WINNIPEG, Man. — Manitoba Public Insurance will invest $5 million in a training partnership to offset tuition costs and train up to 250 drivers annually to National Occupation Standards.
Over the next three years, annual injections of $1.65 million will help up to 750 Manitobans become Class 1 drivers.
The program would be available to trucking companies that insure their fleets with Special Risk Extension, a separate line of business run by the commercial trucking arm of Manitoba Public Insurance, which competes for commercial trucking business with other insurance companies throughout Canada. None of the funding will come from Basic Autopac customers.
“We are dedicated to supporting Manitoba’s trucking industry, which that has supported our SRE line of business in the past,” said Marilyn McLaren, president and CEO of MPI. “This initiative helps our customers meet the increasingly competitive demands for employees, enabling them to continue to be successful and grow. When our SRE customers are strong and healthy, it’s good for our business too.”
SRE specializes in small and medium-sized trucking firms that are headquartered in Manitoba although it also insures many larger international carriers based out of Manitoba.
Insuring commercial carriers represents about 80% of the SRE book of business.
About 430 companies including about a dozen with more than 150 vehicles in their fleet make up Manitoba’s $1.2 billion a year trucking industry. The industry accounts for about 33,000 direct and indirect jobs.
Minister of Infrastructure and Transportation Ron Lemieux said the program will help address the serious shortage of truck drivers in Manitoba. Hampered in recent years by a shortage of drivers, the industry believes it needs to attract about 15,000 new drivers to Manitoba companies over the next 15 years simply to sustain the current workforce.
“The government is committed to helping our industries meet the challenges of change,” he said. “This program was developed in collaboration with the industry to respond for the increasing demand for qualified drivers.
The new training initiative was built with the support of Manitoba Competitiveness, Training and Trade. It will work in concert with, not in competition with, current provincial training initiatives.
The three-year agreement with the Manitoba Trucking Association (MTA) will allow the MTA to co-ordinate the program and screen candidates, while the SRE customer commits to completing on-the-job training, practicum and provide the candidate with a job upon completion of the program.
Manitoba Public Insurance provides all training costs, provide the candidate commits to refunding the costs if they are unsuccessful or do not stay employed by an SRE customer for two years.
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