Graduates with a driver’s licence have a crucial advantage in finding jobs

Looking for a first job can be daunting

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By Etuviere Mrakpor

Somebody might be the ideal candidate for a job, but ultimately excluded if they do not have a licence and access to a vehicle.

This includes many entry-level jobs. A survey assistant position at Vancouver City Hall requires a valid licence with a clear record. For a sewer operator position, a Class 5 license, or higher is required.

“I can’t justify why it should be a requirement if I’m just going to be sitting at a desk,” said Cameron Robertson who tried applying for a job at Burnaby City Hall and was at a disadvantage because he didn’t have a licence.

Robertson says jobs should be more accessible to students who already struggle finding jobs due to lack of experience.

For a short distance to working place, the bicycle remains the best alternative for young graduates. (Photo: Etuviere Mrakpor)

A driver’s licence is a very important document especially in B.C.. In many cases, it is used for one’s personal identity card. Furthermore, countless entry-level jobs in the public and private sectors require the applicant to be able to drive. For young graduates this is another hurdle in gaining employment.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, licences have become harder to secure. In March 2020, all Class 1-8 road tests were cancelled due to the pandemic. By June 1, ICBC reinstated driving tests but unfortunately this was also met with a backlog of rescheduled tests from March, and also new tests registered after reinstatement.

Matias Escobedo, 39, came to Canada from Nicaragua in 2019. He procured a job without a licence or a car. This year, he decided to take his driving test for a full licence because he commutes from Surrey to Burnaby for work. He had to travel White Rock for the driving test.

“At least I’ve got the money for an Uber,” he said for consolation.

A licence can be advantageous to employers. It signifies reliability, and a higher chance of being on time due to not being dependent on transit. It also provides flexibility for employers because it means employees could run other errands.

Many jobs require a driver´s licence and would typically specify between a Class 3 and a Class 5 licence. These tend to be harder to access for students, who are still in the process of trying to obtain their L or N licences.

However, driving a car still does not absolutely guarantee access to work. Dennis Arellano suffered a car breakdown and has had to depend on transit and cycling to work. Arellano says punctuality has been hard, but transit has been dependable.

“It does tend to get hard sometimes, but a decent transit system will do the job.”

 

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