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Alta. professional driver certification in jeopardy
RED DEER, Alta. -- It was supposed to be Canada's first professional truck driver training standard. Now, it looks as if the Professional Driver Certificate Pilot Program will be shelved. According to the Alberta Motor Transport Association, the class-1 training certificate program at Red Deer College, which is based on the Canadian Human Resources Trucking Council's Earning Your Wheels program, is not getting enough interest from students and carriers. The level of training and length of the program makes it difficult to include a class-1 component in Alberta's booming economy, says AMTA. “I have talked to many students and companies who want to enter and support the program but when they find out that it doesn’t include the Class 1 license and as the result the student is unable to earn a wage for the majority of the 20 plus weeks, they don’t sign up," says Dennis McCarty, PDC Program Chair.

AMTA says it'll be a huge step backward for
trucking if the professional standard fails
As the result, a proposal was submitted last month to Doug Horner, the Minister of Advanced Education & Technology, to modify the course to include the Class 1 licence and to shorten it to 12 weeks -- 8 weeks of theory and behind the wheel supervised driving and 4 weeks of supervised practicum under a company coach/mentor, reports AMTA. "With the inclusion of the Class 1, the student would then be eligible for Employment Insurance funding, similar to an apprentice program, and an employer would be able to utilize the remainder of the time to provide company specific training and experience. As the result, the student does not have to endure a period with no income and the carrier has a qualified driver after 12 weeks instead of 20," says AMTA. However, some private schools in the region have raised concerns about unfair competition. "We are not sure why this is an issue as any driving school can go through the process of becoming accredited to provide the training which meets the national standard for the industry," responds AMTA. "For the good of the industry, we trust that the Minister and his staff will support the changes. "It will be a huge step backward in training for the transportation industry if this pilot program fails." AMTA is asking carriers and drivers to support the continuation of the program with a Class 1 component by contacting provincial government representatives or to Minister Horner’s Executive Assistant, Jason Krips, at jason.krips@gov.ab.ca. Meanwhile, proponents in B.C. say they're a step closer to a achieving a minimum, non-mandatory professional driver-training standard in that province. The B.C. Trucking Association says it has received approval in principle to go ahead with a program by the Industry Training Authority (ITA), which is the agency that oversees the B.C. industry training and apprenticeship system.
 
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