Through Trucking HR Canada’s Career ExpressWay Student Work Placement Program, Light Speed Logistics hired their very first co-op student. Taking advantage of a $7,500 wage subsidy – Light Speed was able to bring on an enthusiastic student, Aman Minhas, to help manage a new driver mentorship program, and Aman was given a career-defining opportunity to gain work experience within the trucking and logistics industry.
According to Rob Aronson, Programs Lead at Light Speed Logistics in Calgary, building resiliency in difficult times is the ability to focus on efficient operations and economic strategy wherever possible, including in the recruitment and hiring process.
“Subsidies and grants go a long way,” he says about the financial support the fleet obtained from Trucking HR Canada through the Career ExpressWay program that subsidizes work placements for students.
“The new generation tends to be more entrepreneurial and innovative, so they bring that mindset which is needed for a growing company. Young people can add a lot with how they think and how they work,” Aronson says.
When the employer is willing to listen to young workers and provide them with room to grow, even with little to no experience in the sector, students can positively impact the teams they work with.
Minhas says he found just that type of open-minded spirit at Light Speed. “They’ll actually take feedback into consideration and make changes for the better of the program,” he says about the opinions he expresses.
He’s referring to a mentorship program that the fleet recently introduced, pairing new drivers with seasoned mentors in driving teams.
Monitoring 20 driver teams
Working in the safety and compliance department, Minhas’ job is to monitor about 20 of those teams daily, gathering data to help the newer drivers improve. For example, he monitors telematics portals to ensure that safety compliance is upheld. Through this compliance diligence, there is acute attention to important safety areas including speeding, hard braking and hours of service.
Then he will issue recommendations or, if necessary, warnings to the drivers. A task that is not always easy at 22 years old. “There have been cases where these guys don’t take me seriously. They kind of see me like the kid,” Minhas says.
He is overcoming that challenge by taking the time to form relationships with the drivers, in a courteous atmosphere. “When I’m talking to the drivers, I’m trying to be as respectful as I can be.”
Minhas also has a couple of aces up his sleeve. He’s Canadian and grew up in Calgary, in an East Indian family — a background many drivers at Light Speed also share. This often helps with communications, although the young man humbly admits that his Punjabi is not as strong as his English.
He also grew up surrounded by people working in the transportation industry – one of his uncles actually drives for Light Speed – which gave him a good understanding of how the industry works.
But he’s still learning every day. “Although I’ve been around transportation my whole life, never in a million years did I think that there would be so many rules and regulations that are in place in the logistics industry,” he says.
At the same time, barriers to overcome are part of what he appreciates most in his work placement. “There are always new challenges to solve on a daily basis,” Minhas says.
As an employer, Aronson certainly appreciates such a positive attitude. “I am impressed by his enthusiasm and how he’s really rolled up his sleeves. He’s taking it more than seriously,” he says about Minhas.
And that opinion is apparently shared within Light Speed’s team of directors. “I think there’s that feeling of accomplishment with management, knowing that there’s this osmosis happening where all this information gets absorbed by the new generation coming into the company,” Aronson adds.
Light Speed decided to repeat the work placement experience. “With the incredible experience we had with Trucking HR Canada so far, we definitely know that we’re going to find every opportunity to continue in this direction and try to maximize opportunities to bring in more young people in different departments across the company,” Aronson says.
Experiences such as this one, which benefits both the employer and the student worker is the ultimate goal of the THRC’s Student Work Placement Program.