Sarah Peterson and Jassemine Cornejo have a lot in common. They’re almost the same age – 29 and 28 – they are both enrolled in the Supply Chain and Logistics program at the Moncton Eastern College and are currently employed full-time at Armour Transportation Systems.
“Armour’s need to attract diverse, young talent can be challenging,” says Lauren Dunn, the fleet’s marketing, and communications manager, adding that the Trucking HR Canada program supports companies who hire students with an interest in the transportation sector as their desired career path.
Trucking HR Canada’s Career ExpressWay program gave Armour the opportunity to bring in two driven students to gain opportunity for real world work experience, directly related to their program of study in the logistics sector.
The fact that the 16-week placements are subsidized is also a win-win situation. “Out of 26 students in my class, only two of us actually have a paid internship,” notes Peterson.
“Armour was my first go-to right from day one, so I was actually really excited when I was given the opportunity to come here.” For Peterson, this opportunity goes beyond her paid placement and is directly connected to her long term career goals.
One of the keys to retention is career advancement opportunities; and that appeals to Cornejo who’s convinced she’s exactly where she belongs. “I want to build a good career in the industry and most especially that I’m now exposed to the real world of supply chain,” says the current long haul multi-mode dispatcher who aspires to an eventual management position.
This match with Cornejo, whose long term goals align perfect with Armour’s philosophy. “We want them to stay with us and build life-long careers. A lot of our leadership right now started in entry-level positions, which is exciting to see,” Dunn says.
Working with the Trucking HR Canada subsidy program was a seamless process. “Trucking HR Canada provided clear documentation and a user guide so that our Human Resources team could share the information with our department leads and managers. Trucking HR Canada was available virtually and by phone to answer questions making it very easy for us to apply,” Dunn comments.
Learning from each other
For everyone involved, this is just the beginning. For instance, Cornejo is getting more familiar every day with the industry jargon in her communications with the drivers. “It’s the real world, the real experience. In books, you would have a scenario [of an issue] that you need to solve; unlike when you’re in the real industry. You, yourself would be able to solve the problem.”
That “reality check” is also beneficial to the hiring fleet. “Trainees learn in real work environments, and employers get first-hand knowledge of how the trainee will fit in our operations,” Dunn summarizes.
From Peterson’s perspective, Armour and the trucking industry itself is a good fit and had been for years. “Growing up, my dad was a truck driver and he did long haul to the States and I remember going on trips with him and I absolutely loved it,” she remembers. “So when I wanted to go back to school and progress my career, supply chain and logistics just seemed like a natural fit for me.”
Working with the safety and compliance team, Peterson deals with drivers from the moment they’re hired. “For the driver orientation, I helped create a new review sheet for them so when they’re done with their course, they can review the course material that they have just done,” she describes as an example of a special project she was involved in. She also managed to find a way to order and obtain driver abstracts in a matter of hours where it used to take up to four weeks.
“When we answer their questions and listen to their ideas, the opportunities for innovation are endless,” Dunn says about young workers’ creativity.
These young workers are highly motivated and dedicated as well. “There’s no work that is too small; there’s no work that is too big for you not to focus your effort, focus on whatever you do. Even in small things we try to be extraordinary; you want to exceed their expectations,” Cornejo says, referring to her employer.
Armour is happy with the outcomes after hiring local students and working with THRC. “We’ve had great success with Trucking HR’s programs; it has had a positive impact on our organization, it’s great for the communities we work within, and presents great opportunities for recruitment,” Dunn concludes.