For some drivers, becoming a driver trainer is the logical next step for career growth … and that can be scary. Don’t worry! While it may mean taking on more responsibility and meeting higher expectations, it is equally rewarding to see and feel the return on your investment, expertise and leadership.
As a Training Engineer (TE), Schneider’s version of a driver trainer, in Schneider’s Tanker division, I have trained more than 275 new Schneider associates to be safe and successful drivers during their final week of training. While driving has always been in my blood, my passion for training comes from the love of helping others.
Before moving to the U.S. in 1988, I worked as a city bus driver in Barbados. After arriving in the states, I worked on Long Island as an auto mechanic. It was at that time I truly fell in love with driving and the mechanics of vehicles.
I began researching the best trucking company to work for, and in April 1991 I started with Schneider doing Over-the-Road driving and Team driving on Dedicated accounts. When my driver leader asked me to become a TE in 1992, I spent three months making sure I had the skills and knowledge to help new associates before signing up to take the TE class. I’ve now been training drivers since 1993.
I get a great deal of satisfaction from taking a new associate who struggles in many areas and teaching them to become a safe and successful driver. If that sounds like something you would enjoy, too, I encourage you to take my high-five test:
- Do I have passion for safety?
- Do I have the patience?
- Can I deal with multiple personalities?
- Do I have the skills and knowledge?
- Can I give and take constructive criticism?
In other words, do you live the Schneider mantra of Safety First and Always? Have you always cared deeply about safety? A passion for safety may mean thinking about what might happen before it does. Other times it may mean spending extra time with an associate to ensure they’re making the smartest and safest decisions before moving on.
Some learn more quickly than others. Will you be comfortable providing extra teaching in certain areas? Can you retain your composure when a trainee makes a mistake?
In a perfect world, each person you train would have the same personality and drive as you. The reality is different people have different motivations and ways of learning. You will need to adjust accordingly.
Your goal is to make your student’s first exposure to life on the road a positive one. This requires you to have had enough experience yourself so you can train thoroughly.
Feedback is essential both to the learning and the teaching process. Being a TE is as much about providing constructive criticism as it is receiving it. You will be regularly evaluated to ensure the trainees are receiving the expert training they need.
If you answered yes to all of these questions, then high five! You may be ready to become a driver trainer and should consider going for it.
Schneider TEs can train full-time or part-time (at least one student per quarter) and earn up to $10,000 more per year than an average solo driver.
To learn how you can become a TE, be sure to talk to your driver leader! If you haven’t joined the Schneider team yet, make that happen first — apply today!
What questions do you have about becoming a driver trainer or Schneider TE?