A grant for three-quarters of a million dollars was announced in Langley today to get 29 women and newcomers to Canada behind the wheel of commercial trucks.
There are 18 women in the YWCA Changing Gears program and a further 11 newcomers to Canada in the essential skills driver training at Douglas College, who will earn their Class 1 licence thanks to the $746,800 in funding announced this monring at an employer networking event at Valley Driving School.
The funding for these two driver-training projected was announced by Garry Begg, MLA for Surrey-Guildford.
“It’s great to see connections being made today between people eager to start new careers and employers looking for great people to help their businesses to grow,” Begg said. “Today’s event, and these two projects, are all about getting people moving towards a better life for themselves and their families.”
With a Class 1 licence, the participants will be qualified for any position in the trucking industry, including long-haul or bus driver.
More than 14,000 job openings for transport truck drivers are expected during the next 10 years. Another 4,000 transit operator positions are expected to become available over the same timeframe.
“Projects like this help people retrain and find new opportunities in growing industries,” said Shane Simpson, minister of social development and poverty reduction.
“Through a combination of on-the-job training and classroom instruction, the trainees get the skills they need to find a good-paying job, and employers have access to qualified employees who are ready to work,” he added.
“Not only does the YWCA Changing Gears program assist women in acquiring their Class 1 licence and securing a long-term career,” said YWCA program manager Tina Hurd. “It also provides them with the essential skills needed to be a successful driver, as well as a focus on health and wellness, safety and overall well-being in the industry.”
The Douglas College Class 1 skills driver training program was tailored to not only meet the regional labour market demand and industry need, said Douglas College programmer John Harrison. He said it “also ensure that newcomers to Canada can get quality driving, safety, and essential skills training to build a valuable career. We know that those who undergo this type of training are more likely to be considered for the top positions at companies, and are more likely to advance quickly… We love delivering this program, because there are so many people who benefit.”
Tamara Crabbe is a participant in the Douglas College program.
“To be given this opportunity is not something I have taken lightly,” she said. “Doing this course has given me the chance to have a financially stable future, and to enjoy the career that I am immersed in. The education offered through this program has given me an edge. I will forever be thankful for this opportunity and think that it will change the lives of people around me.”