“Invisible industry” needs to better promote its opportunities: Norm Blagden

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WINNIPEG, Man. — Trucking is an industry large enough and diverse enough to accommodate the interests and skill sets of virtually everyone. However, because it also happens to be “invisible” , those outside of trucking are left unaware of the opportunities within the industry, according to outgoing Manitoba Trucking Association president Norm Blagden.

“No matter where an individual’s strengths lie, there is opportunity in our industry. However, we now see that we, as an industry group, must go out and tell people of these opportunities. As that ‘invisible industry’, those outside of trucking are unaware of what they can achieve with us…Generally speaking, members of the public don’t often take a moment to consider how various products – computers, printer paper, and coffee in the lunch room – actually make it to those various spots,” Bladgen said in his President’s Report, presented at today’s annual general meeting of the MTA.

Blagden points out the MTA’s Careers Committee is involved in several efforts on this front. It has forged stronger ties with a number of organizations, including Apprenticeship Manitoba, the Canadian military, and other recruitment organizations, such as the Winnipeg Transition Centre.

“All of these organizations have people looking for jobs but until we started to promote the trucking industry, most of them were unaware of the opportunities available in our industry,” Blagden notes.

The MTA is also calling for mandatory minimum training for commercial drivers in the province. It is looking to have the existing national occupational standard reviewed and confirmed by the province.

Blagden also points out that with the help of Manitoba Public Insurance, the Entry Level Professional Truck Driver Training program is flourishing. Last year almost 100 funded participants were part of the program.

“That is almost 100 well trained, qualified drivers joining our fleets to keep freight moving. We continue to see interest in this program not only in urban areas but also from rural parts of the province, which is a target audience we plan to pursue,” Blagden says.

Blagden warned that the driver shortage is going to heat up as the industry taps into the same labor pools as does construction and manufacturing.

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