Lloydminster has the particularity of straddling between Alberta and Saskatchewan. You literally can change provinces by crossing a street.
So it’s no surprise that Ron Kelly has been looking at both provinces’ programs to find subsidies to train two existing employees so they could get their Class 1 licence and perform broader functions at Border City Concrete (BCC), the excavation, aggregate and concrete delivery company he manages there.
In the end, he found the solution through Trucking HR Canada’s Career ExpressWay program, which offers up to $10,000 per person to get their Class 1 licence training.
“With the federal program, it was only one party and I could do multiple things with it,” Kelly says.
The first employee who obtained the professional driver training was an equipment operator. Now that he has his Class 1, he doesn’t need a colleague to move his equipment around anymore and he can also haul gravel. “It opened up a lot of opportunities for him,” Kelly says.
The other had a Class 3 licence before the Career ExpressWay experience, which allowed him to do some trucking jobs. “But he was missing out on a lot of the long hauls and the bigger jobs because he didn’t have his Class 1,” Kelly notes.
“These are individuals who couldn’t afford it on their own. Having the subsidy really helped have these two individuals more engaged within the company and for the company to be more successful, for sure,” he says, underlining that Trucking HR Canada’s subsidies covered 100% of the training fees.
Kelly mentioned that Career ExpressWay has allowed him to do “multiple things”, referring to the fact that, in addition to the two drivers’ training, he hired an apprentice mechanic by using the Employer Wage Support for Youth program, which paid the first $10,000 of the young man’s wages.
“Times are a little different right now than they were maybe five or six years ago. Everyone’s watching their pennies and their cents. So hire a new guy and train him for a brand new role and get some help right off the bat to get him going until they can do more work on their own is really nice,” Kelly says about Trucking HR Canada’s financial support.
And managing the program was pretty simple for BCC. “Dealing with Trucking HR Canada I found was very easy; they responded quickly and they are courteous. They helped me through things when I had questions and we got things done pretty quick,” Kelly says.
Young and willing to work
20 year-old Nicholas Wenger is the apprentice mechanic BCC hired for its Paradise Hill (SK) Hardy Services division. Nicholas’ dad, Leon, has been a truck driver for as long as he can remember, so he was exposed to trucking at an early age.
Yet, his real passion is mechanics and there’s plenty for him to do at BCC since construction applications can be hard on trucks and heavy machinery. He enjoys the variety of tasks he’s performing. “They’re really good in getting me to all sorts of jobs and getting me familiar with as many things as possible,” Wenger says about his employer.
Wenger is eager to make a career in the trucking and logistics sector. “I’m really enjoying it so far. I can see myself going along this route for years to come, for sure,” he says.
That’s certainly music to Kelly’s ears. “Getting the additional new hire wage support subsidy helps to offset some of the training costs. It gives us the opportunity to hire local, to hire someone who’s young, keen, willing to work, willing to learn and to grow within our company,” he says.
Kelly adds that he’s pleased by young workers on different aspects, including their ease with technology. “Things are getting to be more digital and that helps out through the company when you start to use more application programs for safety, pre-trips or time sheets. It’s nice to have that younger workforce to guide some of the more senior guys,” he says, insisting on the importance of building partnerships with young workers.
Not only would Kelly repeat the Career ExpressWay experience, he’s spreading the word about it to other companies. “I’ve recommended it because I thought it was a good way to get younger involvement and to help companies with some of their staffing shortages. It’s a great program,” he concludes.
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