Tag Archives: truck training

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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3 Steps to Learning the Truck Inspection Process

Learning how to conduct a truck inspection can be a daunting task when you’re a new student in a truck training school. There are many parts to inspect on a truck or bus and missing just one area can result in fines and downtime for any driver. This is why the inspection process is so important and a reason that every student has to take it seriously.

I recently attended a school to understand their yard work program and what students thought of going through the yard work process. The testing procedures have changed since the implementation of Mandatory Entry Level Training and has become more challenging for the student. Previously the inspection process was taught as a routine that a student would learn and show when testing for their licence. Over the years the testing changed to a random item test where the testing agent will ask the driver to inspect different items on the truck in various orders. The student doesn’t know ahead of time which items will be asked of them therefore having to learn the whole process.

Talking to instructor Jean at the school conducting the training for inspections I asked how the new way of testing has improved the training process? “Students have to learn the full schedule 1 with the new system. Previously the students were taught a routine for inspecting a truck, but due to the time frame in testing were memorizing what to say more than what they were actually inspecting. Because the requests are random students have to know exactly how to inspect an item and not just what to say to the tester.” Says Jean.

Instruction picture

One of the things I noticed when attending the training is that the students going through the program took the instruction very seriously. As a trainer myself I can tell you that not all students understand the importance of training or have the same level of determination. The students going through the inspection schedule, asking questions, and redoing tasks they didn’t understand or do correctly were determined to understand the components fully. Those are the students that will pass successfully but also make professional drivers in the future.

If you are a new student or someone just getting started in the process of looking for a training facility then there a few things you can do to ensure your training is successful:

  • Ensure you are attending a certified training facility. Certified schools have the top instructors that have the knowledge to show you the proper way to inspect items.
  • Participate in the training. Many times the inspection process is taught in a group setting. Don’t just stand on the side lines but be active taking notes, doing tasks, and asking questions.
  • Take your training seriously. Failing to inspect a truck properly can result in fines, delays, or even death. It is important to take your training seriously, review your work, take notes, and ask questions of things you don’t understand.

Truck inspections are required of drivers every day and there are many that don’t do them properly. They are important from a safety standpoint, required from a testing standpoint, and can minimize delays on the road, but only if you know how to do a proper inspection.

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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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Celebrating Truck Drivers on Both Sides of the Border

The second week of September is Driver Appreciation Week in the United States celebrating all the things that truck drivers do to keep our store shelves stocked, building materials on route, and cars in our driveways. Canada celebrated Driver Appreciation Week the first week of September.

The celebration weeks were set up to recognize the men and women driving up and down the highways of our Nation hauling goods that most of us take for granted. That bar of soap you just put in your grocery cart, that toothpaste you took off the shelf, or the meat that you will cook for dinner didn’t just appear on the shelf on it’s own. It went from manufacturing facility to distribution centre to the store. As a consumer you see a product on your store shelf and believe it came from the back stock room when in reality it may have traveled hundreds or thousands of miles to get to that moment when you picked it up and placed it in your shopping cart. If the trucks stopped in North America our store shelves would be empty in less than a week.

Truck drivers are the front lines of any trucking company but more importantly are the front lines to our economy. They keep North America moving and some of them take it a step further. Some are known as “Highway Angels” who are not only exceptional at their jobs but have stepped up to help save someone’s life. The Truckload Carriers Association recognizes certain drivers each year that have gone beyond the call of duty and helped someone in need. One such Highway Angel is John Weston a truck driver with Challenger Motor Freight that stayed with an accident victim during the last moments of their life. Weston didn’t think he was doing anything special, but that day hundreds of motorists passed by that same accident and didn’t stop. Being there for someone in their final moments of life is not to be taken lightly. You can read the full story here. http://ttsao.com/2018/03/28/theres-an-angel-among-us/

John Weston-Challenger
Picture by Challenger Motor Freight

As you see those big trucks traveling up and down the road don’t think of us like the gear jamming crazy people that cause havoc on our roadways like much of the public does. Think of us as a hard working group of individuals that are keeping the products you love on the shelf of your favourite store. Think of us like the blood in your body. Trucks are the blood of our economy and without them the economy would die. You may also want to think about truck drivers as the one person that may be willing to stop and help someone at the side of the road.

