Closing the gap

by Derek Clouthier

CALGARY, Alta. — Despite increased efforts in the last few years, the number of women and visible minorities working in the trucking industry remains low.

The Alberta Motor Transport Association (AMTA) and Trucking HR Canada are looking to change this with a collaborative effort called Bridging the Gap in Alberta’s Trucking and Logistics Labor Market.

Launched in Alberta, AMTA president Lorraine Card said the project aims to address workforce gaps by offering support to employers to better reach out to under-represented groups, including Indigenous Peoples, those with disabilities, visible minorities, and women.

The effort also helps educate both individuals and organizations that work with under-represented groups on a number of career options that exist in the trucking industry.

As part of the Bridging the Gap initiative, the AMTA will host workshops in Calgary, Edmonton, and Grande Prairie with a target of including 50 employers in each event.

“These employer-focused HR workshops will provide trucking and logistics employers with best practices in recruiting and retaining individuals from diverse backgrounds specific to the industry,” said Card. “Throughout the workshops, there will be a shared insight into Alberta’s reality.”

And Alberta’s reality mirrors that of the entire country.

Women make up approximately 3% of commercial drivers in the industry and 27% of the overall transport and logistics workforce in Canada, which includes air and rail. Of the number of women employed in the industry, 18% are senior managers, 15% supervisors, and 3% are engineers or technicians.

In addition to its collaboration with Trucking HR Canada, the AMTA has also partnered with Women Building Futures to help recruit women into its Class 1 driver training program.

This past November, 12 women graduated from the first Women Building Futures Class 1 program, with many gaining employment with Westcan Bulk Transport or Caron Transport, which sponsored program participants.

Card said a number of other AMTA member companies have inquired with Women Building Futures about sponsoring its next Class 1 training program.

For the Bridging the Gap project, Trucking HR Canada will be developing content material and sharing best practices with the AMTA and provincial carriers.

“Together we will be attending the stakeholder engagement sessions, develop career awareness material, and develop and bring tools to carriers to implement within their workplace,” said Card. “While the effort is to bring awareness to the overall labor workforce issue, there will be a dedicated effort focusing on under-represented groups; Indigenous Peoples, people with disabilities, women, and visible minorities.”

Isabelle Hetu, director of programs and services for Trucking HR Canada, said the project will provide support to Alberta carriers.

“Trucking HR Canada is thrilled to partner with the AMTA on this HR initiative that will support Alberta trucking and logistics employers in recruiting and retaining more qualified workers in all occupations,” Hetu said.

Ultimately, the Bridging the Gap project will focus on providing Alberta carriers with the necessary tools needed to recruit and retain all their workers, while offering resources and practical first steps to help reduce any gaps companies may have in their workforce.

Some of these tools will include a recruitment checklist, employer connector guide, transportation career guide, and a career awareness video that will highlight the Alberta trucking and logistics industry and the opportunities it offers.

“The career materials will highlight all careers in the industry to be used by employers to recruit,” Card explained. “The career awareness missions will provide organizations serving individuals from under-represented groups with more information on the multiple career opportunities that the industry has to offer.”

The project will officially commence in January and run for a period of 18 months. Dates for the three workshops will be established during the first couple of weeks, with registration opening thereafter.

AMTA members looking to participate in the Bridging the Gap project can attend the workshops and share information about their current practices in recruiting and retaining individuals from diverse backgrounds specific to the industry.

“The AMTA is looking forward to working with Trucking HR Canada on the Bridging the Gap initiative,” said Card, “and providing our members with professionally developed tools that are geared for recruitment and retention in Alberta.”

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