New Brunswick

Trucking industry in need of workers in N.B.

Job seekers lined up outside the door at the Crowne Plaza in Moncton Wednesday to attend a trucking industry job fair, an industry that is struggling to fill empty positions despite 10 per cent unemployment in New Brunswick.

Moncton job fair for trucking companies tries to change industry image

The truck job fair in Moncton was set up because of a number of vacant positions in the industry in New Brunswick. (CBC)

Job seekers lined up outside the door at the Crowne Plaza in Moncton on Wednesday to attend a trucking industry job fair.

The event was organized because the trucking industry has more jobs than it can fill. That's despite the fact 10 per cent of New Brunswickers are unemployed,

Drivers in short supply

Truck drivers are in short supply, according to Kelly Henderson of Trucking Human Resources, but she's not sure what's keeping trucking employers and job seekers from connecting.

"There's maybe an impression or perception of the industry that in my opinion, I don't think is accurate," said Henderson. "It's a place where people would want to be and should want to be and they can make a good living with that."

The trucking industry has been working on diversity, and says more opportunities for women are opening up. (CBC)
Dale Ritchie, chair of the Southeast Industry Education Council, believes people don't know about the jobs available.

"I think it's just a matter of awareness and that's the purpose of this job fair today," he said. "People maybe don't look at that as a career, but the industry has changed."

Diversity needed

One of those changes is in diversity, according to Henderson.

In Canada, women only make up three per cent of drivers and two per cent of mechanics. "We're working on that, the industry is working on that," Henderson said. "There's definitely opportunity to come in for women."

Ayman Kouk is a Syrian refugee who attended the fair in order to resume work in the industry. Kouk worked as a truck driver in his native Syria, in Lebanon, and in Turkey.

Syrian newcomer Ayman Kouk (right), here with interpreter Moaud Farai, has passed the mechanical and written tests, and only needs the road test to get his truck driver's license, a job he did at home, and in Turkey and Lebanon. (CBC)
He's passed the mechanical test as well as his written exam, so all that's left is his road test.

Speaking through his interpreter Moaud Farai, Kouk said he's met some interested employers already.

"When I finish my road test I will contact them and start working in September, maybe."

Speaking about driving in Canadian winter conditions, Kouk said, "I lived in Turkey before, the place I used to live had a lot of snow, so it's similar."