A new campaign wants to draw more women to a career in trucking. It’s hoping to change current numbers, where 97 per cent of professional truck drivers are men.
Katrina Mapplebeck and her fiancée Alison Theriault drive a big rig. They take turns at the wheel.
“My dad was a truck driver so I kind of had it in my blood, I guess,” Mapplebeck said.
'We need to bring women into more skilled trade to meet Canada's demand' - Scott Armstrong, MP
“I wish I had done this when I was 18. I'm glad I went to university; it was an experience. I won't say it wasn't worth my time, but it definitely wasn't worth the cost,” said Theriault.
“This was something I wanted to do when I was young and I wish I had done it right then.”
“It is really a great opportunity when you're young. You get to see Canada and the U.S. You get to go all kinds of places, riding down the highway,” said Mapplebeck.
The Trucking Human Resource Sector Council Atlantic says they're going to need 30,000 more workers over the next six years. The average entry wage for a long-haul driver is $50,000.
Jobs driving, in HR and safety
Kelly Henderson, the executive director of the Trucking Human Resource Sector Council Atlantic, hopes women will step up.
“A lot of times we talk about trucking and we think it's only professional drivers that we're talking about, but today we're talking about drivers, we're talking about people who are in safety, HR, CEOs in the industry as well,” Henderson said.
She said the council will identify barriers to women entering the field. “Then we'll be moving forward with a recruitment strategy that will help us reach out to those women who would like to be a part of industry.”
The federal government is committing more than $242,000 over three years to get more women in the trucking industry in Atlantic Canada.
Federal government backing move
Scott Armstrong, MP for Cumberland-Colchester-Musqudoboit Valley, backs the effort.
“When you look across Canada, we literally have thousands, if not millions, of jobs we're going to need to fill in the skilled trades. Many of them are primarily male-dominated industries. So we need to bring women into more skilled trade to meet Canada's demand,” he said.
The council plans to roll out a campaign to attract women drivers this fall.