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BC driver training pilot delayed

Posted: August 1, 2014

LANGLEY, B.C. — A specialized truck driver training program planned to launch in B.C. back in April was put on hold, but the province’s trucking association says the pilot program is still forthcoming.

According to local media, the Professional Truck Driver Training Program was delayed due to funding issues, but Paul Landry, president and CEO of the B.C. Trucking Association, says sponsorship from industry sources for the program will be in line this fall.

The BCTA has been developing the driver training program for three years in conjunction with the Transportation Career Development Association (transCDA). The voluntary pilot phase is the next step in obtaining final approval for the Professional Driver Training Program from B.C.’s Industry Training Authority (ITA), the Crown agency that manages the province’s industry training system, including apprentice trade programs that provide recognized certification for graduates.

Similar to existing apprenticeship programs, the curriculum combines classroom and practical training with work-based learning and incorporates two work placement components that trainees must complete prior to certification.

In total, students will be required to take 60 hours of classroom learning, 180 hours behind the wheel, four weeks of supervised work, and 1000 hours of paid work-based learning.

Landry noted that the current system of passing a short test to obtain a Class 1 learner’s licence is inadequate. He said some drivers just train for the test without learning how to handle the wider variety of situations they will encounter.

“The focus is not just on getting a licence, but also learning how to be a professional driver,” explained the BCTA’s Louise Yako in a previous interview. "So the student will also learn things like fatigue management, communications skills, and customer service. It goes above and beyond just driving.”

When the pilot training program launches this fall, it will be evaluated as it unfolds by a third party assigned by the ITA. If successful, the frequency of the training program in the future will be determined by demand and the organizers of the Professional Truck Driver Training Program would like to see it become a provincial requirement.

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