Category Archives: Starting a Training Facility

Training Schools Focus on Carrier Based Training

There are a number of things that differentiate one school over another such as instruction styles, courses available, longevity in the industry, and commitment to professionalism. The focus for any good school should be the student and their success after the course in the workplace for their chosen career path. Over the years I have seen schools that are more interested in filling seats than student success.

A school focused on student success will have a course structure allowing for students to learn all aspects of the industry. They will be challenged as close to real life scenarios as possible during their training so that they have an understanding of what a career will entail when they complete the course. This is carrier-based training and as a student this is the type of training you should be looking for when researching training facilities.

It has been seen in the past where a school will take a student on a certain route in order for them to memorize the road orientation so that they are successful when taking the licencing road test. Many of the testing centres use a certain route for their testing so schools will follow that route so the student is better prepared. Even if the student passes however once they get into a real life scenario they get into trouble.

We have seen the same issue with inspections where students are memorizing a certain system but not really learning what issues to look for on a truck. They pass the test but then have problems when road testing with a carrier because they haven’t learned how to do an inspection the way a carrier would like it done. A good training centre will teach a student what to look for and learn the reason why they have to do certain things, not memorize routines.

truck driver in drivers cab
Carrier-based Training

The Truck Training Schools Association of Ontario (TTSAO) has always designed their curriculum to help the student be successful when applying to carriers after the training is\ complete. This means ensuring the membership is delivering carrier-based training for their students and that the courses are set up to give them real life solutions to problems on the road. Carriers expect students to come out of a training facility with a certain amount of knowledge and training so that they can be taken to the next step of a Finishing Program. If a student doesn’t have the basics of their training they won’t be successful and able to go to the next step. This is why carrier-based training is so important.

The TTSAO will be focusing on instruction and training at the 5th Annual Conference where Philip Fletcher of Commercial Heavy Equipment Training and Dave MacDonald of Revolution Staffing will be talking about carrier-based training and how training facilities can ensure student success when transitioning to the carrier.

Learn more about the presentation here

The question then becomes is your training curriculum focused on the student being successful when applying for employment with a carrier or is it focused on the student passing the licence test? If your focus is the latter then you may not be delivering carrier-based training.

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Have you registered for the conference?

About the Author

Bruce Outridge has been in the transportation industry for over 30 years. He is an author of the books Driven to Drive and Running By The Mile, and host of The Lead Pedal Podcast. TTSAO also known as the Truck Training Schools Association of Ontario has certified member schools in the truck training vocation ensuring quality entry level drivers enter the transportation industry. To learn more about the TTSAO or to find a certified school in your area visit www.ttsao.com

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Is Your Training Centre Technologically Savy?

As we move into 2020 the world of transportation is changing. Big issues like insurance and driver qualifications are top of mind and the driver shortage increases in the distance. The transportation industry has generally been an industry that is behind the times in many ways due to the large expense of equipment and changing of regulations. Technology has forced the transportation industry into a new age and it is now surpassing the average advancements of many industries. For instance our technology advancements to date have been primarily in the areas of safety and fuel efficiencies with better braking systems, hours of service technology, and increased fuel mileage systems. As we moved out of 2017 and into a new decade we have focused on driver technology such as driver-less trucks which has been driven from the driver shortage. We now find ourselves with technology that is ahead of our infrastructure and regulations. What does that mean for you as a school?

Driver-less trucks are still a long way from being standard in our industry so from a training standpoint I don’t believe you have to worry about not having students but that doesn’t mean technology isn’t important to your training program. Much like airplane pilots truck drivers will require retraining whether they are driving trucks or some sort of spaceship. As our industry focuses more on technology to move goods around the Country training programs will be expected to be technologically savy as well.

Imagine showing a new student a new truck with all of the computer and automated systems for the future. There eyes well up with excitement of steering this impressive machine down the road as they wonder how they will ever learn how to drive the truck. You tell them you can train them and take them into your training facility and sit them down at a desk. You open a book and tell them to read chapter one while you open up an old PowerPoint you have been using for years and begin to talk about how the truck works. What do you think that student will be thinking? Will they feel confident in the training?

Virtual reality training
Virtual Reality Technology

As our trucks and industry become more sophisticated our training needs to match the same level of technology. Now imagine that same scenario with the same student but instead of a presentation and a book you have them slide on head phones and handsets. The student is now virtually transmitted into a virtual truck the same model as the one you showed them in the parking lot. The student is amazed that they can flick a switch marked afterburners and feel the power of the machine. The virtual seat hugs them as they begin to drive the truck in a virtual world. A robotic voice talks them through the next navigation and they look to the passenger seat to see you sitting right beside them. The transformation is instant. Will that student have confidence in your training now?

It may be a while down the road before every training centre has virtual capabilities but I think we can all agree that is the way the training industry is going. Knowing what technology is available and how it can be adapted to your facility should be something every training provider is keeping up with to make their facility as technologically savy as possible. If you haven’t thought about how technology applies to your classroom then attending the TTSAO (Truck Training School Association of Ontario) 5th Annual Conference should be your next step. There will be a technology panel discussing options available with experts able to answer those questions. You can learn more about the panel here.

TTSAO-Conference-2020-Banner-r4
Have you registered for the conference?

About the Author

Bruce Outridge has been in the transportation industry for over 30 years. He is an author of the books Driven to Drive and Running By The Mile, and host of The Lead Pedal Podcast. TTSAO also known as the Truck Training Schools Association of Ontario has certified member schools in the truck training vocation ensuring quality entry level drivers enter the transportation industry. To learn more about the TTSAO or to find a certified school in your area visit www.ttsao.com

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Build Your Truck Training School Business for 2020

Happy New Year from the TTSAO. The Truck Training Schools Association of Ontario ( TTSAO) would like to wish you a safe and successful new year and all the best for 2020.

