Career News, Features

Business owner takes plunge into trucking aged 53

A 53-year-old who got his multi-combination licence last year has said he was “petrified” heading off on his first trip – but he’s had a very positive experience working as a truckie so far.

Craig Jarvie runs his own construction business but always wanted to drive trucks, and last year he finally took the plunge.

“I always thought it would be good fun to have a go,” he told Big Rigs.

“I have quite a few friends who were interstate truck drivers and I’d hear their stories from the road, and it sounded interesting.

“I also do a bit of motorsport and I thought being able to drive a truck would add another feather to my cap.”

Craig, who is based in Melbourne, did his heavy rigid (non-synchromesh) and his heavy combination training with Armstrong’s Driver Education before completing his multi-combination training with Yugo Driving School last November.

“I got my heavy rigid, non-synchro licence to start with because I wanted to leave my options open to drive any sort of truck, not just an auto,” he said.

“When I went for my non-synchro licence they said I was the first person in quite a while to do it – apparently most people are just learning automatic these days.”

Craig was lucky enough to have a friend who owned a transport company – JL Transport in Dandenong South – so he started driving for them on his heavy rigid licence.

“I drove for them for 12 months, on my days off from my 9 to 5, just to gain some experience,” he said.

“Then when I got my MC, I asked if they had any trips or changeovers coming up and next thing I knew, I was in a truck doing my first changeover!”

Craig said he was “petrified” the first time he drove from Victoria to NSW in a truck.

“I was only in a single with a RoadRanger, going to Bathurst,” he remembered.

“I had sweat pouring out from under my arms, I was just so nervous.

“I just wanted to do everything correctly and I was already thinking about my logbook.

“It took me a couple of hours to settle in and relax, and after that I was fine.”

The new truckie now does occasional runs from Melbourne to Sydney, transporting general freight.

He’s enjoying the work so far and has had nothing but positive interactions with other drivers.

“There are some really good drivers on the roads, and I’ve had some great chats,” he said.

“I’ve always found people in the yards to be more than helpful, once they understand that I’m new to this.

“Maybe I would feel differently if I was driving trucks five days a week, but I have to say I haven’t had a bad experience yet.”

He thinks one of the keys to succeeding when you’re new to the trucking industry is leaving your ego at the door.

“When I go somewhere, I am open about the fact that I’m new to this industry and I always ask ‘Is there anything I should know?’” he said.

“I haven’t been to some of these places before so I ask a lot of questions – like ‘Where should I sleep for the night? What’s the best way in?’

“I like to plan my trip in advance, so I’ll go on Google Maps and look at the area I’m driving to.

“I don’t have that arrogance of ‘I’ll just work it out when I get there.’”

In the future, Craig would like to take a step back from construction and spend more time trucking.

“At the moment, truck driving is my ‘side hustle’ but in a few years I would love to semi-retire and drive a truck six months of the year,” he said.

“I’m hoping to do some grain carting or drive road trains in the outback.

“I really enjoy travelling and camping in the outback, there is so much to see there. I think that’s a great way of keeping things interesting.”


  1. Congratulations
    At 76 I’d retired from construction and took up driving vehicles in the Tourist industry.
    First time that I’ve had a smile on my face for many years.
    It’s a daily joy to meet new people and to work with people daily who have a relaxed attitude and a smile on their faces.
    Wished I’d known about this lifestyle 30 years ago.

    1. Well driving big rig is a adventure, absolutely true, I cover the entire usa from Maine Massachusetts NY Florida nth California British Columbia Alberta Saskatchewan Manitoba Chicago Michigan Vermont cross over 48 state for 4 years both the heavy snow and the hot summer, I also cover Australia from Victoria south Australia nsw Queensland and most of inner- land desert, I often do the triangle Mel Sydney Adelaide Brisbane back to Adelaide on the way back to MEL. 7200 KILOMETERS in 7 days beautiful experience I enjoy a lot meet damn good drives wonderful life experiences, now I am retired back in Auckland but the memories its absolutely magnificent, because you sleep in the Middle of nowhere in the desert on very cold night or heavy rain or 120 KILOMETERS and hour wind, while you trying to have some sleep but the strong wind in the open plain in the desert rocking the truck and trailer all most flipped the truck and trailers, but quite scary, but however its all the parts of the job (adventure) its a fun after all/ has like you sailing on the vast land like you sailing on the vast ocean…

  2. I came from New Zealand I retired age 55 had AB double over there license and all the licenses but they only gave me an HC here when I knew how Brutal the police were I gave up the idea of driving a stock truck I would have loved to have done that because I had a farm in New Zealand as well as my business so there you go I never did get into tracking here
    Although I served my time years ago with cummins engine
    Later on I fitted Scania
    s in commercial fishing craft and prefer that the engine

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