Calgary

School bus drivers, once in short supply, now abundant

There's one company that's breathing a bit easier thanks to the economic downturn. After years of struggling with a shortage of school bus drivers, Southland Transportation has been inundated with applications for the upcoming school year.

Southland Transportation has been inundated with applicants for the coming year

Southland Transportation can breathe a bit easier thanks to an overwhelming amount of applicants to drive school buses this year. (CBC)

There's one company that's breathing a bit easier thanks to the economic downturn.

After years of struggling with a shortage of school bus drivers, Southland Transportation has been inundated with applications for the upcoming school year.

"We did a few things internally. We brought in a new recruitment manager who had 10 years experience in direct recruiting for an agency and is extremely good at what she does," said Murray Glass, the company's general manager for southern Alberta. 

"We also opened a recruiting centre of excellence and implemented a new application process and candidate tracking software, so that's helped us a lot. And, of course, I think the economy has been a help as well."

Engineers and geologists

Glass says they have received over 1,200 applications for 575 to 600 positions, and yes, some of those applicants are engineers and geologists.

"We take everybody as they come, we definitely try to look at people that are looking at longer term, you know, just for retention and what have you, but there are definitely people from the oil patch looking right now," said Murray.

It's an important consideration for a job with a high turnover rate, thanks in part to the fact Southland lays off 98 per cent of its drivers at the end of each school year.

There's also a stigma that Glass acknowledges, and the fact the job can be trying, but he says many find it a rewarding career.

"A lot of people, once they get into it, they get hooked and they love what they do."

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Become a CBC Member

Join the conversation  Create account

Already have an account?

now