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Aspiring drivers rejoice

Manitoba government offers full driver training funding for those with offers of employment


WINNIPEG, Man. — Manitobans looking to receive funding for a Class 1 driver training course are in luck.

It wasn’t long ago that Manitoba provided no clear funding path for aspiring truck drivers, but the province has done a complete 180 to help get more qualified drivers behind the wheel.

Under the new program, any Manitoban who has a document stating an offer of employment from a “certifying partner” carrier is eligible for full funding through the Manitoba government’s education department for a Class 1 driver training course from an accredited school.

Terry Shaw, executive director of the Manitoba Trucking Association (MTA), said previous government funding models were not nearly as effective and were financially wasteful.

“What the government did previously, is people said ‘I want to be truck driver,’ so they trained them to be a truck driver, and the stats indicated that 40% of these people never got a job as a truck driver,” said Shaw. “Why? Because they weren’t employable as a truck driver.”

Various reasons, such as being a single parent looking to be home every night, an inability to cross the border, or a tarnished driver’s abstract, would prevent companies from hiring many of these Class 1 drivers.

“We saw a lot of people saying they wanted to be truck drivers who never really had any chance of being a driver,” said Shaw, “so the government invested previously in training people who never ended up being employed.”

This muddied the water of the Class 1 driver pool, as they were technically able to work, but were not economically viable as drivers to carriers.

“This program provides a clearer path to employment for the employer and employee,” said Shaw, “because they’ll know before they invest a lot time training to be a truck driver whether or not anybody will actually consider employing them.”

Manitoba has been a long-time supporter of Ontario’s mandatory entry level training (MELT) program, but has had to deal with its own unique hurdles in the past when it came to driver training.

Shaw said unlike any other province, Manitoba faced a unique challenge in that its apprenticeship program, that supports trade professions, is publically funded.

Those looking for work were given the choice of paying $200 to become a carpenter or welder, but were forced to fork over around $9,000 for a driver training course, as it was not recognized as an apprentice trade.

“For years we have been trying to get truck driving, nationally and provincially in every province, recognized as a trade in some fashion and get some sort of certification,” said Shaw, adding that under the apprenticeship program, funding applicants had to work in the trade prior to receiving funding, something truck drivers simply cannot do.

“You can’t get a job as a truck driver, work as a truck driver, then train as a truck driver, and then get licensed as a truck driver. It’s not legal let alone sensible.

“We said that we’re already seeing enough competition and now you’re providing us with an even more un-level playing field by picking and choosing winners when it comes to trades training,” Shaw said, a sentiment the government agreed with.

Funding to those with an offer of employment is now available through the province for the 240-hour Class 1 training course to the National Occupational Standard.

“Before it was only open to low income (applicants),” said Shaw. “We’re happy to try and help those people but if someone is a bus driver and is retired and they want to come and drive a truck now, that shouldn’t limit them.”

The MTA does offer information on which carriers are hiring anyone looking to get behind the wheel and pursue employment and the new provincial funding.
Though the association is not receiving any portion of the funding, they are more than willing to lend that helping hand.

“We help them have a legitimate understanding of what it is they’re going to be doing,” said Shaw. “Not that we want people to shy away, we want people to come in informed so they’re not wasting their time or the employer’s.”

The provincial government will review the program during its budget talks in April 2019, but with no cap on the funding, the MTA is not concerned the money will run out.

“As long as industry comes to the table, takes advantage, and provides on-the-job training opportunities, I see no reason why the government wouldn’t want to continue investing in the training,” said Shaw.

Companies that participate in the program, successfully train on the job, and employ for six to 12 months (depending on the company’s size) are also eligible to receive funding through the new program – $3,000 per driver for 12 consecutive months of employment.

“Not only do we get better funded candidates as funded by the government, we get rewarded for employing them successfully for 12 months in a row,” said Shaw. “It’s money we get paid for doing our job.”


