An equipment donation to Northwestern Polytechnic (NWP) is opening up the possibility to expand the program. Earlier in the month, the institution received a donation of two trucks and two buses. The addition of these four donations is expected to increase how many students the Professional Driving Training Programs can accommodate, with the potential of 25 more drivers being trained each year. NWP Associate Dean of Continuing Education Michelle Wallace says that over the past fifteen years, it is one of Continuing Education’s most demanded programs, but they have seen a surge in demand since the pandemic.
“The delays in the supply chain have really highlighted the need we have for professional drivers,” Wallace says. “As well as in 2019 the provincial government instituted mandatory training for professional drivers and so that has also increased our popularity in the program.”
Wallace says that the industry partnerships that the school has been essential to the continued success of the Professional Driver Training Program. These partnerships also help the school stay aligned with the need of the industry and community, while continuously allowing them to give the students hands-on training. She adds that it is not just the school and students that see a benefit, but also the businesses as well.
“A lot of times we have sent their current employees through the program, and have trained the students out in the marketplace looking for jobs.”
Wallace says that what she likes about the continued industry partnerships is it tells the school what is needed so that they can continue to set the students up for success. She also explains that the addition of the these four new vehicles to the fleet does open the potential for 25 new drivers to be added in the future, it currently allows the school to offer the full program.
“What has happened in the past is we have had a few repairs, and we have had a few older vehicles in the fleet that we have had to retire – so what we generally can do is train six students every five weeks.”