P.E.I. struggles to attract younger generation to truck driving

By AJ MacLeod

Oct. 31, 2016

Charley MacLeod is concerned about the future of long-haul and short-haul truck driving.

MacLeod, a truck driver for Midland Transport trucking company for the past 25 years, has been trying to recruit younger drivers for the company.

He has been struggling to get younger people interested in the career.

“I think it’s the time away from home that younger people don’t like.”

Melanie Heckbert understands the struggle of trying to make the job attractive to the younger generation.

“It doesn’t seem to be a passion to as many young people as it is for the older generation,” said Heckbert, who works as a supervisor at the Seafood Express trucking company.

Heckbert has been trying to come up with unique ways to attract the position to younger people, but he finds it tough to even get out and advertise to them.

“Honestly it seems like the younger generation couldn’t care less about truck driving.

“The younger people that I do hear from are normally not qualified for the position, making it difficult to even find people with there heavy equipment operator course,” she said.

Russell Gardiner, director of the P.E.I. truckers association, blames Fort McMurray for taking all of the young heavy equipment operators.

“They’re all going to Fort McMurray and making a bucket load of money from the companies out there, we just simply can’t compete with them,” he said.

“The industry is really pushing for younger people to stay on P.E.I. and keep their careers local,” he said.

As for the older generation of truckers like MacLeod, they’ll be getting ready to retire in the next few years, MacLeod said.

“I’ll be around for another five years at least. Hopefully that’s enough time to find some new younger drivers.

“I don’t think we’ll ever stop recruiting either. The demand is so high right now we need as many drivers as we can get our hands on.”