Techs for tomorrow

by Brandi Cramer

DON MILLS, Ont. – When it comes down to retaining the services of future technicians to keep truck shops staffed, the future is looking bleak.

With approximately 35 per cent of the workforce retiring over the next 10 years, the goal of securing future workers has hit an all time high. The industry is not without suggestions to help overcome this pending crisis, mind you.

The Co-op education Industry Technical Studies Initiatives (CITI) Motive Power Program offered under the Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program is one of the pre-technician programs targeting students while they are still on the high school rolls.

“This is a relatively new initiative, it’s being going on for approximately three or four years. Students in grades 12 and 13 can opt to take the program,” says Sean Bennett, Coordinator for the Freightliner Programs School of Transportation at Centennial College. “At this moment in time it’s only being run in Centennial College but there is a lot of talk of extending this so that it can be done in some of the high schools that have tech specialties.”

Bennett believes one of the difficulties in retaining a new generation of workers is, despite the fact trucks are managed by some of the most complex and sophisticated cybernetic systems out there, the actual truck shops are very old fashioned.

The culture, he says, is in conflict with what a lot of young people see as being a nice workplace in these days.

“Parents don’t want their sons becoming grease monkeys,” says Glenn Tristram, a fleet supervisor for the City of Brampton.

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