Bob Whitesell with his daughter Patricia Whitesell
MISSISSAUGA, Ont. – Bob Whitesell was at the Road Today-Truck News Jobs Expo in Mississauga, Ont., on Saturday, looking for “unique drivers”.
His company, Robsan Transportation Inc., based in Hamilton, Ont., works in the nuclear industry, transporting used material such as clothing, pumps and motors to a decontamination center for recycling. The items are then returned to the original location.
Whitesell said it is very hard to find drivers who are highly specialized in such jobs.
“Because we’re nuclear, we have a very high standard for drivers. It is not the typical drivers’ job.”
Whitesell also said he and his daughter, Patricia Whitesell, the vice-president of the company, had gone to another job fair recently, but the turnout was very low.
“We wanted to see what is the turnout here to decide whether it is worth having a booth here,” Whitesell said, adding that the show was better.
Officer Tyrone Greenidge
In fact, the fall edition of Jobs Expo was a runaway success, its organizers said. The show attracted hundreds of job seekers and scores of recruiters looking to hire “all kinds of people.”
There were drivers with decades of experience looking for new challenges, newly minted MELT graduates and even aspiring truckers still trying to get their AZ license.
Representatives from Ontario’s Ministry of Transportation as well as Trucking HR Canada also participated.
“We’re looking for (transportation enforcement) officers like myself, and mechanics,” said Officer Tyrone Greenidge of MTO Halton, Ont.
While mechanics need a license to apply, there are no preconditions for applying for the officer’s role, Greenidge said.
Among the new MELT graduates itching to enter the trucking industry is 24-year-old Davinder Pandher.
She has a bachelor’s degree in psychology and music as well as a diploma in events management, but she wants to be a trucker.
“It is my choice,” she said looking at her father, who nodded in agreement.
Pandher said a couple of recruiters she approached told her they were only hiring experienced drivers.
Other recruiters, however, told Truck News that the lack of experience is not a problem as their companies provide several weeks of intensive training.
“We will hire newly licensed drivers. We will. Absolutely,” said Tim Downton, recruiting manager at The Rosedale Group.
Kari Ranonis of Arnold Bros. Transport of Milton, Ont., agreed.
“We’re hiring new drivers… I know quite a few carriers in this aisle alone are hiring new drivers.”
Twenty-five-year-old Michael Bryenton came from British Columbia in search of a longhaul position that will “keep him going”.
He has been driving for just six months, but Bryenton said he has had some positive responses from exhibitors at the show.
Recruiter Isaac Owusu of Rush Truck Centres of Canada said it has been a pretty good day with a large number of people enquiring about jobs.
He said he was accepting applications for a variety of roles, not just for the position of drivers.
The North American trucking industry is reeling under a severe shortage of drivers. In Canada, the sector is estimated to face a deficit of close to 50,000 drivers by the end of 2024.
In the U.S., driver shortage rose to 60,800 last year, up nearly 20% from 50,700 in 2017, according to the American Trucking Associations.
The group has warned that the shortage could hit 100,000 in five years and 160,000 by 2028.
The Jobs Expo was organized by Newcom South Asian Media Co., a division of Newcom Media, the publisher of Truck News.