Exploring trucking jobs: It’s not just about the driving

With a new year just around the corner, many people have begun thinking about their next steps. This could mean thinking about family, making travel plans or examining new career paths. When thinking about a career, a lot of Canadians overlook the trucking industry as an exciting and viable option.

There’s a misconception that the only position within the transportation and logistics industry is that of a driver. And while Canada is currently in need of experienced, hard-working drivers, the truth is there’s a long list of other rewarding and challenging careers in this sector. We look at the various trucking jobs people can explore within the transportation and logistics industry.

Trucking jobs: More than just driving

Many people don’t realize just how large the trucking industry is in Canada and how many dedicated professionals it takes to keep things running smoothly. Drivers may be the face of this profession, but there are a lot of people behind the scenes making operations possible. Generally there are 4 main career paths an individual interested in transportation and logistics can explore. They include driving, maintenance, cargo and operations. Within each of these categories, there are a number of positons that yield both earning and growth potential for employees.

 

Featured in the Trucking Human Resource Sector Council (THRSC) Atlantic video above is Kevin Dutchak, Risk Services Specialist for Northbridge Insurance. Kevin began his career in trucking as a courier driver. Since then, he’s held positions as a truck and tractor trailer driver, a dispatcher and a traffic superintendent managing his own fleet. He’s also worked in safety and compliance including time spent as a Regional Safety Manager. He’s been with Northbridge for over 10 years, and he’s also on the board of directors for THRSC Atlantic.

“The Trucking Human Resource Sector Council Atlantic is one of many organizations that provide resources on trucking, including education for prospective drivers, information on driving schools and support for specific groups of workers such as women and older workers looking to enter our industry,” Kevin explains.

A lot of individuals in the trucking industry move around to different areas rather than staying in one role. In a recent interview with Northbridge Insurance, Corporate Training Lead at the Seaboard Transport Group, Helen Thorpe, talked about her various experiences in trucking.

“When I was a driver, I got immense satisfaction from moving a product or piece of equipment professionally and efficiently. As a dispatcher, completing a load and having both a happy driver and a satisfied customer is a real accomplishment. In my Safety and Training roles, imparting my experience and knowledge to a fleet of drivers and support staff is challenging. I like that I get the opportunity to wear many hats at the same time!”

Driving careers

Imagine a career that would pay you to travel across North America. That’s what truck driving provides. One professional driver, who has driven over 5 million kilometres in his career, told the Globe and Mail that it’s easier to name the places in North America he hasn’t seen than the ones he has. If this sounds like something you’d like, you may want to explore domestic and international long-haul driving. If seeing more of the continent isn’t of interest to you, there are a number of trucking roles that keep you close to home, such as local pick-up and delivery driving or short-haul driving.

Maintenance careers

Like any piece of machinery, trucks require maintenance, care and upkeep to ensure the safety of the driver and those around them. The maintenance team for any trucking company plays a crucial role in getting drivers from coast to coast safely and ensuring deliveries are made on time. If you enjoy working with your hands and are fascinated by how things work, this might be the perfect industry to explore. Kevin says, “Trucking companies are always eager to find talented mechanics to work on their equipment.” And it isn’t just mechanics—skilled technicians and welders are also crucial to the process.

Cargo careers

Drivers need support on all fronts including the loading and handling of the cargo they’ve been entrusted to deliver. It may not sound exciting, but the behind-the-scenes cargo teams make the trucking industry successful. It can be a rewarding career to know you’re a vital part of ensuring individuals and families across Canada are getting the goods and products they need. Licensed forklift operators and shunt drivers are often in demand for this particular sector of the industry.

Operations and support careers

Trucking companies operate similar to others in that there are many pieces to the puzzle. The operations and support staff help to manage and coordinate projects and employees to ensure things run smoothly. The variety of the jobs in this particular area might surprise you.

“Are you interested in information technology? Trucking companies are in need of these professionals to automate their dispatch and billing systems, manage their maintenance as well as track both the trucks and drivers through the use of GPS and sensors that can detect risky maneuvers like sudden stops,” Kevin explains. There are also opportunities in human resources, administration, customer services, sales, marketing, risk management, accounting and bookkeeping.

“My advice to anyone interested in the transportation and logistics industry is to do your research first. If you’re interested in truck driving, talk to the experts—other truck drivers that have experience in the industry. If truck driving is not something you see a future in, there are so many other careers the trucking industry has to offer,” Kevin continues. The THRSC is a great resource to learn more about each of these areas of employment.

Kevin has found each of his positions in trucking to be educational and rewarding, but he says his current role in Risk Services with Northbridge Insurance would be at the top of his list. “The rewards come when you see the light bulb come on with a client you’re working with—when they see the advantage of implementing sound risk management strategies that not only improve their mitigation of risk, but also provide the opportunity to meet other company objectives including profitability in a challenging industry. Nothing is more exhilarating than when you see a risk management initiative you had a hand in developing come to fruition and benefit the company the way it was intended to.”

Read more of our blog for more information on risk management and prevention. For further information on careers in trucking in Canada, visit THRSC, Trucking HR Canada, the Atlantic Provinces Trucking Association or the Ontario Trucking Association.

This blog is provided for information only and is not a substitute for professional advice. We make no representations or warranties regarding the accuracy or completeness of the information and will not be responsible for any loss arising out of reliance on the information.