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Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Bradley Takes Case for Entry-Level Driver Training to Ministry of Colleges

Bradley Takes Case for Entry-Level Driver Training to Ministry of Colleges
Posted: Sep 3, 2013 12:03 PM | Last Updated: Sep 5, 2013 07:30 AM

TORONTO — Following a meeting with Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne on the shortage of qualified truck drivers, Ontario Trucking Association (OTA) President David Bradley took the issue to Brad Duguid, Minister of Training Colleges and Universities (MTCU).

According to the OTA, Wynne agreed with Bradley that action should be taken to address the problem of a shortage of qualified truck drivers in Ontario.

One of the ways to address the shortage of skilled, professional drivers is implementing mandatory entry-level driver training, Bradley said. "… (Wynne and I) discussed the fact that in order to operate a heavy truck safely and productively — in other words to be employable — requires a higher level of entry level skills training today than ever before,” Bradley wrote in a letter to Duguid.

Many truck driver training schools provide excellent entry-level training, Bradley explained, but the quality of skills training overall is inconsistent and often inferior “with the standard of training provided predicated on how many dollars the prospective student driver has in their wallet, not what is required to be considered for employment by all but the most irresponsible carriers or driver agencies.”

According to Bradley, much of the low assessment can be attributed to a lack of adequate funding sources, a class A licence test that is too easy to pass, and a multiplicity of standards and curricula. The fact that there are two ministries involved (MTCU and MTO) has created an inconsistent approach, plus there's a general deficit of awareness and buy-in.

What the trucking wants and needs in terms of driver training has been lost, Bradley explained, adding that the trucking industry also “shares in the responsibility for not enunciating its requirements sooner and therefore allowing the current situation to arise.”

“Mandatory entry level training is essential if we are going to address the training quality issues that confront the industry. And, without the industry’s ability to attract young people who are increasingly turning to the trades as a career choice will be severely constrained,” Bradley wrote.

To get the ball rolling, the Canadian Trucking Alliance (CTA), OTA and the other provincial trucking associations will be starting a proposed three-year project to lay the foundations for mandatory entry-level training. That will include updating the existing National Occupational Standards, supporting curriculum development, and exploring various accreditation models, CTA said.

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