In recent years, many operators have faced driver shortages. Diversified Transportation has gone further than most to do something about it. On October 29, the Edmonton-based company held a grand opening for its latest recruiting tool: the new, 20,000-square-foot Professional Driver Training Centre. MCI attended, bringing with it the MCI Driver Training Simulator, which Diversified used for a week.
Actually open for a year now, the facility was built to attract and educate new recruits as well as provide ongoing training for the company's 250 or so current drivers. The training for accepted applicants is provided at no charge — in fact, students are paid for their time — and graduates are guaranteed a job with Diversified Transportation upon graduation.
For driver-trainees who already have Class 2 commercial licenses, the training takes about 40 hours. Those who are accepted with only an automobile license might have to spend 80 hours or more in training. The Training Centre employs four full-time and two part-time instructors; time is divided between classroom sessions and on-the-road training. The training covers all aspects of coach operation, from basic skills to safety and logbook procedures.
So far, 175 drivers have passed through the Training Centre; about 85 percent have been new coach drivers, says Rick Colborne, vice president. "No question. Without the Driver Training Centre, we'd have some difficulty meeting our staff needs," says Colborne. "Our economy in Alberta is still pretty strong, and there's a shortage of drivers."
A subsidiary of Pacific Western Transportation, Diversified Transportation has a fleet of more than 500 coaches. Much of the company's business is concentrated in Alberta, where it provides transportation for the construction and energy sectors.
Note: MCI makes its mobile Coach Driving Simulator available to all customers who would like to use it to fine-tune their staff's behind-the-wheel skills. For more information, contact your MCI Fleet Support Manager.
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