Vermeer Canada is experiencing, just like many of its U.S. neighbors to the south of it: stunt growth. And that stalling is not due to the lackluster industry performance but a shortage of experienced talent.
Craig Drury, Vice-President of Operations for Canada’s Eastern Region, was previously an AED Board Member.
The Canadian heavy equipment industry faces many of the same challenges it’s U.S. counterparts do, says Drury. Labor shortages and a need for more training opportunities put a damper on reaching heavy equipments’ full potential. “We’re starting the process of getting relationships (underway) between AED and colleagues,” Drury says. “We need to figure out where the value is. Each province has different needs, and reconnaissance is needed.”
Communication is also a key role for Drury. He continues to inform members of what AED and The AED Foundation are doing for the industry. As for Drury himself, his focus on advocacy in Canada, and Ottawa in particular. Relationships with policymakers need to be built, pertaining to skills development in particular, Drury adds. “The government needs to open up spaces in colleges.”
It’s not just communicating with policymakers, however. Getting the word out about career potential to students (and their parents) is crucial, too. Parents need to hear that their children can have long-term and lucrative future in heavy equipment. Of course, the children (or teens) need to hear that, too.
There’s also a hurdle of getting over the mindset of seeing university education as something elite to aspire to. It’s not a bad thing -not at all- but it’s not for everyone. Not everyone wants to become a doctor, for example. The industry also needs to for more to draw women and indigenous (native) peoples. “As an industry, we have not,” Drury continues. “We’re starving after people, and (in terms of trying to bring women aboard) we’re not going after half the population.”
With developing technology, leadership opportunities and good pay, there’s a future awaiting those willing to chase after it. “We just need to get the word out there”
Written by Heidi B. (The AED Foundation Donor Profile)