and I am glad that I wasn’t scared off by that early experience.

If I can offer some advice for those of you currently crossing the border or thinking about going that route is to be prepared. Over the years I have found having your paperwork in order, knowing how your truck is loaded, and being professional when presenting paperwork or speaking with border personnel is the best defence in reducing delays at the border.

Speaking of the border I would like to take this time to wish our American friends Happy Independence Day, may it be a safe and happy day.

Truck-with-american-flag

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

Please follow and like us:
error

Job Diversity Leading Attraction to get into Transportation

Have you ever been attracted to a job where the money was attractive and once in the industry you found it felt like a dead end? Once you started down that path you saw that everyone ended up doing the same job and there was very little career building areas to move around. When that happens boredom sets in and it is just a matter of time before you feel stuck and unfulfilled. This happens in many manufacturing environments where employees focus on a high hourly wage and benefits hoping longevity will see them through to retirement. We have all seen the writing on the wall when that happens and a plant closes down after a many years in operation.

TTSAO Conference 2018

I recently attended an interview session for people in the trucking industry asking them various questions about what they thought of the transportation industry as they have evolved in their careers. As we completed a number of the interviews I began to see two common themes throughout no matter who I talked with. The two themes were people in the industry and the different career paths available to those in the industry. It really came down to options. The questions for the interviews were created by a separate group so it wasn’t as though I themed the questions or asked them in certain way. I was asked to interview certain people about their career experiences and document the answers. During the course of 28 interviews half of those people mentioned that the opportunities available in the industry through different career paths were the top reasons that people stayed in the industry. Many responded that they started as drivers and over the years have had a number of job titles over their long career with many being with the same employer. I interviewed one person who began her career as a driver, went into dispatch, and is now in safety and operations. Others began in the family business and are now in sales, management, or insurance. Having opportunities to stay in such a diverse industry was the leading reason that transportation was such a lucrative industry to be part of.

The people were the second reason. One quarter of the interviewees said that the people kept them wanting to be involved in the trucking industry. Some said they could pick up the phone and call colleagues in the industry to get information even if that colleague was with a different employer. Others felt the people were genuine in trucking and the type of people that understood what a person can go through allowing them the information needed to solve problems. Others made lifelong friends in the industry that they have not found elsewhere.

TTSAO December 11th Meeting

I myself have experienced the same thing in this industry. I was one of those people that started my career not even in the driver’s seat but carrying furniture into houses as I moved people around the Province. That led to a career as a driver for over 25 years, a fleet supervisor, a trainer, author, and now podcaster just to mention a few. It is all due to the knowledge and friendships I have experienced in the trucking industry. I hope you get a chance to experience what myself and so many others have experienced in this industry in the people and opportunities. It will change your life, it did for me!

find-a-ttsao-Carrier

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

Please follow and like us:
error

Trucking for the Right Reasons

There is a certain wonder about life on the road and how people cope. People wonder about truckers in the trucking industry such as where they go, who they see, and how they handle the loneliness. We wonder the same thing about nomads, caravaners, and other people that seem to float from place to place not knowing what the next turn will bear. To some it is romantic and to others it is as scary as walking down a dark street at two in the morning.

I recently read an article from a young person thinking about getting into the trucking industry who currently worked from home and felt they had no social life. He didn’t get out to see people and was becoming bored with his job. This person felt that getting a job as a truck driver would change the loneliness and make their life more exciting. The question is, is that the proper reason to get into the trucking industry?

Another situation that arises is when someone takes a driving trip for vacation decides they like to drive and wants to move into the transportation industry. Driving on vacation and driving for work are two different things. Vacation is great for seeing the sights and enjoying the many great places across the Country. It is not always possible to do that in trucking.

The reasons above are what people tell us many times in conversation as to why they may want to get into the trucking industry. It may be a start but is not enough to begin a career without some more investigation into the lifestyle. If we take the scenarios above we will see that for the first person the reason of getting out of the house may be a first step to looking at the industry, but have they thought about life on the road as a whole. Life on the road is not for everyone and the driving is just one part of the job. Many drivers suffer from loneliness as well so trucking may or may not be the answer.

Driver-in-truck

In the second scenario a driving holiday is a beautiful way to see the beauty of North America with family and friends. You can stop when you want, drive to important monuments, and take your time enjoying the surroundings. You can do that in a truck as well but you may not have the time or access to go to certain places.

