Article written by: Bruce Cameron
If wanting to put wheels under a well-paying career within in a relatively short time, get in touch with Crossroads Truck Training Academy in Barrie. “Right now, North America-wide, an estimated 200,000 drivers are needed,” said Desmond Hearn, V.P. Of Operations for the company.
In Canada, he noted, that within four to five years we will need 30,000 to 40,000 drivers.
Why the shortage? Mostly it’s a case of attrition. As Hearn explained, the average age of commercial drivers is pushing 50 right now. Many of these employees are approaching the end of their particular career and currently aren’t being replaced quickly enough by younger men and women wanting to get behind the wheel.
Hearn, who used to drive tractor trailers and has been in the industry for the last 35 years, has been at Crossroads for close to three years.
Looking down the road, he sees massive potential – especially for those interested in becoming a commercial driver. Trucking is a vital industry,” said Hearn. “So many businesses now are structured for ‘just-in-time delivery.’ If we were to shut down the trucking industry for 48 hours, the shelves would empty very quickly; so much depends on delivery by truck.”
“ In light of the ‘just-in-time’ approach; trucking companies are very keen on keeping their trucks moving. So team drivers are in big demand, that is why companies embrace husband and wife teams. As a result the industry has become more accommodating for female drivers. Female drivers represent an untapped workforce that trucking companies recognize as valued potential drivers,” said Hearn.
As for Crossroads’ tractor trailer training, after completing a 6 week course spanning 200 hours including classroom sessions, computer training, yard time, and time behind the wheel – employment opportunities await. “Once you get out on your own, you can easily earn $50 to $70 thousand within a year and a half. There are more openings in long-haul routes which makes it easier to get in the industry.”
Indeed, Crossroads Truck Training Academy is best known for all comprehensive commercial drivers training. Crossroads has also recognized the need for RV training and is networking with The Hitch House Motorhome Specialists and Bella Vista RV Centre to provide training to their customers.
Crossroads offer a two-day air brake course covering both written and practical that is carried out with on-site Crossroads’ MTO-Approved Examiners.
The company is part of the Truck Training Schools Association of Ontario and is a Registered Private Career College under the Private Career Colleges Act, 2005.
As far as credibility goes, Hearn wouldn’t have it any other way. He said there are many non-accredited truck driving training facilities in the province that do not meet the same standards as Crossroads.
“Most of these schools are cheaper to register with,” he began, “but Crossroads is far more comprehensive. Hearn has had many non-accredited truck driving training centre graduates come to him and register at Crossroads for the proper training and instruction.
Crossroads works directly with the biggest names in the trucking industry looking for new entry level drivers.
The welcome news, Hearn said, is that the Ontario government is acting on the discrepancy in industry training standards and new legislation will change to raise those very standards. “This is exciting news for the industry,” said Hearn.
Last but not least Hearn expressed his gratitude, “Crossroads would like to thank residents for their patience with our student drivers.”