B.C. award winners will have to earn their wheels

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VANCOUVER, B.C. — Future truck drivers who earn a new $3,000 training award from the British Columbia Trucking Association (BCTA) will be required to take an industry-approved training program developed by the Canadian Trucking Human Resources Council (CTHRC), the association has announced.

The Flemming Sondergaard Memorial Training Entrance Awards have been opened to individuals looking to pursue careers as professional truck drivers, commercial transport mechanics, or diesel engine mechanics.

Sondergaard was an active member of the BCTA for more than 40 years, and owned Collins Manufacturing from 1989 until his death in 2005. His commitment to education and training was also reflected in his term as chairman of the British Columbia Institute of Technology from 1987 to 1989.

Those applying for the Professional Truck Driver Training Award will need to confirm acceptance at a training facility endorsed to deliver the Earning Your Wheels training curriculum developed by the CTHRC. They must also provide a copy of results from the Test of Workplace Essential Skills (TOWES) a screening program customized by the CTHRC to measure competencies in reading text, document use and numeracy.

We think that the Earning Your Wheels program, in combination with TOWES, is the gold standard for truck driver training, said Paul Landry, president of the BCTA. Too much of todays training involves preparing people to obtain a professional class of licence, but not for a career in the industry. We want the award recipients to be primed for success.

Winners of the mechanic training award will need to confirm acceptance in a Red Seal training program. Recipients of any of the awards will need to be residents of British Columbia, and endorsed by a BCTA member company. Hopeful truck drivers must also provide a copy of a current ICBC Drivers Abstract.

The BCTA should be applauded for setting these professional standards for recipients of the award, said Linda Gauthier, executive director of the CTHRC. Earning Your Wheels will ensure that these students are trained to meet the requirements of modern trucking fleets, while the TOWES screening tests will establish that they have a solid foundation in learning-related skills.

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