School District 73 (Kamloops/Thompson) and the BC Trucking Association (BCTA) today announced they will partner to develop and deliver a Professional Driver Training Program through NorKam Secondary School’s new Trades Centre of Excellence, with enrolment of students in Grade 10 targeted for September 2014.
The program, the first of its kind for high school students in B.C., will join three other technical trades training programs at the NorKam Trades Centre of Excellence, which is now in the design phase following the signing of a formal project agreement with the provincial government in March 2013.
“Thanks to the vision of the Board of Education and Senior Administration, students with the interest and aptitude to pursue a career in trucking will have a head start in high school, mastering a curriculum endorsed by the industry, and they’ll be job ready upon graduation” says Greg Howard, District Principal, Trades N’ Transitions.
Louise Yako, President and CEO, BCTA, says that this partnership couldn’t have come at a better time for the trucking industry. “Trucking companies across Canada are facing a shortage of from 25,000 to 30,000 professional drivers by 2020, largely due to retirements in the industry. BCTA has been aware of the shortage for some time, but the challenge was to find a way to engage youth and promote their interest and entry in the industry. We’re extremely excited to be taking part in this program.”
BCTA will work in cooperation with School District 73 to develop a training curriculum suitable for youth. This would consist of introductory modules for students in Grades 10 and 11, followed by a full semester of driver training in Grade 12, including training “in-cab” using a driving simulator. BCTA was instrumental in the development and pilot test of an industry-supported Professional (Truck) Driver Training Program, completed in 2010 with the BC Industry Training Authority, which may serve as the model for the NorKam program.
“Increased opportunities for all types of trades training are important for BC students,” says Howard. “By offering high-school level Professional Truck Driver Training at the Trades Centre of Excellence, we’re making training more accessible and affordable for those who want a career in trucking. We’re also meeting the needs of BC’s industry at the same time. It’s a terrific opportunity for both.”
A Steering Committee consisting of representatives from School District 73, BCTA, Thompson Rivers University, and the Asia Pacific Gateway Skills Table will oversee development of the program, with delivery of the Grade 10 curriculum for approval by January 2014 and implementation in September 2014. Curriculum for Grades 11 and 12 would follow in 2015. The Steering Committee will be supported by two sub-committees made up of trucking industry employers and subject matter experts.