ETOBICOKE, Ont. – In an effort to get more women into the trucking industry for good, Margaret Hogg, general manager of J.G. Drapeau, a family business that hauls mostly hazardous materials, invited students of MicroSkills’ Women in Transportation Program to tour the company’s terminal on March 11.
The day’s purpose was two-fold, according to Hogg.
Margaret Hogg with Humber College truck driving student
The first was to give the women a first-hand look into the everyday job duties of a typical commercial driver.
“I want to really show them what they can expect when they say they want to be a driver,” Hogg said. “And I want them to know how much safety goes into the job.”
During the visit to the terminal the students were shown what exactly is required during a pre-trip. They got to climb up into the truck and look around the office and observe other jobs within the industry, like dispatch.
The second purpose of the day was a chance for Hogg to practice her mentoring skills.
“I had mentors when I first started in the industry and now I want to be the mentor,” she said. “I know we’re not a large carrier and we’re very family-oriented but I want to be there for them and support them and let them know that being a woman, they have just as much skill as a man does. I want to let them know it’s a good industry to work in.”
The Women in Transportation Program is in partnership with Humber College, OTTA and Rexdale Women’s Centre. Students spend 10 weeks in the MicroSkills classroom where they learn essential skills like trip planning and map reading, and 7 weeks at the Humber College Transportation Centre.
J.G. Drapeau currently employs just one female driver but Hogg says they are actively looking to recruit more.
Sonia Straface is the assistant editor of Truck News and Truck West magazines. She graduated from Ryerson University's journalism program in 2013 and enjoys writing about health and wellness and HR issues surrounding the transportation industry. Follow her on Twitter: @SoniaStraface. All posts by Sonia Straface