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Heavy Equipment Operator Shortages – They’re Recruiting High School Kids

Good heavy equipment operators are in short supply in some areas and this is forcing businesses to look at other options. In Canada they are taking their training programs into the high schools training 17- and 18-year-old students for a career as heavy equipment operators. For the youngsters, it’s a great program. The moment they leave school they are ready to start work earning good money, and as one student suggested:

This is a giant Tonka toy ….. This is my dream come true. I just love it.

There are numerous programs across the country that help unemployed and/or ex-military persons retrain as heavy equipment operators. Is there really that big a shortage of skilled heavy equipment operators? The construction industry is one that has aged over the last twenty years. Becoming a heavy equipment operator hasn’t been high on the agenda of young adults as they graduate from high school and college. With the lack of youth coming through, and a very high proportion of baby-boomers working in the industry, there is a prediction that operator numbers will plummet over the next ten years if we don’t recruit new operators to the industry.

Will moving into the schools help alleviate this problem? Every program that develops new entrants will help. However, the approach in Canada has been to only accept 15 students each year into their program. That is really only a drop in the ocean when we are going to need thousands over the next decade.

For those considering a career change, you could do worse than consider a career as a heavy equipment operator. The wages are good, and once experienced, there will be plenty of work available over the next ten to fifteen years. Don’t leave it to the kids; jump in now and grab your chance for a new career.

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