Thank you to the many men and women truck drivers keeping our economy in tact. We appreciate the hard work that you do and recognize how vital you are to the economy. Thank you!

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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Pmtc Supports 5th Annual Conference as Silver Sponsor

The Private Motor Truck Council of Canada has agreed to return again as a Silver Sponsor for the 5th Annual TTSAO Conference happening on February 26th-27th, 2020. save the date and check out the PMTC by clicking the logo below.

pmtc logo
Silver Sponsor

Check out the agenda below:

TTSAO-5th-Annual-Conference-poster
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Ontario Truck Training Academy Included in Top Women-Owned Businesses List

Article originally from a Linkedin Post stating that Yvette Lagrois of Ontario Truck Training Academy has been included in the 2019 list of companies that are Women-owned. Congratulations Yvette for being included in such a distinguished list.

Ghanaian female logistics company wins global transportation leadership award
In addition to Ladybird Logistics limited (Felicia Payin Marfo, Managing Director), other companies named to the 2019 “Top Woman-Owned Businesses” list included Bennett International Group (Marcia G. Taylor, CEO), Ontario Truck Training Academy (Yvette Lagrois, President), London Auto Truck Center (Donna Childers, Vice President) and United Federal Logistics, Inc. (Jennifer Behnke, President) amongst others.
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I got my Licence But Can’t Get a Job!

A driver at a recent job fair was complaining that he went to a truck training school and passed his licence but now can’t find a job. I asked him about the school as to whether they were certified or not but he did not know. I asked how long his training was and he said just a few weeks. I asked if he got individual training and he said no it was all in groups. My final question was what are the carriers telling you? He said the carriers weren’t even accepting his resume because of the school. Now we get to the heart of the matter, certified training.

This driver may have attained his licence but because he attended a school that wasn’t certified his resume is not even being accepted. This happens to many drivers trying to take short cuts on their training. They take courses that are not approved as a career college or training facilities that focus on just putting students through the door instead of offering quality training. He may have taken a course that solely focused on driving the training route and passing the road test instead of training a person to know all the tasks and information a professional driver is required to know over the course of their day in the truck.

Many schools that offer low cost courses will take groups of students and train them to pass their licence. They show them basic driving skills, but not the other important details to being a professional driver such as trip planning, hours of service, defensive driving, and other important information that a driver needs to know to build a good career. This comes back to haunt the driver when companies can’t accept their resume based on the school they attended.

Truck training has come under the spotlight in recent years with roadside incidents, the implementation of Mandatory Entry Level Training with verified hours, and a very tight insurance market for carriers that are causing many to only take applications from students that have attended certified training facilities. This means that a student has to look at the carrier and training facility together when determining the best place for training. Many carriers suggest a student talk to them directly to see what schools they deal with so they know that the company will be satisfied with the training and accept their application.

What do you do if you are like our driver friend with a licence but no one seems to be interested in accepting your resume? If you’re in this situation there are a few steps you can try. Some may work based on the person or may cost more money to get you to a state where your training is sufficient.

  • Talk to past companies that you applied with to learn exactly why they wouldn’t accept your resume. They may offer information that can improve your chances next time.
  • Some carriers will invest in the right people if the person is motivated and presents themselves properly. Show a carrier your ambition and they may take a chance on helping you upgrade and learn.
  • Talk to a certified training school and find out how much it will cost to upgrade. Many will offer the training you need and can help you get that certified training helping you gain employment.
  • Look to the larger carriers with affiliate training programs through certified schools and see if they can help you with employment and upgrading.

The best way to avoid the problem in the first place is to choose a certified school and talk to potential carriers before taking your training so that you don’t fall into this problem and get the proper training for your career. Remember training is an investment not a cost. Good luck!

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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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TTSAO Announces 2020 Conference Lineup

The TTSAO Has announced the initial conference lineup for 2020 5th annual conference. Check out the agenda for the conference and make sure reserve the date. .

