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Private Links: CTHRC Research Benefits Us All

Private and for-hire fleet operators have identified human resource issues as being among the most serious concerns that they face. In the Canadian Trucking Human Resources Council (CTHRC), major indu...



Private and for-hire fleet operators have identified human resource issues as being among the most serious concerns that they face. In the Canadian Trucking Human Resources Council (CTHRC), major industry stakeholders have found a constructive forum to deal with these issues to the benefit of all.

CTHRC has completed a host of important initiatives with many more under way; all aimed at human resources issues in the trucking industry. CTHRC is a sector council funded by Human Resources Development Canada and sales of its own products and services.

CTHRC is best known for the development of the entry level driver training curriculum entitled “Earning Your Wheels,” and the accreditation of schools across the country that use the curriculum. But CTHRC has much more to offer the industry.

“Our products are the result of consultation with industry experts – people who actually work in the field,” points out Linda Gauthier, executive director of CTHRC. “We draw on the experience of industry volunteers for our steering committees and working groups for every new project, and that approach has lead to the development of practical, industry specific products.”

One such CTHRC product is the popular “Skills Upgrading” program that allows experienced drivers to select from 10 modules, including “Defensive Driving,” “Time Management,” “Customer Relations,” “Skid Control” and others that serve as refreshers for professionals.

Others include occupational profiles for drivers, dispatchers, driver trainers and safety professionals, all valuable tools for developing position descriptions and conducting interviews that will help companies hire the right person for any of these positions. And hiring the right person the first time saves an enormous amount of time and money.

In step with today’s demands for online training CTHRC has developed programs for dispatchers, and an owner/operator business skills course that can be completed anywhere the learner has access to the Internet.

But I don’t want to simply list CTHRC programs here. You can find out all you need to know about the ones that interest you by contacting the CTHRC directly (613-244-4800) or by visiting the council’s Web site (www.cthrc.com)

More recently, CTHRC has embarked on an important series of research initiatives to develop information that will help the industry to better understand the issues that we face, why we face them, and perhaps how we might deal with them more effectively.

This type of research is long overdue for the trucking industry, a sector that has traditionally operated on instinct and experience. For the first time we are beginning to gather statistically sound information on which to base our decisions.

For example, the industry “guesstimates” that the shortage of qualified drivers numbers about 50,000 – and the definitions of “qualified” are as subjective as you want them to be. But CTHRC is the first to undertake a research based approach to this issue and has published the results of its work under the heading “Canada’s Driving Force.”

This series of the report includes a profile of the current shortage of qualified drivers and a projection of the expected demand over the next three to five years. Fully 80 per cent of informed respondents expect the problem to worsen, opinions that give real purpose to this type of research.

“Canada’s Driving Force” also contains a profile of unemployed drivers, examining the question of why we have drivers collecting EI benefits when the demand for their skills is so high. Some 61,000 drivers collected EI benefits at some point during 2001; this in an industry that estimates it has a shortfall of 50,000.

The report also identified that for commercial truck drivers there is a high seasonal component to being unemployed. Industries such as agriculture, fishing, logging and construction are particularly seasonal in nature. So, perhaps after all, there are not as many “unemployed truck drivers” as we thought.

The report identifies why drivers quit and why drivers are laid off, two different perspectives of the same issue, and the numbers are revealing. Forty-five per cent of drivers who said they quit their job said they wanted better pay, while employers said that 41 per cent of drivers who were laid off simply were not qualified. This may confirm that driver training and driver pay are both significant issues in trucking. The entire CTHRC research project covers a host of human resource related topics, and as the results become available they could force a re-thinking of traditional, inherent knowledge. New thinking that will lead the industry for years to come.

-The Private Motor Truck Council of Canada is the only national association dedicated to the private trucking community. This column presents opinions on trucking issues from the perspective of private carriers. Your comments are invited and can be addressed to trucks@pmtc.ca


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