Fanshawe doubles size, diesel grads

by Brandi Cramer

LONDON, Ont. – Skills shortages in the diesel service and repair field will no longer cripple southwestern Ontario if Fanshawe College has anything to say about it.

The school has a new Commercial Transportation Training Facility it says will do great things for the region’s trades.

“More than 80 per cent of goods moved across North America are transported by truck. Business depends on reliable trucking services,” says Dianne Cunningham, Ontario’s Minister of Training Colleges and Universities. “This is an expansion in our economy. It is important to continue along this path.”

The new facility is the cornerstone of Fanshawe College’s Strategic Skills in Transportation Technology project and was made possible by $2 million from the provincial Strategic Skills Investment Program.

The new 27,000-sq.-ft. location is the only one of its kind, in both the private and public sectors, offering similar instruction west of Hamilton.

Ron Cameron, chairperson of the Motive Power Technology Division with the college, says there has been a lot of growth in truck training demand thanks in part to a rash of new dealerships.

Belgrave native and student in the truck and coach technician program, Vaughn Vincent, says the changes to the program and facility certainly are positive.

“It’s great, it’s definitely been needed for a while,” he says. “The quality of training will meet or exceed any college in Ontario.”

Cameron says the support the school has received from industry has been tremendous.

“We have had trucks donated. Dealers have been really generous. We have also had a lot of support from all of the manufacturers in terms of engines. There has been really good support from both the industry and regional businesses.”

The Fanshawe SSI project will double the current number of graduates from its two-year Motive Power (Diesel) Diploma program (by May 2003), and will increase its annual output of truck/coach apprentices to 70 per year from 20.

“The commercial transportation industry is expanding and facing a serious challenge because of an aging workforce and increased demand,” says Cameron.

“We are proud to be able to train quality people to meet those needs.”

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