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How to Promote Trucking as a Profession?

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What is the number one problem I hear from fleets when I ask them about their top concerns? It is not ELDs or hours of service. It is not even the high cost of maintenance, especially emissions, although that is a close second.

According to the American Trucking Associations, fleets want to know how to help attract and employ drivers.

One of the frequently asked questions is how to make trucking more attractive and desirable profession.

A type of solution of this could be ongoing training. It is a vital element of advancement in most professions. However, truckers view training as punishment, according to Mark Murrell and Jane Jazrawy, the owners and operators of CarriersEdge, which provides learning and development for the trucking industry.

The issue is that traditionally, truckers “only got trained if they did something wrong, “Murrell said the Society for Human Resource Management. “Have people understand that training is about learning, is a really big change” for this industry.

Obviously, the nature of the driver’s job makes training a bit of a logistical horror. It is hard for fleets to get drivers in for classroom training or for just meetings, so they may do it only when they absolutely must — which means outside of orientation. Thus, the feeling for drivers that the only reason for training is when they’ve done something wrong.

Murrell and Jazrawy came to the trucking industry in 2005 with experience in creating these kinds of training programs for companies such as Home Depot and Ford, and they saw a huge chance.

“People looked at us like we were crazy,” Murrell explained. “People claimed that drivers couldn’t use computers, that online training wouldn’t work, and a variety of other silly things. Now, 10 years later, trucking has accepted that Internet – based training can help, while the rest of the eLearning industry has moved to game – based learning.”

“Yet only a small percentage of fleets are taking advantage of online training,” he said.

Murrell contends that trucking, in general, is willing to spend a lot less on training than other industries. “Fleets will spend a lot on hardware that claims to improve safety, but they’re reluctant to invest in building their people. Compare trucking with manufacturing, mining, construction, and other industries, and you can see a huge gap in training investment.”

CarriersEdge offers online modules that drivers can access anytime, any place, even if that happens to be late at night or miles away from their homes.

CarriersEdge has built a library of more than 70 full – length and refresher courses, covering topics from the safe securing of cargo to hours – of – service directions.

“You don’t just throw training at someone in isolation. You must provide that training in a bigger context”, said Jezrawy.

For instance, she said, CarriersEdge training on fuel efficiency teaches drivers why they are doing it and how to do it well.

“We find it is not all about just training people and saying that he must do this and that, but having a constant conversation with people and encourage them to keep it changed.”

Whichever company you may choose, if you are looking for the best ways to build a safer, more engaged, more productive, more satisfied professional driver workforce, a good look at your training efforts is a must.

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