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Tech students team with industry for ground-up truck build

Posted: April 14, 2016 by Today's Trucking Staff

MISSISSAUGA, ON – It was a full ground-up build for apprenticeship students at Fanshawe College, who now have tonnes of new building experience and a functional truck made possible through parts donations from Meritor Inc. 

The students, who took a field trip to Truck Word Thursday, started with elements from three separate trucks and a hood from a 1985 Mack Midliner. To assist the project dubbed Fast Forward, Meritor donated two axles, a driveline and brakes to students. 

Students enrolled in the college’s truck and coach technician apprenticeship program are donating their own time to build the truck and have it ready in July for sponsored events and races at the Truck Nationals throughout Ontario. 

“It’s industry-driven, apprenticeship-built,” says Mark Russell, program coordinator for the truck and coach technician apprenticeship program at Fanshawe College. 

The donated parts have a combined retail value exceeding $18,000, making Meritor the largest sponsor of the project. 

“As North America continues to face a growing shortage of technicians, it’s critical that the industry focus on developing the next generation of people who are qualified to maintain commercial equipment,” said James Taylor, Meritor’s general manager of field Sales for North America. 

Under the hood has some surprises. It’s a 6V92 two-stroke retrofit diesel, supercharged with twin-turbo and nitrous. 

“In addition to learning about fabricating and assembling different parts, building a truck is an opportunity to harness the workmanship of apprentices and channel their creativity so they can showcase their skills,” said Russell. 

The project started in July 2015. Students have assembled the chassis and the engine and recently mounted the cab, hood and transmission. 

“In terms of the truck’s visuals and performance, we’re working toward a neat, nostalgic look and sound,” said Russell. “We’re getting closer to the appearance and sound we’re looking for, and it’ll be exciting to see and hear the engine run.” 

Students in the truck and coach technician apprenticeship program work at truck repair facilities. Their employers release them for three two-month time blocks at Fanshawe for a combination of workplace-based training combined with classroom and online sessions. Once their apprenticeship is completed, the graduates earn a 310T technician license issued by the Ontario College of Trades. The licensed technicians can work in all Canadian provinces. 

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