MONTREAL, Que. - The Quebec Trucking Association (QTA) will turn on the media machine in September to spread the news about an Internet-based continuing education program. Under development for two years, it will let truckers evaluate their genera...
MONTREAL, Que. – The Quebec Trucking Association (QTA) will turn on the media machine in September to spread the news about an Internet-based continuing education program. Under development for two years, it will let truckers evaluate their general competence, and help them improve by developing specialized skills in any of five areas they choose.
Called “routier@100%” this program was developed by Camo-route Inc., as a remedy for the unstructured and inconsistent approach to trucker training in Quebec. Too, the program will enhance the professionalism of the field, not only in the eyes of the public, but to people considering becoming truckers.
Camo-route is a Montreal research and resource company specializing in the trucking industry and a provincial counterpart to the Canadian Trucking Human Resource Council (CTHRC).
Camo-route and its industry partners decided that something was needed to establish a professional standard for truck drivers, and came up with routier@100%. It formalizes drivers’ general knowledge and competence by evaluating their applied skills and then helping them improve the areas in which they are found to be weak.
In a sense routier@100% is an apprenticeship program, since every trucker that registers will be assigned a personal trainer to help him successfully complete the general competence part of the program. Both the Quebec Trucking Association (QTA) and the CTHRC, which has followed the development of routier@100%, stress that it is strictly a voluntary program.
“It encourages the truckers to perfect their skills on the Internet,” explains Joanne Pag, the QTA’s coordinator of business development and adjunct to the executive vice-president. CTHRC executive director Linda Gauthier adds, “The program was developed not to screen out drivers, but to identify weaknesses in their skills and then upgrade them.”
The two-part program begins with an assessment of general competence in three areas: organization of his work, the rules of driving and health and work security issues. The applied knowledge tests will be done on the Internet and an actual road test will evaluate driving performance. Truckers can learn about the program, and do a sample test on the Camo-route Web site, www.camo-route.com.
For example, one question is about a trailer inspection. The tutorial shows a picture of the rear of a trailer with the light broken. You must chose an answer from the following: (a) no abnormality; (b) minor repair; (c) major repair. Another question is about planning a trip in St-Laurent with a load of dangerous goods. You are shown a map of the city, and descriptions of three possible routes, which include tunnels and secondary roads. Which is the right route? Another question asks you to choose the right supporting document for a load of 16 pallets that you did not help load.
Truckers will be able to access and work on their own program anytime they want, from anywhere they have Internet access, so they can fit it in and around their existing day-to-day schedules.
Once truckers have, with the help of their trainers, filled any gaps in their applied knowledge and scored 100 per cent on the general competency test, they will receive certificates of general competence.
They are then allowed to apply for the Level 2 part of the program, which teaches the skills necessary for specialized areas of trucking.
There are five transport modules in Level 2: tanker truck, international, reefer, flatbed and forestry. These modules are also designed to be worked on over the Internet, giving truckers complete flexibility to work when and where they have the time. The cost is $150 per candidate for the general competence test and the Level 2 courses.
There are volume prices for carriers, according to Pag.
The Quebec trucking industry will start spreading the word about routier@100% in September with an information campaign.
There will be travelling information meetings with industry groups all over Quebec, with laptop demonstrations. There will also be a CD demo. The QTA is planning a mailing campaign directed at truckers, and there will be information on the QTA Web site and in its information bulletin. Employment Quebec will also help spread the word; incidentally, the provincial government contributed $1.3 million to the development of the program.
The CTHRC has been following the development of the program and, says Gauthier, “We’ve looked seriously at this program and feel that it would benefit the industry if it was available in English.” (Only Camo-route’s sample tutorial is available in English, currently.) “routier@100% has been identified as one of the best (assessment and training) tools that is out there,” she adds.
“In every other industry there is an industry-endorsed professionalism,” says Gauthier. “This could become an endorsement for professionalism of the occupation. Industry has got to make a decision. If it wants to attract new drivers they have to start recognising the professionalism of the job.”