OTTAWA, Ont. -A recent summit on the training and licensing of commercial truck drivers has offered new insight into some of the promising practices that are being embraced by jurisdictions across the country. Closing the Gap, a national collaboration that began in 2005 to address the industry's shortage of skilled truck drivers, included representatives from the trucking industry, insurers, Human Resources and Skills Development Canada, educational institutions and government ministries.
"Trucking has gained a lot out of 'Closing the Gap'," said Roy Craigen, chairman of the Canadian Trucking Human Resources Council (CTHRC), which coordinates the meetings.
Labour market agreements have recognized that provinces and territories are well-positioned to design and deliver labour market training within their jurisdictions, according to CTHRC executive director Linda Gauthier. "Information gathered through the CTHRC and Closing the Gap has helped them to identify the related opportunities."
The nature of training and testing standards for professional truck drivers is considered to be more vital than ever, given the growing demands of the career.
Initiatives in a number of provinces have embraced approaches that reflect this reality.
Graduates from the Professional Driver Certificate Program at Red Deer College in Alberta, for example, will soon receive a new Professional Driver Licence endorsement from Alberta Transportation. This approach was designed to allow the training to be delivered for tuition of $3,200, compared to fees in the private sector that would approach $14,000.
The B. C. Trucking Association is hoping to offer a series of workshops in 2009.
Meanwhile, Newfoundland's D. D. Transport has partnered with other truck fleets to deliver CTHRC's Earning Your Wheels entry-level driver training program through the College of the North Atlantic. The pilot project combines uniform training standards, on-the job experience and candidate screening.
Manitoba Public Insurance has developed a program that included an online aptitude assessment for candidates. The students who pass that screening process receive 244 hours of school-based training, three months of on-the-job training and six months of mentoring.
The related tuition is covered as long as they work in the industry for two years.