Camille Pitt is senior human resources advisor for Groupe Guilbault, a large fleet headquartered in Quebec City. Guilbault being one of Trucking HR Canada’s (THRC) Top Fleet Employers, she takes a keen interest in the organization’s activities.
That’s how she found out about the Career ExpressWay initiative. “I saw that there was a wage subsidy that could apply to us,” Pitt says about the program that provides financial support for hiring people under the age of 30 into various positions in the trucking industry.
In Guilbault’s case, this program has helped recruit seven forklift operators and truck drivers. “For example, when we hired a forklift operator, the first $15,000 he received was reimbursed by Trucking HR Canada,” she explains.
One of the goals of the subsidy program is to improve the employment conditions of young workers. “It was either to help someone who was unemployed get back to work or to improve their salary conditions a little bit,” Pitt says, adding that the program was hassle-free to manage.
“Signing up was very, very easy. I filled out a form, talked to the people at THRC, they explained everything to me and I was enrolled. We were reimbursed every month; it was a very simple process.”
The fact that the wage subsidy program applies to all industry occupations, not just drivers, is very appropriate according to the human resources professional at Guilbault.
“There is a labour shortage in all trades,” she says, adding that when a candidate shows interest in a company, you have to be very proactive not to lose them. “When someone applies at 8:15 in the morning, if they’re called at 1:30 in the afternoon they’ve already been contacted by four or five companies. It goes really fast,” she says.
25-year old Davin Larin was hired as a truck driver through the THRC program. He now has a Class 1 driver’s license after successfully completing his training at the Charlesbourg CFTC training centre. After initially being paired with an experienced driver for training, he now does a lot of local deliveries to Guilbault customers near the Quebec City terminal.
David was exposed to the industry at a young age as his father, Benoit, has been a truck driver himself for 20 years. He even took him on a trip to Maine when he was a child.
Yet, being in the passenger seat or in professional training is no substitute for on-the-job experience, David admits, citing reversing maneuvers, which are common in local transportation. “You do a lot more backing up on the job than you did in school,” he says.
That’s the kind of thing Pitt is referring to when she talks about being patient with younger employees, and it pays big dividends, she says.
“We can really shape them to our corporate culture; they don’t have bad habits yet. Sometimes, it’s easier to train someone who is more junior than someone who has 25 years of experience at another company because there’s nothing to undo. You just have to build,” she says.
Given the opportunity, young people hired through the Career Express Way programs can also contribute to the evolution of their company. For example, it was David’s suggestion to the health and safety manager that a checklist for hazardous materials hauling be placed in the tablets used by drivers, a suggestion that was adopted and put into practice.
The young man envisions a career in the industry, as a truck driver or perhaps even a dispatcher. “If I can advance, I will,” he says of his eventual progression within the company.
Offering young people a career path is one of the benefits that Guilbault’s senior human resources advisor sees in THRC’s wage subsidy programs.
And not just for drivers. “Forklift operators can become team leaders and eventually foremen, or they can move into office positions,” says Pitt, giving the example of the route planner occupation.
Beyond the financial support, she says the Career ExpressWay program facilitates access to a pool of younger workers, a valuable asset in an industry with an ageing workforce.
“In terms of drivers and forklift operators, it’s really the next generation that we see. If we had to do without young people, we really wouldn’t have enough employees,” she says, noting that she also sees retention benefits in hiring young workers.
“Young people often learn and adapt more easily. They have a desire to do well and improve. They’re also often more loyal to their employer because they’ve been given their first chance, trained and everything. And they’re often more comfortable with technology,” Pitt observes.
When she looks at the industry around her, she notices that the Career ExpressWay programs have created a buzz. “It’s been a pretty popular grant,” Pitt says.
One thing is for sure, Groupe Guilbault plans to continue to take advantage of the programs offered through THRC’s Career ExpressWay. “We intend to do the wage subsidy program again to hire young workers. We’re definitely going to go ahead with this one,” says the human resources professional.
Especially that “Hiring young people with little or no experience requires the cooperation of co-workers, trainers and supervisors,” Pitt says about the sense of belonging being reinforced through team work.
That’s one of the goals of Trucking HR Canada’s Career ExpressWay programs.