So how do you decide on a job in transportation? The scenarios above may be a good start to thinking about being in trucking but you need to look at the job and lifestyle as a whole. I think the trucking industry has a lot to offer any person whether in a truck or not but is also not for everyone. You do get to see the Country and you can see others on the road, but it can be a drastic change to people coming into the industry without the knowledge of the lifestyle. The best place to start the conversation about trucking is with a carrier or trucking school. An even better place to start is at www.ttsao.com

find-a-ttsao-school-icon-r2

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

Please follow and like us:
error

Linamar to host TTSAO Carrier Group and General Meetings

May 21, 2019

REMINDER – Last Chance to Register: The TTSAO Carrier Group will be holding a meeting on Thursday May 23, 2019 at Linamar Corporation in Guelph at 700 Woodlawn Road from 8:30am to 9:30am.  The meeting is free of charge to attend and is open to all carriers, for hire and private.  The agenda will include an overview of the new TTSAO auditing and oversight program as well as a proposed marketing initiative for recruiting people into the training industry. 

Following the auditing and overview portion of the meeting the TTSAO Carrier Group will be featuring a session called “How We Do It, A Carrier’s Perspective”. This session will have three for hire and private carriers each presenting on recruiting, interviewing, road testing and on-boarding entry level drivers. In this session carrier representatives will share their thoughts on how they are recruiting, and on-boarding entry level students recently graduated from commercial driver training schools. 

After the 3 presentations the carriers will gather as a panel and there will be an open Q/A moderated by Guy Broderick, Chairman of the TTSAO Carrier Group.  

During the general session an update will also be provided on the recently introduced TTSAO auditing and oversight program which is managed by the TTSAO Insurance Group. This recently implemented auditing process, for both new prospective members and existing TTSAO members, who operate commercial truck driving schools has been launched with success. Lisa Arseneau, Chairperson of the TTSAO Insurance Group, will provide an overview of the program to-date.

The meeting for the TTSAO Carrier Group is for Carriers only is scheduled for 8:30 – 9:30am

The general session will take place from 10 am to noon and is open to anyone in the industry who would like to attend. 

To register please email ttsao@ttsao.com or call 705-280-5577.

For more information contact:

Charlie Charalambous – Director of Communications and Public Relations, TTSAO – ccharalambous@isbglobalservices.com  or (905) 699 – 8837

Kim Richardson – President, TTSAO – KRTS office – 1-800-771-8171 x 201 or cell – 905-512-0254 or by email at kim@ttsao.com

Please follow and like us:
error

You’ve Got to Give a Company a Year!

I was reading some questions lately about drivers looking for jobs and as I went through a few posts I began to notice a disturbing trend. Many of the drivers asking the questions were asking where to go to drive hauling a certain type of trailer. What was comical is that if you went down the list and read every question many were contradicting each other. The drivers may as well just switched companies. The trend I noticed was that the drivers all were fairly new drivers and many of them were looking to change companies after only 6 months of driving time. What these drivers may no realize is how much they are hurting their employment record by moving companies within a year of starting in their career. You’ve got to give a company a year as a new truck driver.

TTSAO Hiring Event 2018

The first two years of your career are critical to success as a new driver and the best thing you can do for your career is learn all you can and work in a stable environment. Forget the money, forget the lanes of operation, forget everything. Drive safely and learn all you can about the job is the best way to have success in the industry.

Why stay for at least a year?

What many new drivers may not realize is that there are many factors that work together from insurance to safety to experience and if you can stay at a company for at least two years before moving to another company it helps your employment record dramatically. Once a driver has two years of experience the insurance companies look at that driver as an experienced driver and they become easier to insure. Two years is also the amount of time that it takes for a driver to learn the basic skills of the job and be self sufficient in their position. When a driver moves from company to company within the two year mark it becomes a red flag to many companies that this driver isn’t stable and it will cause them to question investing in that driver.

What looks better on an employment record? A driver that has been with a company for two years and is now looking for an improved opportunity? Or a driver that has had three jobs in the last two years and is still looking for more opportunities?

This is why it is important for new drivers to investigate companies properly when first getting started in the industry. Start your career with a reputable carrier that will offer the training and help you get the experience required to have a solid career as a driver. Don’t worry about making money, just gain as much experience as you can and stay stable at your job. After two years your options will open dramatically for the new driver and you will have enough knowledge to know what type of job you want in the industry.

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. 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

Please follow and like us:
error

How much is a load worth versus a life?

