Newsroom

Thursday, September 2, 2010

BC Professional Truck Driver Training Program Back on the Road

For Immediate Release

BC Professional Truck Driver Training Program Back on the Road

Langley, B.C., September 2, 2010 - The Transportation Career Development Association (transCDA) and the BC Trucking Association (BCTA) are rolling out the industry-developed and supported BC Professional Truck Driver Training Program on September 6, 2010, with anticipated full delivery across the province by the end of 2011. This new, voluntary training program is a milestone for aspiring professional truck drivers, employers looking for qualified, experienced entry-level drivers to join their teams, and for the economy of BC.

The Asia Pacific Gateway Skills Table has secured partial funding for this program through the Strategic Training and Transition Fund, the federal government initiative supporting provinces and territories assisting workers to retrain or transition to new jobs. "The steady growth of trade through the Asia Pacific Gateway depends upon skilled workers in numerous sectors, including the trucking industry. We're pleased to support a program that will train more and better professional drivers for the Gateway," said Skills Table Executive Director, Oksana Exell.

"Through the Strategic Training and Transition Fund, as well as our support for the Skills Table, the Government of Canada is taking action to make sure we have the best educated, most skilled, most flexible workforce possible," said Diane Finley, Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development.  "This program will go a long way towards accomplishing this, while making the Asia-Pacific Gateway more efficient and productive."

The first delivery of the Professional Driving Training Program in September is a pilot test approved by the BC Industry Training Authority (ITA) as the next step in creating a certified program for delivery within ITA's training system.

The program puts trainees through eight weeks of classroom and practical instruction, a four-week work practicum overseen by a company coach, and 1000 hours of solo driving with regular assessments prior to certification. This three-pronged training approach exceeds that of any other truck driver training programs currently available in Canada and will produce better-prepared entry-level drivers. Twelve trainees taking part in the pilot test will start their classroom and in-cab training at the Mountain Transport Institute in Castlegar.

"Our focus on improving the skills of British Columbians is key for our economic success," said Moira Stilwell, B.C. Minister of Advanced Education and Labour Market Development.  "Professional driver training is one of the many ways we are working to improve productivity for businesses, and opportunities for residents."

"Our partnership with transCDA and BCTA on this project will help establish a valuable new certification system for the transportation industry and recognition for professional drivers," said Kevin Evans, ITA CEO.

Russel Robertson, transCDA CEO, says the Professional Driver Training Program demonstrates the support of the Province and the federal government for transportation-related sectors. "Transportation accounts for 1 in 7 jobs in BC - this program will provide motor carriers in this sector with the labour resources they need to keep freight moving safely and efficiently."

BCTA President and CEO Paul Landry agrees. "Truck drivers are professionals, with valuable skills that are sought after and rewarded by the industry. But training for new drivers has been lacking and not enough new recruits have been entering the industry. With certification, both students and employers get a state-of-the-art training standard that everyone can trust."

Delivery of the Professional Driver Training Program is made possible thanks to funding from the Skills Table, the ITA, and BCTA's Flemming Sondergaard Legacy Program. 

See the Backgrounder: BC Professional Driver Training Program for additional details.

BCTA is the recognised voice of the provincial motor carrier industry, representing over 800 truck and bus fleets and over 250 suppliers to the industry. BCTA members operate over 13,000 vehicles and employ 26,000 people in BC, generating over $2 billion in revenue in the province annually. 

transCDA is the recognised catalyst for efficient industry training programs and career development services that meet the needs of all stakeholders in BC's transportation industry.

The Asia Pacific Gateway Skills Table is a federally funded cross-sectoral organization of Gateway stakeholders that responds to human resources and skills development pressures associated with the growth and expansion of the Asia Pacific Gateway. The mission of the Skills Table is to ensure the Gateway has enough people with the right skills and training to meet its needs.

The ITA was established as a crown corporation in 2004 to oversee and expand BC's industry training and apprenticeship system and works with industry and employers, trainees and apprentices, labour unions and training providers to meet industry's current and future training needs.

Strategic Training and Transition Fund: Through Canada's Economic Action Plan, the federal government is investing $500 million in a two-year Strategic Training and Transition Fund. The fund will support provincial and territorial initiatives that help workers retrain to retain employment or transition to new jobs in communities and sectors affected by the economic downturn. It will also ensure that individuals affected by the downturn are eligible to participate in the training or other employment initiatives that they need during difficult times. 

-30-


For more information, please contact:

Paul Landry, President & CEO, BCTA
Office: 604- 888-5319   Cellular: 604-787-1335   Toll free: 1-800-565-2282

Russel Robertson, CEO, transCDA
Office: 604-998-4512   Cellular: 604-910-9235



Asia Pacific Gateway Skills Table wishes to acknowledge the funding support from the Sector Council Program, Human Resources and Skills Development Canada and the Asia-Pacific Gateway and Corridor Initiative led by Transport Canada.