Aboriginal People in the Trades: Richard Francis

Richard  Francis

Richard Francis

Truck drivers are in high demand these days. As a matter of fact, once you have completed the training you are pretty much guaranteed a job. This is the fact that appealed to Richard Francis, a member from the Kingsclear First Nation, when he decided to change careers and sign up for JEDI’s truck driving course run in partnership with Trans-Canada College in Scoudouc, NB.

“If you have a Class 1 driver’s license and you are not working, there is something wrong,” said Richard. “There are lots of jobs, but you have to work hard during your internship. You have to develop skills for when you get out on your own.”

Part of Richard’s training involved a job placement with a local trucking company. Richard worked with Atlantic Pacific Transport and was able to secure a job with them even before graduation.

“When you go to your job placement, you hope to stay with that job,” Richard said. “They want dedication and loyalty from you. They don’t want to train you and send you off, they want you to work for them.”

Richard has already done both long and short hauls but prefers to do long hauls.

“Long haul, you make more money,” Richard said. “You get paid by the miles. Short haul is harder, you have to wait, there are less stops and less money.”

Richard’s trucking experience has allowed him to travel to several destinations, including parts of the US.

“On my first trip, I started in Portland, Maine and went over to New Hampshire, to Vermont, and to New York. It was beautiful,” Richard said. “I have also been down to Baltimore, taken 2 trips to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, and have travelled from the Scat Hill Mountains to the Appalachians.”

“I love the experience, and I love the travelling,” Richard said. “I like the opportunity to be physical and I like being away and making money. The experience has been awesome. This is a really good program and I hope JEDI can expand it to other people.”

Richard has become an inspiration to other community members and is proud to be seen as a motivator amongst his people.

“It feels good,” Richard said.  “It makes you feel good and others feel good. I was scared to be a truck driver, and now people see me doing it and think ‘it can’t be that bad’ so maybe they will try it.”

Richard would like to thank Erica Craft from JEDI who remained helpful and supportive during his training. He will take the skills he learned during his training to keep his hauls secure and himself safe when he is on his own on the open roads. He also offered advice for those searching for new job opportunities.

“Make sure you pick a career that you want,” Richard said. “Find the one that is suited for you, get the best training, and dedicate yourself to that training.”

JEDI wishes Richard all the best in his new career as a Class 1 truck driver. Congratulations Richard!