In many jobs, nothing any longer functions without digital aids. A professional driver’s working day offers one good example of that. Whereas each of them would formerly have been clutching bundles of papers and contracts, in the truck he or she would nowadays simply switch on the display of his PC or handheld device, and will see at once what’s coming up during the day. Working with a handheld or a tablet, freight documents can be signed on the touchscreen. A digital tool also assists with the pre-start check. That represents renewal of only a small part of the working day. The largest affects the major mover – whether bus or truck. Today’s vehicles have reached the digital era. The completely new layout of the dashboard shows as much. Depending on the equipment, digital instruments have arrived, while a host of connections for external appliances also feature.
Alternative fuels will be a fascinating topic for new entrants. Truck manufacturers are joining in on those. Trade is brisk in electrically propelled trucks and buses for regional and local services. For long haul, even hydrogen could gain acceptance as an alternative energy source. Many driver assistance systems are ensuring extra safety behind the wheel. That starts with the tempomat & interval warning systems and today extends to electronic mirrors and sensors to reduce blind spots. Even laborious gear-changing belongs in the distant past.
The BGL – Federation for Heavy Goods Transport, Logistics and Waste Disposal has discovered that the proportion of professional driver trainees has been growing for years and is approaching the ten-percent mark. That truly represents an advance for equal rights, since the female proportion of truck drivers generally is no more than 1.9 percent, according to the BGL.
Current BGL estimates suggest a shortfall of 60,000 to 80,000 truck drivers in Germany alone. This will actually increase further. Around 30,000 to 35,000 are taking well-earned retirement every year, succeeded by no more than between 15,000 and 20,000 new drivers.
To further upgrade the driver’s profession, for some years now a traditional dual education as professional driver has been available. This takes three years. The first consists mainly of instruction in theory. Among other requirements of the job are technical knowledge of the vehicle, securing freight and processing of the contract. Trainees therefore spend much of the first year in the workshop and on handling orders. As a rule, trainees start working for a driving licence in the second year, when they have reached the age of 17, since they can only drive vehicles when they are 18. Yet the training enables professional drivers to make an earlier start. Without the training, you may only drive a bus from the age of 24, and a truck at 21.
Those wishing to do professional driver training are accordingly opting for an occupation for the future. Moreover, companies are actively searching for drivers. The proportion of female starters in this job is continually rising.