EDMONTON, Alta. – Alberta has announced two programs to make driver training more affordable and less time consuming, thereby improving access to trucking jobs.
The $3-million Driving Back to Work grant program will cover up to 90 percent of the cost of the Mandatory Entry-Level Training (MELT) for 300 unemployed Albertans to earn a Class 1 commercial truck driver licence, the government said Thursday.
The Experience and Equivalency Class 1 MELT Training Program will reduce the time it takes for Class 3 drivers to upgrade to a Class 1 licence.
“These changes do not affect the high training and safety standards required by MELT in order to keep Alberta’s roads safe,” the government stressed.
The cost for MELT training for Class 1 drivers is capped at $10,000, but the current average cost across Alberta is $8,900.
After successful completion of the Experience and Equivalency Class 1 MELT Program, all participants will be required to pass the Class 1 MELT knowledge and road tests to obtain their Class 1 commercial driver’s licence.
Unemployed Albertans who qualify for employment insurance and can apply for the grant online, the government said.
Transportation Minister Ric McIver said the programs are designed to put Albertans back to work.
“Farmers, foresters, roughnecks and truckers made it clear that cost is the major barrier to hiring Albertans. Providing better paths to earn a Class 1 licence will help deal with a shortage of truckers, getting our goods to market safely,” he added.
The Alberta Motor Transport Association (AMTA) welcomed the initiative, saying it will help put Albertans back to work while ensuring essential supply chains remain resilient.
“This grant will ensure that the new transportation workforce is trained by professional road and safety experts while we continue to address the issue of driver shortages and support Alberta’s economic recovery and diversification,” said AMTA president Chris Nash.
“The Alberta Motor Transport Association will continue to advocate for new ways to meet the demands of a more sophisticated and data-driven global supply chain while ensuring the utmost in safety training.”
The initiative is part of Alberta’s Recovery Plan, a strategy to build, diversify and create tens of thousands of jobs as the province fights Covid-19.