BRAMPTON, Ont. – Students enrolled in Bramalea Secondary School’s Truck and Bus program now have an impressive classroom to call home after the recent opening of a multi-million-dollar truck maintenance facility on school grounds. The ribbon-cutting celebration, held inside the new $2.5-million building May 16, was strongly attended by school staff and students, government officials, and partnering trucking companies, manufacturers, dealerships, associations, media and other dignitaries. Dr. Peter Gibson, vice-principal at the high school and one of the main proponents behind the creation of the program and construction of the new facility, called the landmark project a first for Canada – and possibly North America.
“This program will not only inform them thoroughly of the transportation industry, but the program itself will expand their knowledge of the pathways, all of the things that are available for them in the trucking industry, especially in Ontario,” Gibson told Truck News at the event.
The new program, working in tandem with the school’s existing Specialist High Skills Major program in transportation, is designed to prepare students to make a smooth transition from secondary school to apprenticeship training, college, university and/or the workplace.
“We’re all about student success, and that involves not only training the students and encouraging them to acquire new skills sets and to practice those in supervised environments and to grow into them, but also to help them gain access to knowledge to and with regard to potential life-long careers,” Gibson said. “There are fabulous opportunities here, and there are a myriad of jobs available out there in the sector with a shortage of 700,000 skilled trades workers, probably 100,000 of those in the transportation industry.”
At just under 7,000 sq.-ft., the new facility is roughly the same size as some college shops, Gibson says, and can accommodate two tractor-trailers. The Hossack Architects-designed building uses natural light to illuminate the main shop, and includes the latest conventions in heating and air-conditioning; drop-down exhaust and electrical ports; an epoxy floor for safety and cleanliness; an experiential work lab area; and WiFi throughout the classroom.
Various industry partners have contributed to the project, either by financial donations or equipment, including Harper Truck Centres, Volvo, Mack, Peterbilt, Eaton, Cummins, the Ontario Trucking Association, the Toronto Trucking Association, and several local carriers.
“These industry partners who have come on board have just been phenomenal,” Gibson added.
With the Ontario Trucking Association in talks with other provincial trucking associations about rolling out similar partnerships with schools across the country, Gibson stressed the importance of educators and the trucking industry continuing to work together for their mutual benefit.
“The trucking industry has so much to offer and yet it has not done a good job of selling itself at all in terms of marketing and promotion. For the most part, unless young people are from a trucking-oriented family, they know nothing of it and aren’t interested. Along with that, we work to re-educate parents, most of whom want their kids to be neurosurgeons and lawyers,” Gibson said.
“(The trucking industry) will have to endear itself to young people, this entire generation, and to do so it will need to reach them at the high school level…There’s a total chasm, no connection at all between industry and high schools, that’s going to have to change.” Our WebTV show Transportation Matters recently featured the new program. Find the video at Trucknews.com/videos.
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