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Preparing for a Carrier Road Evaluation

“People just aren’t prepared! I get drivers who show up and think we will give them a safety vest, hammer, gloves, and other equipment which they should have with them. New candidates seem to think that we will supply that for them, but those are the basics of being prepared for a road test. You are expected to bring that with you on a road test with our company” said the recruiter.

Safety professionals with the company conducting road tests have the right to terminate a road test at any time if they feel safety is compromised on the road. This recruiter tells the story of a driver that was on a road test and began to get road rage while performing the test. He was fine on the highway, but when driving in a city environment his attitude changed. The test was terminated part way through with the trainer driving the truck back to the yard.

A road test is more than just testing driving skills, they are also testing your knowledge when conducting an inspection, and how you interact with customers on the job. They are testing your professionalism, dress when showing up for work, and of course they are testing your driving skills. The most important test which may not be on paper but is part of your test is your ATTITUDE! Your attitude is the most important piece of the puzzle and success when trying to get hired on with carriers. Are you willing to learn, listen, and improve over time.

People show up at the company not realizing that they will see a company representative while filling out an application. “This recruiter says, “We have a process that a team member is called when an applicant arrives at our location. If available we try to meet the person right away to get a feel for them before scheduling an interview. I am always amazed how many drivers weren’t expecting to see anyone when applying.”

If you are looking for a position as a driver in transportation realize you are expected to be able to do certain things and first impressions count. Give yourself a professional makeover before heading out into the landscape of transportation.

Here are some points to go over before
heading out to your next interview.

  • Is your resume in good order, neat and clean?
  • Do you have your own safety equipment?
  • Do you look professional?
  • Are you prepared to conduct a proper pre-trip inspection?
  • Have you researched the company and know the type of operation they have?
  • Do you have the proper documents the recruiter requires?

Go through this checklist before each interview or road test and you will be well on your way to being successful when applying on the job front.

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

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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

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Canadian Trucking Has Come a Long Way

As Canada reaches another birthday I can’t help think about the changes the trucking industry has come through over the years. I wasn’t around in those early 1900’s when the trucking industry was being born to supplement the rail industry and help with the war efforts but I have been around the industry since the early 1980’s and have seen a number of changes from deregulation to dangerous goods to truck equipment changes. I remember those days when the Teamsters were the largest union in the industry, truck drivers drove with uniforms including ties, and there was courtesy on the road. I remember the camaraderie at truck stops and the road where drivers would help other drivers or the general public when broke down at the side of the road.

The industry was a real mix in Canada back in it’s day. We were thought of as the dumping ground for people with a lack of education but it wasn’t really a place for hoodlums. In the early days feeding families took priority over education and there was a lot of work available due to the development of the Country. There was a time when you could not operate on certain days of the week depending on your freight type and that was changed to meet the demand of the people of Canada.

Deregulation opened up the transportation market being a major change for the industry in the late 1980’s and some will argue it was good or bad depending on the person you talk with. To that point companies had to buy licenses and permits to operate even in a local area and much of that was removed with deregulation. In todays market if you can buy a truck with authorization you are set to go. In older days carriers built relationships with the shippers and bought trips permits based on those travel lanes and relationships.

If you would like to see a timeline video for the industry have a look at the video below by the Ontario Trucking Association on the timeline of the industry.

Today the industry is becoming a technology advanced industry affecting everything from drivers to equipment. Safety is now at the forefront and security of freight has become more prominent as our World shrinks in a global market. Although we have developed the industry to be one of the most important industries in Canada responsible for supplying goods and services for Canadians across the Country we are still struggling with old images and a traditional mindset that is not attractive to new generations. It will be interesting to see where the industry goes in the future and I look forward to being part of the industry for a long time and doing my part in a small way to hopefully make it better.

On behalf of myself and the Truck Training Schools Association of Ontario I would like to wish all Canadians a Happy Canada Day. Think about all of those in the trucking industry that has helped make Canada a great place to live.

Canada waving flag
Canada waving flag

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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