Manitoba Trucking Association seeks new home for driver training program

By Greg Grisolano, Land Line associate editor | 6/19/2017

The conclusion of a long-running pilot program that paid the tuition of students interested in pursuing a career in trucking has left the Manitoba Trucking Association exploring options for bringing the program back in some other form.

Terry Shaw, executive director of the Manitoba Trucking Association says the decision by Manitoba Public Insurance to sunset its tuition reimbursement plan that pays for entry-level driver training to qualified candidates in the province is “bittersweet.”

“We’re obviously not thrilled the program is going away, but we get it,” Shaw said in a phone interview with Land Line on Monday.

Shaw said MPI, a non-profit Crown Corporation, started the tuition reimbursement a decade ago as part of the Entry Level Professional Truck Driver Training Program. The program provides driver training and financial support to qualified candidates who want to work in the Manitoba trucking industry. It was originally meant to be a three-year pilot program.

A representative with MPI told CBC News that the program was being phased out, effective June 30.

“We wanted to work with MPI to invest dollars to create successful truck drivers and we think we were able to accomplish that during the course of this program,” MTA’s Shaw said.

Shaw said the program has helped “hundreds” of truck drivers in the province pay for schooling. He said MTA hopes to work with the provincial government to start a similar program under the auspices of a different government agency.

“We’ve been championing for years to have mandatory entry-level driver training program posed where it should be – in the education system,” he said. “We’re working with the provincial education system to get this program or a program very much like it, the home it needs, which is in the industry training system.”

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