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1 Comment » for Aspiring drivers rejoice
  1. Janice Flett says:

    Preparing for Scholarship Search(further funding)
    Dear Sir/Madame:
    RE: Janice Flett, Applicant seeking assistance for Class 1 Road Test

    I welcome the inquiry as to whether I am a well-prepared, well-suited Candidate for scholarship* (*seeking appropriate wording) you are seeking. I am grateful for the opportunity to make mention here of a few of life’s ups and downs that I have encountered. I am an ambitious, resourceful, stimulating woman of Ojibway and Scandinavian descent who will sacrifice time and energy to be faithful to others and to work. I am full of energy and animated in conversation, a natural leader, kind and gentle with vitality to inspire others with kindness and a belief in themselves. I am interested in social justice and transformation through utilizing our unique human capacities to make choices and be creative. I value the fabric of human interaction and believe it can be strengthened by empowering individuals, families and communities to celebrate diversity and become proactive and planful in daily life. I learn from the best, my Daddy held Class 1 Drivers’ Licence back in the 1900’s and Mommy being a Residential School Survivor. Both my parents no longer with us here on Earth. Qualities of perseverance abound in upbringing.
    I believe it takes passion, dedication, expertise and the right tools to create a one-of-a-kind custom renovated house like House #3 which was once situated behind the Peguis Old School, Peguis First Nation, Manitoba you won’t see anywhere else. My Honey Herb. Flett sr. Peguis Band Member #2200 has plenty of passion, plenty of expertise and as for the right tools to create a one-of-a-kind anything My Honey is the man for the job and I am his wife for the rest of my life.
    It is a well known fact that My Honey Herb. Flett sr. works hard and plays hard too with the largest and longest high performance as a Professional Driver Class I Drivers’ Licence with ‘S’ endorsement My Honey Herb. Flett sr. doesn’t just handle curves and corners My Honey delivers precision control of every turn in all kinds of weather, any hour of the day or night and on Manitoba Winter Roads too! Herb. Flett sr. highly values this precedent setting prestigious honour. It is neat to watch My Honey in action handling 18 wheels; as a Peguis Health Centre Medical Van Driver as well.
    It is incredible the way My Honey specialized our home (Hse #3 behind old school) during the months of November 2006, December 2006, and half the month of January 2007 and our boy Piercing and I enjoyed being right in the middle of everything and doing the best we could to be useful while we wait for decision and action from Peguis Chief and Council and/or Peguis Housing Authority to complete renovations as our home has now been relocated. It is an experience we treasure and will remember. The list of specialized and extensive work is too long to cover in my letter. A few of the unique features include installation of doors & frames & windows during those cold winter months while we lived with no electricity, no plumbing, no heating, well everyone has their own sense of adventure.
    The purpose of my letter of application for scholarship* emulates my own strengths of human relation skills and excellent flexibility to adapt and adjust to varying conditions and general aspects of daily living life to the fullest. Autumn 2014, I’ve acquired acknowledgement of my high school graduation by enrollment and acceptance to Peguis/Fisher River Regional Comprehensive Health Care Aide at which time acquired Criminal Records Check; Child Abuse Registry Check; Vulnerable Sector Check; Immunizations; International Red Cross First Aide; Crisis Prevention Intervention Training. current Clear Driver’s Abstract Class 5. Spring 2015 Class 4 Driver’ Licence and Spring 2017 Class 1A with airbrakes; Artic Star Certificate of Training for Transportation of Dangerous Goods; WHMIS/GHS; Level I (Emergency) First Aid Level A C.P.R./AED to March 2019. Further training includes Pipeline101 with Enbridge with many certificates, November 2017. I could also include my Résumé for your perusal, names and contacts updated on separate list. I have references to Peguis Chief & Council and do have confirmation (204) 645-2359.
    I anticipate receiving your call and can be reached on my cell (204) 991-0014 at any time, or mrsherbflettsr@gmail.com I am seeking funding for Class 1 Road Test, I am on social assistance. My attempts improve each try. Class 1 sponsored training is from First Peoples Development and Peguis Training and Employment at First Class Training Inc March 6, 2017 to May the 4th which included three sponsored Road Tests. First Peoples Development Inc and First Class Training Centre Inc got together for sponsoring another Road Test before Christmas 2017. I am determined to pass my Road Test. I am researching opportunities. Do I qualify to train in this program? I had an interview with Erb Transport and the asked me to come back after I’ve had my Class 1 for a month. On Thursday April 5, 2018 I went riding with my husband. I’ve detected my flaw, I’m ecstatic. In downshift I could not understand to step on accelerator, throttle, I’m ready to relearn on the stick. Training facility gave up on me in the stick and stuck me in the automatic. I did well. Components of Road Test I pass each, have not all at same Road Test.

    Respectfully,

    Janice Flett

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