RyTy Truck Donation Boosts GPRC’s Training Capacity
Tuesday, April 20th, 2021
GPRC's latest tractor-trailer truck, donated by RyTy.
New tractor-trailer truck will help the College address soaring demand for truck drivers in Alberta.
GRANDE PRAIRIE - A 2005 Western Star truck bearing Grande Prairie Regional College’s (GPRC) logo will soon be rolling through the Peace Region, drawing attention to a rewarding career pathway. The tractor-trailer truck was recently donated by RyTy who specialize in oilfield transportation and understand the benefits of building the College’s driver training program capacity.
“RyTy attended driving forums on campus where we were discussing the various challenges employers and training schools were facing to meet requirements,” said Chad Boone, GPRC’s Industry Training Coordinator and Manager for the College’s Driver Training School. “We had reached a pinch point in the number of students we could train and one of the key obstacles was the lack of a tractor and a trailer. That’s when RyTy stepped up and said they could help.”
It’s a gift that couldn’t come at a better time as the demand for truck drivers has risen significantly during COVID-19 and waitlists for training programs are currently sitting at five months. According to a recent Trucking HR Canada report, three in five employers experience difficulties filling truck driver positions, yet the total number of vacancies in Canada has more than doubled in the last five years. By 2023, it is anticipated that there will be a shortage of 3,600 drivers as qualified Class 1 commercial drivers across the province continue to retire.
Truck drivers are integral in keeping the province’s supply chain and economy moving. With this in mind, the Government of Alberta introduced Mandatory Entry-Level Training (MELT) in 2019 as part of its renewed focus on core skill development and safety. More recently, the province introduced a $5 million Driving Back to Work grant program to help eligible unemployed Albertans get their class 1 qualification.
“Support for our students and program is certainly coming from a number of directions,” adds Boone. “Like any vehicle, our fleet can experience downtimes due to mechanical or weather issues so this new RyTy addition not only helps us navigate the unexpected, it provides more scheduling flexibility enabling us to train Class 3 and Class 1 program participants simultaneously.”
The College’s fleet of training vehicles now includes four tractors and three trailers. The tractor-trailers are used regularly as part of GPRC’s MELT Class 1 Driver Training program, which focuses on in-vehicle, one-on-one training. After successfully completing the 5-week program, students are eligible to take their Class 1 road test.
“The generous donation from Gilbert Francois is a great example of how a simple gesture can go a long way in delivering shared benefits,” said Boone. “Given the rising demand for training and qualified drivers in our region, GPRC would love to hear from similar businesses who can help us expand our fleet even further.”
To learn more about GPRC’s Continuing Education department and Class 1 Driver Training please visit GPRC.me/DriverTraining. If you are interested in exploring a donation to GPRC please connect with Chad Boone, Industry Training Coordinator at CBoone@GPRC.ab.ca or by phone at 780-539-2799.