Well here we go!! I'm entering the world of truck driving. Lots of emotions: nervous, excited, worried, apprehensive. I've lived in a totally different world for the past many years and there's a comfort level being in something familiar. But one must always be ready for change, huh?
Step one was taken just a week ago, when I was accepted by a government-run trucking school;very different from the private schools I've investigated, because not everyone who applies is taken in. At the introductory session,about 60 people showed up. Our host started things off by asking who in the room already had their Class 1 license. Two or three people put their hands up and the instructor asked ''...can't get a job, huh?'' She said this happens a lot.You get your license, but your lack of experience keeps you out of the job market. Same old, same old, huh? How can you get experience, if you can't get a job, but you can't get a job without the experience! My school has a reputation of turning out very good drivers who are treated by trucking companies as if they had 2 years experience on graduation. This is a good lesson for people entering the field. Ask the school you're investigating if graduates are hired by the industry.
The school I'm going to attend has set up a lengthy in-depth process, to weed out people who aren't really serious about trucking. (For example,there are some people who use the school to extend their unemployment benefits.) One of the interesting tests; you had to select 20 words out of a list of 180, to describe yourself. I could have chosen about 50 of the words, so you had to do a bit of thinking. You also had to have a clean driving record. If you have ever been convicted of drunk-driving, you were pretty well guaranteed to wash out.
The course is 6 months long. Our host told us to not even think about working and going to school, because the course is complex, involved and hard; 8 hours a day and then there's homework.
One thing that has stuck in my mind from that opening session; that if you think all you're going to learn at truck-driving school is how to drive a truck, you are wrong. We'll learn about safety first and foremost. We'll learn how to load a truck, how to balance the load; the rules; the penalties; how to cross the border. That first night was a powerful learning curve. I got a peek into what's coming and I couldn't be more excited.