Changing Gears: Women in Trucking

The province, YWCA and six companies have joined forces to help train more women to have a career in trucking.

The province, along with YWCA Metro Vancouver, Valley Driving School, and six Lower Mainland trucking employers have joined forces to make sure that more women have the opportunity to train for a career in B.C.’s trucking industry.

The province is providing $589,379 to train up to 24 unemployed female job-seekers in the Lower Mainland as commercial Class 1 truck drivers through the YWCA Metro Vancouver’s Changing Gears: Women in Trucking program.

The YWCA Metro Vancouver is providing 23 weeks of training and on-the-job work experience through two intakes of eight to 12 women each.

During the Changing Gears program, participants will learn essential skills in a classroom setting before being trained by Valley Driving School instructors for their Class 1 driver’s licence.

In Langley, Valley Driving School is located at #110-9295 198 St.

They will also work with local employers to gain hands-on experience in the Lower Mainland trucking industry and leave the program with new skills and job prospects.

Employers who have partnered with the Changing Gears program include Challenger, Progressive Waste Solutions, Ken Johnson Trucking, Synergy Trucking, Sysco, and VanKam Freightways.

“The Changing Gears program has changed our participants’ lives,” said Tina Hurd, program manager, YWCA Metro Vancouver.

“It has boosted their self-confidence and esteem and given them the opportunity to acquire a lifelong career in an industry they’ve always wanted to work in.”

Shelda, a project participant said the program taught her a lot.

“I have acquired incredible skills, great confidence and a bucketful of knowledge. This program taught me a lot of things. I am thankful that I was able to join this program.”

This is the second iteration of the government-funded program. The first iteration took place in 2015, funded by the Ministry of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training for nearly $400,000, with 24 participants completing the program. This Changing Gears program is already through its first intake of nine participants, with six having already found jobs after completing the program in March 2016. Another nine participants are currently in the program.

Local WorkBC Employment Services Centres play a leading role in connecting eligible job seekers to Job Creation Partnerships and Project-Based Labour Market Training opportunities in their communities. Once a connection between the client and a suitable project has been made, the WorkBC centre continues to provide financial support and services to ensure the client’s success.

Ministry of Social Development and Social Innovation funding is provided through the Project-Based Labour Market Training stream of the Community and Employer Partnerships program, which funds projects that increase employability levels and share labour market information.