TORONTO, Ont. – Thirty-one Fanshawe College students received a generous gift from Meritor this week, as the commercial vehicle product supplier donated over $18,000 of parts to the school in an effort to help those looking to enter the truck technician field.
Meritor bestowed two axles, a driveline and brakes for a 1985 Mack Midliner truck that is being built by the apprentice technicians at Fanshawe, which is located in London, Ont.
“We’re building a ground up truck for events like this and for performance racing,” said Mark Russell, Fanshawe program coordinator, referring to the Truck World event, where the student were invited to visit the Meritor booth and walk around the convention grounds.
“In addition to learning about fabricating and assembling different parts,” Russell continued, “building a truck is an opportunity to harness the workmanship of apprentices and channel their creativity so they can showcase their skills.”
The project began in July 2015, and thus far, students have assembled the chassis and the engine, and have recently mounted the cab, hood and transmission.
“In terms of the truck’s visuals and performance, we’re working toward a neat, nostalgic look and sound,” Russell said. “We’re getting closer to the appearance and sound we’re looking for, and it’ll be exciting to see and hear engine run.”
Russell hopes his students would get some exposure to the trucking industry during their April 14 visit to Truck World, as each were currently at the first level of their truck coach apprenticeship.
“They are really impressed with this industry,” Russell said. “They want to learn as much as they possibly can. We haven’t had an opportunity like this in a very long time at Fanshawe College, so I took the initiative with Meritor when they offered to bring the class down here.”
James Taylor, general manager of North American field operations for Meritor, said he thought the Fanshawe program was a great opportunity for the students and the company to create some exposure to the industry.
“We’re making sure that we’re generating people who want to come into the trucking industry, whether it’s driver or technicians,” he said. “It’s important to continue to make sure we’re reaching out to students.”
Taylor said Meritor wanted to show the students what kinds of new technology the company was developing for the future, and to help them understand what the trucking industry has to offer.
“There’s always going to be a need to have more technicians,” he said. “It’s important that we’re able to provide information to have technicians be interested in the trucking industry and make them understand that there’s a lot of opportunity for them.”
Taylor said that with truck technology becoming more automated, young people coming into the profession would be able to utilize their skills using devices, such as smartphones, laptops and iPads.
“Why not utilize that skillset to make it more attractive,” he said, “and make sure that people understand that the trucking industry is using new, advanced technologies.”
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