You’re a new driver and told by dispatch, “Get it there no matter what!” You’re running late due to problems on the road and the boss needs to make the customer happy and wants you to push through the night. You didn’t properly load your truck and have had load problems the trip from the shipper so you are focusing on other elements and not your driving. You’re in-experience, in-attention, and job in-securities all come together at once causing a life changing experience and you now look down a road of loss potential and life as a whole.

This week the driver of the Humboldt Bus crash was sentenced for the trucking accident that happened back in March 2018. A young driver with only three weeks of experience was driving through the night having trouble with the tarp on his load, he missed warning signs to a dangerous road crossing, and hit a bus with a hockey team killing 16 people and injuring many more. The team was from a tiny town in Western Canada named Humboldt and the surrounding area and this crash has devastated the town, the Province, and the Country. What’s worse is that it could have been prevented.

The driver and company were found guilty. The company was suspended and the driver charged with 8 years in prison, not allowed to drive for a number of years afterward, and may even be facing deportation. The driver had three weeks of training before being put on the road with a truck and load that many people with years of experience wouldn’t have been given.

So the question is, “How much is a load worth versus a life?”

Truck Crash

The decision on how to move forward is always held with the driver as they are the last point of contact between company and load and this is why it is extremely important for drivers to know what they’re doing and the consequences of their actions if they decide to move forward. When a driver is new they are constantly trying to remember their training and hoping they don’t have problems. Knowing how to do things properly and not being afraid to ask questions when unsure of a process should be part of your line of defence while on the road. Keeping your job by overriding safety precautions and training is a sure way to get yourself in trouble on the road as we’ve seen here.

TTSAO-carrierl-banner-2018

The driver from Humboldt will have 8 years to think about his actions and evaluate where he went wrong. Even worse is that he will see the faces of the victims in his mind for the rest of his life. Many drivers that have been in an accident with casualties never drive again. Many times I talk about knowing what type of driver you want to be and this is where the “rubber hits the road”so to speak. Not knowing your priorities as a driver can change your life and the lives of those around you. The question you need to ask yourself every time an issue comes up with a load is, “ How much is this load worth compared to a life?” I hope you choose the correct answer because the life you are thinking about may be your own.

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

Please follow and like us:
error

Truck Training is a Relationship

The TTSAO (Truck Training Schools Association of Ontario) had their 4th annual conference at the end of February with a lot of good information shared with attendees. There were new awards, many great discussions around truck training and how schools or carriers can work closely together. Check out the conference recap here.

A panel discussion led by Geoff Topping of Challenger Motor Freight and consisting on Leanne Quail of Paul Quail Transport, Matt Richardson of Kim Richardson Transportation Specialists Inc, Garth Pitzel of Bison Transport, and Philip Fletcher of Commercial Heavy Equipment Training talked about carrier and school relationships and how it affects students coming into the industry. One of the areas that I thought was interesting about the panel discussion was the fact that relationships between carrier, school, and student were extremely important in the success of a student becoming a professional driver.

Geoff-Topping

Schools are working closely with carriers and developing strong relationships because they understand that carriers are playing a major part in truck training even if they don’t provide it. I have always said to new drivers that their first point of contact should be with a carrier of choice to find out what type of training they require and if they work with certain schools. This allows a student to get training knowing they are able to be hired once they graduate from the school.

TTSAO-School-banner-2018

Good certified schools also understand that truck training is more than just passing a test and that training is a foundation for your whole career. Having that relationship with a carrier allows a school to prepare that student for the carrier style of operation so the student is successful at the end of the training.

Best-practices-panel

Carriers are investing in a student when they sign on and much of their orientation is focused on competency and skills training when a new driver starts with the fleet. The carrier’s job is to groom that driver once they have the basic skills and working with certain schools is offering that comfort that a new driver has been trained to certain standards. Although many carriers have formal mentor programs they know that mentorship and training happens best when it is a natural fit between the new driver and trainer. Many of us can remember our mentor or trainer when we got started hopefully as good memories. Carriers realize this and are focusing on soft skills and the customer service side of the improving a driver. Trust is a main factor in a relationship between a school, student, and carrier. Careers, safety, and the future depend on it.

TTSAO-carrierl-banner-2018

As a new student or driver it is important for you to spend time building that relationship with a school and a carrier. Go to events and meet the recruiters. Call carriers and find out which school they work with in your area and why. Talk to the schools about their training programs and which carriers they work with to evaluate what job types are available. Start that relationship before you even choose a training provider and it will help streamline the process of becoming a truck driver. Not only will that save you time, resources, and money, but will also fast track you into a quality carrier right from the start. If you need help getting started then www.ttsao.com is a good place to start.

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

Please follow and like us:
error