By Stephen J. Donkers
A revamp of Humber College’s AZ commercial driver training program could be beneficial to a coming shortage of truck drivers, said Humber officials.
“We’ve worked hard over the years and always listened to the trucking industry as to what their hiring standards are,’ said Humber Transportation Liaison Officer Rick Mikula.
“Our Humber programs have evolved over the years so we are taking it to the next generation of programing.”
The relaunch of the AZ commercial driver training program at the Humber Transportation Training Centre is set for April 18.
More in-truck training and increasing the number of hours from 172 to 214 are included in the revamped program.
A recent study from the Conference Board of Canada found there will be a shortage of 25,000 to 33,000 truckers by 2020 which will affect the trucking industry and the Canadian economy.
The study found that thousands of current drivers are approaching the retirement age and there are a small number of drivers as replacements.
Mikula said people of all different ages train year round to be drivers, but the biggest hurdle for young people becoming truckers is being insured.
He said many trucking companies do not want to insure people who are under 25 years old.
“We have an insurance industry that really controls what we do,” Mikula said.
“Even if we give them (students) all the skills and knowledge necessary to be employable, they are handcuffed by the insurance industry and companies.”
Michael Myler, a Humber commercial driver trainer, said the new AZ program and other truck driving courses will benefit new drivers all ages.
“If students are more trained then they’ll be accepted by companies as entry level drivers,” he said.
“Everyone is looking for a couple years of experience so if the companies are willing to entertain entry level drivers, and give them extra training, I think the shortage will be down.”