OTA hopes new strategy will drive students to industry

A new promotional video released by the Ontario Trucking Association and the HRDC hopes to target graduating students as they leave school ready to embark on a new career.

The new strategy, an 11-part video series named Career Highways, is the latest effort by the Ontario trucking community to fill the 50,000-driver shortage that the Canadian trucking industry is facing.

The OTA will distribute a sample video to Ontario high schools and offer the rest of the series, which focuses on industry job opportunities and includes a music video to dispel some of the negative myths about the industry, to any school that requests it. As also part of the strategy, local trucking companies will invite students to take a tour of their operation and check out the inside of one of today’s high tech transport trucks and a modern trucking operation.

OTA human resources and labour issues manager Betsy Sharples says the hope is to also educate teachers and guidance councillors in the school system on the realities of trucking.

“One thing we have noticed through focus groups and other things is that, it’s not that the teachers don’t want to speak highly of the trucking industry, it’s that they don’t know very much about it,” she said at yesterday’s launching of the series. “This sort of kills two birds with one stone. It educates them and allows them to provide the awareness to their own students also.”

Ashleith MacArthur, a high school student in Brampton, says attracting young women to some of the more computer-oriented aspects of the industry is an entirely different goal that should be addressed.

“I would say that it can be discouraging for some women,” said MacArthur, who admits many of her peers are deterred by negative industry stereotypes. “It’s an industry aimed at men, but I think women can be truckers too. I myself am more interested in the technology of it.”

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