If you follow the transportation industry at all, you might know that for the past few years, there’s been a shortage of truck drivers across North America. We haven’t been hit quite as hard as the States, but it’s the same on both sides of the border – there’s a higher demand than ever for ground shipments thanks to the rise of companies like Amazon, but it’s becoming increasingly difficult to find qualified drivers.
What this means to you is that it’s an excellent time to attend truck driver training, and even though it’s now become more difficult to get licensed, there are also more resources available to help you successfully train.
MELT and The Truck Driver Shortage
Beginning in July of 2017, the requirements to become a licensed truck driver became significantly more stringent due to a new set of regulations called Mandatory Entry-Level Training, or MELT.
Now, you might be wondering, “If there was a truck driver shortage, why make training harder?” The problem boiled down to this: Because of the driver shortage, more and more shortcuts were being taken to get drivers onto the road. The regulations were so behind-the-times that they didn’t even require actual on-the-road experience!
This led to the rise of cut-rate schools that could only be called diploma mills, giving students the bare minimum amount of training necessary to pass their written DZ or AZ license tests – and that was it. These “drivers” did not have anything like the skills necessary to work commercially and were a menace on the road. An unskilled driver behind the wheel of 80,000 pounds of truck and trailer could do incredible damage!
So, the government stepped in and significantly increased the requirements for accepted truck driver training, including behind-the-wheel hours. That was simply necessary for public safety.
The problem is, that made truck driver school expensive.
The Cost of Truck Driver Training
The fact of the matter is that a decent driving academy is not a cheap venture. If you do the math, a truck driving school with adequate equipment -like working trucks and trailers- and experienced staff can cost upwards of $100 per hour, per student, to run. That truly does add up to many thousands of dollars in tuition, generally $6,000 – $9,000 depending on the program, and there’s no getting around it.
So why does this mean it’s a GOOD time for you to enter the industry?
Because the industry seriously needs drivers, and they’re paying.
Major shipping companies like Schneider are now outright offering to pay for the tuition of incoming drivers – in exchange for a stint at the company, of course. They’ll also go out of their way to help hook you up with any other scholarships and reimbursements you might qualify for, such as veteran’s benefits.
On top of that, there are now even government programs such as the Canada-Ontario Job Grant which are designed to assist existing trucking company employees and new employees to train at a truck driving school to start the process of becoming professional drivers.
In short, even if you previously thought you couldn’t afford quality truck driver training, there is a very good chance you qualify for aid that pays for most or all you’re licensing.
5th Wheel Training – Trusted Within the Industry
5th Wheel has been here since the 1980s, with deep roots in the transportation industry. We have always been committed to providing well-rounded heavy machinery training programs with plenty of genuine behind-the-wheel experience. Because of that, we’re also one of the top schools the industry comes to when they need recruits.
If you even think truck driving might be for you, give us a call and let’s talk about it.