Years ago when MELT was first being kicked around I was fortunate enough to meet with one of Minister Del Duca’s assistants at an industry function. She asked if we could meet the next day so she could get my opinions and thoughts about the announcement the Minister made the night before about pursuing MELT in the Province. Two hours later we were still talking about the Pro’s and Con’s, who the players should be at the table and what the goals and objectives would be. She asked for my help. Many, many meetings and consultation sessions have passed and as I write this blog MELT is days away for its launch. Let’s hope the licensing mills don’t screw it up…
As the incoming President (July 1st) of the TTSAO and their past Chairman of the Board for the past 2.5 years, I can shared with you that I am so proud and pleased with all of the stakeholders who participated in the process. Yes, there were people and organizations who were there for the photo ops, the usual and good for them but there were also many who were not there, not in the photo being recognized. – You all know who you are and a heartfelt thank you for all of your efforts. You have made a positive difference to our industry and all road users in the Province of Ontario.
To some of the Board of Directors of the TTSAO who played a major role, your commitment of time, expertise and professionalism was so appreciated by myself and many others around the stakeholder table. It was a pleasure working with all, specifically those at the Ministry of Transportation. As an industry, we could have not asked for a more cooperative team than Heidi Francis’.
So what happens now?
I reached back into my archives of blogs when MELT first was talked about. Will the licensing Mill issue be solved? I commented back then that the licensing bandits would find away around it. I said truth and time walk hand in hand, that time is here. I really hope I am wrong, I hope they don’t find away around to continue operating. One thing I among many others were pushing for was that our Professional Instructors should be certified. Although that did not happen, we have a commitment from our colleagues at the Ministry of Transportation in writing that it is at the forefront moving forward. You can bet that I and others will hold their feet to fire to ensure they honour their promise. This is critical in the quest for legitimizing the Commercial Driver Training Profession. Another question I asked in my past blog was once MELT is introduced who will police it? We will see. I do know this, were in a much better place today in our industry. To all the licensing mills – see ya! …I hope.
I have included my blog below from over two years ago, it nice to reflect sometimes, enjoy the read !
Is Mandatory Entry Level Driver Training What We Need?
Mandatory entry level driver training in the Province of Ontario is being pursued as we speak. The Blue Ribbon Task Force launched last year made up of some of our industries finest and the many other industry stakeholders are supporting this initiative. It may be one way to solve the licensing mill syndrome that that has put 1000’s of poorly educated commercial AZ operators behind the wheel in Ontario, I am not so sure. I think the training bandits will find a way around the system of Mandatory training. Truth and time walk hand in hand so we will see.
Isn’t there some other things we as an industry could be doing to improve the situation? You bet. How about for starters let make it mandatory that those instructors teaching the new commercial drivers are certified. Is it not crazy that all you need to instruct someone is a class AZ licence? There are true stories of licensing mills training people how to get their licence and turning them into instructors as soon as they graduate. My source? Someone at the Ministry who is in the know. How dangerous is this? Why is this being so overlooked? I am really not sure but if we have a mandatory education program for people who want to instruct in car and in class for G licence vehicles surely there should be some sort mandatory education process for those in the big rigs and those teaching in class for the biggest vehicles on our highways shouldn’t we?
For some of us in the business we have our own standards that are set. I can tell you at KRTS we have a career path for our instructors. They are Professionally educated and certified. Our instructors are very well qualified for what they do and this is very precisely documented in their files. Of course this comes with a price tag and it is one we absorb because we see it as an investment. Unfortunately, the consumer does not always see it when there shopping for training. Far to often we hear this – How much? How long? When can I get tested? We try our best to educate them on why they want to invest properly in their new career but far to often they purchase cheaper courses because they can and in most cases find employment with a less then reputable carrier. Here is the rub from my seat; great training by properly educated trainers on good equipment means great carriers who pay the best and offer our clients a long term sustainable career. Win, win, yes. The price tag much higher of course. In order to keep good instructors you have to compensate them properly, supply benefits, give them good working conditions, an opportunity for advancement, you know just like other industries. That investment is big but the return speaks volumes. For us at KRTS it means currently a 97% placement rate. It means a perfect first time pass ratio for our clients since September of last year. It means carriers who will take our grads ahead of those who run the mills and churn out poorly trained drivers and probably most important it fits with our culture it fits with our mission and our values. Mandatory Entry Level Training, should we go down this road? What is it going to cost us? Is it going to make the training business a commodity? I know one thing for sure, it is going to take some time to figure it out and Implement it. Then of course the big question is who is going to police it? Yes, truth and time walk hand in hand.