A well-run apprenticeship program can be an excellent way to replace your aging fleet with loyal young drivers whose skills you know you can trust.
David May, a driver-sales representative for Con-way Freight, is a well-known industry advocate and ambassador. He’s written a heartfelt piece that looks back at his past—and ahead to trucking’s future. Here are the highlights:
After graduating high school in 1976 I was living in an old steel/manufacturing town where there were few employment possibilities. The only things at that time that interested me were truck driving and serving in the military. If I entered the military, they would train me to drive a truck, and when my enlistment was up I would be 21. So that’s the course I took, serving my country and being a truck driver in the military.
How to Attract the Next Generation.
I have been a professional truck driver for 28 years now, and increasingly I ask myself: How do we attract the next generation to the trucking industry? Simple. Take a page out of the past, invite them to join as an “apprentice”—where they can learn and experience the profession through paid, on-the-job training.
How to Structure Your Apprenticeship Program.
At Con-Way, apprentice drivers are offered a part-time 20 hour week working on the dock to provide them with income. The other 20 hours will be spent learning the industry’s rules, safety regulations and how to drive a truck—at no cost. When the candidate successfully completes the program, they’ll be offered the opportunity for promotion to full-fledged Con-way Driver.
Additional Benefits: Producing Well-Trained, CSA Compliant Drivers.
This program is designed to do much more than fill the seats of Con-way Freight’s trucks. When the student completes the program, not only will they have their Commercial Drivers License (CDL), they will have learned how to be CSA 2010 compliant. They’ll be among the best trained, safest and most knowledgeable drivers in the industry.
Click on the following link to read the original article, “A Driver’s Story – Encouraging the Next Generation”, in its entirety.
Too Expensive For You?
Maybe you’ve decided that developing an in-house apprenticeship program is too costly. You could ask your local trucking school if they’d be interested in co-sponsoring a program with your company.
That might be a reasonable option, as long as you have an agreement protecting your investment. Here’s one idea: If a quality graduate from the program declines your offer and accepts a comparable offer with another company, maybe that individual would owe you the amount of money you invested in subsidizing his or her tuition. Here’s a better idea: Get suggestions from the fine folks in your legal department!