How Essential Skills Profiles can help you!
The essential skills profiles can:
- Help determine, based on skill sets, which career may best suit a particular individual.
- Assist job seekers to write a résumé or prepare for a job interview.
- Help employers to create a job posting.
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.
- Read instructions and other short text in log books and on labels and packaging, e.g. read about electrical shock hazards on labels affixed to batteries. (1)
- Read short notes from co-workers, e.g. read messages from dispatchers to learn about load drop-off locations. (1)
- Read Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) to learn how to safely handle hazardous materials they are transporting. (2)
- Read bulletins, memos and guidelines, e.g. read bulletins to learn about changes to operating procedures and read guidelines to learn about border crossing procedures and requirements for security clearances. (2)
- May read magazines and website articles, e.g. read trade magazines to broaden their knowledge of the trucking industry and stay current on new equipment and regulations. (3)
- Read a variety of manuals and handbooks, e.g. read user manuals to learn how to operate vehicle systems and diagnose, troubleshoot and repair equipment faults. (3)
- May read contracts, e.g. read contracts to learn about hourly tariffs, insurance requirements, load details and the responsibilities of carriers and customers. (4)
- May read regulations, e.g. read regulations governing items, such as the transportation of dangerous goods, curfews, towing and requirements for pilot cars. (4)
- Locate data, such as speed limits and grades, on road signs. (1)
- Complete a variety of checklists, e.g. complete pre-trip and post-trip vehicle safety inspection checklists to record the operating condition of trucks. (1)
- Scan digital and paper-based roadmaps to determine driving routes and distances. (2)
- Locate data in a variety of tables, e.g. scan fuel tables to determine fuel consumption rates. (2)
- Enter data into a variety of forms, e.g. enter data, such as dates, times, locations, durations and quantities, into payroll forms, manifests and bills of lading. (2)
- Locate information, such as telephone numbers, hours of operation and locations, in dealer directories. (2)
- Complete drivers' daily log books by entering data such as odometer readings, dates, distances, cycles, load numbers, weights, locations, driving times, rest periods and hours of service. (3)
- May scan assembly drawings, e.g. scan assembly drawings to determine the location of hoses, couplings and fittings. (3)
- May study schematic drawings, e.g. scan wiring schematics to determine the location of fuses and to troubleshoot faults. (3)
- May complete complex forms, e.g. complete daily vehicle inspection reports and U.S. customs forms by checking boxes and entering data, such as identification numbers, security clearances, dates, times, weights, durations and addresses. (3)
- Write short comments on a variety of forms, e.g. write descriptions of equipment faults on vehicle inspection forms. (1)
- Write reminder notes to co-workers, e.g. write notes to warn drivers about faulty equipment. (1)
- Write longer text entries in forms, such as logbooks, e.g. write logbook entries to describe unusual events that occur during trips. (2)
- May write reports, e.g. write detailed descriptions of accidents for use by insurance adjusters and police. (3)
- May receive cash, credit and debit card payments for cash-on-delivery (COD) and make change. (1)
- Record expenses incurred during travel against categories of budgets. (1)
- Take a variety of measurements using basic tools, e.g. measure the width of loads using tape measures. (1)
- Compare readings of electrical energy, temperature and pressure to operating norms. (1)
- May calculate fees by multiplying distances traveled by per-kilometre rates. (2)
- Calculate expenses by adding the cost of meals, toll fees and other expenses incurred during travel. (2)
- Calculate summary averages, e.g. calculate average driving speed and rate of fuel consumption. (2)
- Analyze readings of electrical energy, temperatures and pressures to assess truck performance and troubleshoot faults, e.g. analyze energy and temperature readings to troubleshoot cooling system faults. (2)
- Estimate the time between pickups and deliveries. (2)
- Estimate the sizes and weights of loads. (2)
- Listen to communication over two-way and citizen band radios. (1)
- Talk to shippers and other drivers as they load and unload freight. (1)
- May talk to customers to respond to questions and provide details about shipping procedures and costs. (2)
- Talk to dispatchers, drivers and supervisors about a variety of topics, e.g. discuss work assignments and drop-off procedures with supervisors. (2)
- Participate in meetings, e.g. discuss safe work practices, routes and logistics during team meetings. (2)
- Exchange technical information with repairers, e.g. provide descriptions of equipment faults to help truck mechanics troubleshoot faults. (2)
- Encounter delays due to weather, traffic conditions and equipment malfunctions. They phone dispatchers and loading dock personnel to arrange for late arrivals. (1)
- Select travel routes. They consider timelines, loads, speed limits and road conditions. (1)
- Evaluate the safety of road conditions. They consider weather and road conditions, spaces between vehicles, speeds and the behaviours of other drivers. (1)
- Locate road and weather conditions by contacting travel hotlines, speaking with other drivers and reading advisories accessed using the Internet. (1)
- Locate travel routes by referring to maps and using global positioning systems (GPS). (1)
- Find that loads do not fit trucks. They adjust loads, try alternate loading methods and seek the assistance of co-workers. They request replacement vehicles if necessary. (2)
- Decide how loads should be positioned for cartage. They consider weights, load distributions and centres of gravity. (2)
- Evaluate the severity of vehicle faults to determine minor versus major defects. They consider pressure, temperature, energy readings, unusual vibrations, noises, odours and the outcomes of inspections. (2)
- May evaluate the performance of helpers, such as swampers. They consider their ability to assist with loading and unloading of merchandise. (2)
- Plan routes and timelines to make the most efficient use of resources and their time. Priorities are generally set out for them; however, in the event of truck breakdowns, they reprioritize tasks, co-ordinate with other drivers and possibly make arrangements to transfer loads to other vehicles. (2)
- Locate information about loads being transported by reading bills of lading and Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) and by speaking with dispatchers and customers. (2)
- Encounter equipment malfunctions, e.g. refrigeration system breakdowns. They assess the severity of the malfunctions and make repairs when possible. They contact dispatchers and repairers and provide information about the malfunctions. They wait for the equipment to be repaired or use replacement vehicles to transport the goods to their destination. (3)
- Decide if vehicles are safe to operate. They base their decision on the severity of equipment faults discovered during pre-trip, en-route and post-trip inspections. (3)
- Use calculators and personal digital assistant (PDA) devices to complete numeracy-related tasks, such as calculating rates of fuel consumption. (1)
- Use global positioning systems (GPS) to locate travel routes and estimate travel times. (1)
- May use fleet tracking software to send and record data, such as speeds, locations, routes and the status of equipment, such as auxiliary motors. (1)
- May use fleet tracking software to generate printouts of load information. (1)
- May use databases to access job assignments and forms. (2)
- May use fleet-management software to retrieve bills of lading and customer account information. (2)
- May use browsers and search engines to learn about road conditions and access weather advisories. (2)
- May use intranets and the Internet to access training courses and seminars offered by trainers, suppliers, employers, associations and sector councils. (2)
- May use hand-held and in-cab electronic logbook 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. (3)
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.
Impact of Digital Technology
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).