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Intermodal Training Goes Virtual

MONTREAL, Que. - Following the creation of a new program in intermodal transport logistics at Quebec's Collge Francois-Xavier Garneau in 1991, the college's Centre d'expertise en transport intermodal (CETI) recently launched a Web-based resource...

MONTREAL, Que. – Following the creation of a new program in intermodal transport logistics at Quebec’s Collge Francois-Xavier Garneau in 1991, the college’s Centre d’expertise en transport intermodal (CETI) recently launched a Web-based resource and training portal.

Announced this June, the portal at already has put up links to many Web resources such as provincial government publications, provincial and federal transportation offices, continuing education, schools, associations and industry in the four transportation areas – truck transport, rail, water and air.

These online resources give students at remote locations some of the access to concentrated resources that on-campus students enjoy at CETI, which has resources like magazines, computers and transportation and supply chain software such as Dispatch-Mate, PC Miler and GeoBus, which are used for supply chain logistics training.

Collge Francois-Xavier Garneau has long had a three-year intermodal training program for high school graduates, and has offered a continuing education program (for those adults who have been around the block a few times) for 10 years.

CETI was conceived as the answer to the need for strengthening intermodal transport in Quebec, the need for an intermodal resource centre and training, particularly for people who already had work experience. “There was a need for people with work experience, and intermodal training was badly needed,” explained Carolyne Boulay, co-ordinator at CETI.

CETI is still in the process of preparing online versions of their classroom courses. So far, tests for two of them are available. In a year or so, when all of the courses and tests are on the portal, people will be able to take any or all of the full 20-course, 1,500-hour diploma program that is now available at the college on-line.

“The portal was a continuation of the need for an intermodal centre, which could be real and virtual. If we wanted to make it more accessible, we needed a portal,” said Boulay.

The courses that make up the diploma program range from 45 to 75 hours each, plus a 210-hour practicum. They include transportation law, international transport economics, delivery costing, customs and warehouse/supply management. There are also English courses, although the intermodal program itself is taught in French.

There are several introductory courses, of course, and in recognition of the skills that people already working in the industry will bring to their studies, these people can get credit for these courses simply by demonstrating their competence in 50 question tests.

CETI has purchased two operating platforms. One allows continuing education students to log onto the portal whenever they want and complete the courses at their own pace. The other platform is what Boulay called “synchronized,” which means that just like with real classroom education, students log on at scheduled times and become part of a virtual classroom.

The online courses will be available to any individual who has a high school degree or the equivalent. CETI consultants are available to evaluate carriers’ needs and recommend courses to their employees.

Anyone who wants to see what it’s like to take the currently available tests can go to the CETI Web site for a demonstration (at the address above).

They can also register and pay for courses on-line. The fees are explained on the Web site.

The portal was created with financial assistance from the Ministry of Transport, which has formed a three-year partnership with CETI to put courses on the portal.

The Ministry is also helping with CETI’s marketing efforts, which also includes magazine ads, e-mail bulletins and promotion of the program at Employment Quebec offices.

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