Employers place a strong emphasis on essential skills in the workplace. Essential skills are used in nearly every occupation, and are seen as ¿building blocks¿ because people build on them to learn all other skills.
Each profile contains a list of example tasks that illustrate how each of the 9 essential skill is generally performed by the majority of workers in an occupation. The estimated complexity levels for each task, between 1 (basic) and 5 (advanced), may vary based on the requirements of the workplace.
Truck drivers operate heavy trucks to transport goods and materials over urban, interurban, provincial and international routes.
Working with Others
Long-haul truck drivers generally drive alone, although sometimes they drive with a partner or helper who assists with unloading. They may work as members of a team when loading and unloading large cargoes. Short haul drivers have a considerable degree of interaction with customers and supervisors. Truck drivers may also work in a team with dispatchers, office and maintenance staff.
Truck drivers continue to learn through their participation in a number of courses, such as Transportation of Dangerous Goods (TDG), Air Brakes Class 1, defensive driving and forklift training. They may also attend information sessions to learn about safety regulations and new machinery and trucks purchased by the company.
All essential skills are affected by the introduction of technology in the workplace. Truck drivers' ability to adapt to new technologies is strongly related to their skill levels across the essential skills, including reading, writing, thinking and communication skills. Technologies are transforming the ways in which workers obtain, process and communicate information, and the types of skills needed to perform in their jobs. In particular, truck drivers need basic digital skills to take advantage of fleet-management software, global position systems (GPS) and in-cab Internet access, which is becoming commonplace in the industry. For example, workers may use hand-held and in-cab electronic log book systems to track, email and fax information, such as load numbers, weights, locations, driving times, rest period requirements, hours of service and remaining drive times. Digital technologies also provide workers with tools, such as cellular telephones, that increase opportunities for verbal interaction. For example, they may call to confirm appointments and orders with customers and providers.
Technology in the workplace further affects the complexity of tasks related to the essential skills required for this occupation. For example, the sophisticated electronic circuitry of vehicles has increased the complexity of wiring schematics and other diagrams. In contrast, GPS devices make it easier to locate travel routes and estimate travel times. Workers can also complete forms, record data and calculate costs, material requirements, conversions, and rates with increased speed and accuracy using using Web-based applications, specialized fleet-management software and handheld devices, such as personal digital assistants (PDAs). For example, a truck driver may use fleet tracking software to send and record data, such as speeds, locations, routes and the status of equipment (e.g. auxiliary motors).