Speaking of 2020 the TTSAO is working hard to make our industry better from a training standpoint and we have a number of initiatives on the go which we will talk about in a minute. Time is moving faster and now is the time to get your training business in gear and ahead of the competition by learning new and interesting ways to market your business. In order to do that you need to know which way the industry is going.

If we had a crystal ball we would all be able to change our business models to be successful, but unfortunately life isn’t like that. There is a way for you to learn about the changes in the industry and hot topics that will help you focus your training business for the future and that’s at the TTSAO Conference. Every year the TTSAO holds a conference and usually the topics covered are initiatives or points of discussion that need attention in the industry. What’s hot this year?

TTSAO Conference 2018
Lou Smyrlis

Lou Smyrlis of Newcom Media is a leader when it comes to trends in the industry and where we seem to be heading. Smyrlis will be talking about changes coming up in 2020 and trends happening in the industry which are a great way to adjust your marketing and business for the future. You can learn more about Lou Smyrlis here.

Quality training is important for everyone especially carriers. When a training school completes the training with a student that student is then hired by a carrier that will finish the training with a good finishing program. The student must have those basics in order to be successful in a career as a professional driver and that’s where a good school comes in. Philip Fletcher of Commercial Heavy Equipment Training and Dave MacDonald of Revolution Staffing will be offering information on how to ensure your program is inline with carriers for a successful student transition.

Foreign workers and female truck drivers have been in the forefront for couple of years and is still in front as the industry struggles to bring in new people and both of those topics are being discussed in depth at the next conference. Vikram Khurana is an expert in International Recruiting and will be offering information on how we can bring foreign workers into the industry successfully.

Picture-Vikram-Khurana
Vikram Khurana

Helen Thorpe will be one of the panelists talking about women in the industry and how they can have successful careers in an industry that is predominately male. Thorpe has had a successful career in the industry and is looked at as a leader for women in trucking. You can learn about Helen Thorpe here.

Helen Thorpe
Helen Thorpe

Instructor qualifications are leading many discussions these days as the industry tries to create a uniform presence across the Country. Last year Joe Teixeira was the first recipient of the Instructor of the Year Award and a new recipient will be awarded this year. The award meant a-lot to Teixeira and helped his carrier with new ways of promoting their brand. View the qualifications by clicking the requirement file here.

Instructor of the Year

Technology and marketing will round out the hot topics as we look to how those trends affect students and the industry as a whole. Vickie Devos of iMVR will lead a panel on technology in the industry and tips on business and marketing will be talked about with Audra Thompson of Northbridge Insurance and Scott Rea of Avatar Fleet Services. Hopefully this will help you devise a successful plan for the future for your training location. As you can see we don’t have crystal ball but the next best thing are experts in the industry offering information to help you be successful. You can learn about the TTSAO 5th Annual Conference by clicking here.

Save your seat for the conference by clicking here.

About the Author

Bruce Outridge has been in the transportation industry for over 30 years. He is the author of the books Driven to Drive, Running By The Mile, and host of The Lead Pedal Podcast. TTSAO also known as the Truck Training Schools Association of Ontario has certified member schools in the truck training vocation ensuring quality entry level drivers enter the transportation industry. To learn more about the TTSAO or to find a certified school in your area visit www.ttsao.com

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Certifying Your Training Facility With TTSAO

The Truck Training School Association of Ontario represents training providers and associated members offering training programs for the transportation industry. Although anyone can join the association schools registering as an accredited school must be certified. Many associations don’t require that their members be certified to be involved but the Truck Training School Association of Ontario (TTSAO) is different.

To become an Associate Member, Carrier Member, or Insurance Member doesn’t require any certifications to be part of the membership, but for schools it’s different. One of the main reasons that the TTSAO was formed was to show the public and members of the transportation industry that not all training is the same. Truck driver training is critical to the development of a new driver and the training has to be a standard that the industry can recognize and depend on. The TTSAO created that standard by creating a network of like minded schools offering a certain standard of training that is above what the regulations suggest and with a curriculum that is standardized throughout their membership. This removes schools that are not offering proper training models and allows a group to be recognized as a professional association to governing bodies.

The Truck Training School Association has now come to the point where they are a respected Association within the transportation industry and students looking for training. Carriers and insurance providers have a say in the Association allowing for a more involved membership and information from all sides of the trucking industry. The next question is how do you get your training facility involved?

Since the TTSAO has a standard for their training facilities they have to make sure everyone is following minimum standards through an audit process. That audit process starts with the application process and will continue on a regular basis as long as the school is a member of the association. The process has a number of steps and qualifications that a new school or upgrading facility needs to meet in order to be accepted.

The reason it is important to be certified as an accredited school is to be able to offer your services to the transportation industry and to be taken seriously by carriers in the industry. Many of the carriers within the TTSAO membership will only accept applications from drivers that have attended a certified school showing that they have a certain level of training. There have been some horrific accidents over the years from new drivers that were not trained properly causing governing bodies to implement certain training programming like Mandatory Entry Level Training. Since TTSAO schools offer a standard 200 hour course for new students and the schools are audited on a regular basis carriers are comfortable that students are being trained properly. The association also fights against training facilities that don’t train students properly putting all of our lives in danger on the road. If you are thinking of starting a training facility, already have a school that you would like to make part of the association, or offer training programs for training facilities then visit the TTSAO website with information to guide you through the application process and be part of an association that believes in proper training for everyone.

Start an Accredited School with TTSAO

About the Author

Bruce Outridge has been in the transportation industry for over 30 years. He is the author of the books Driven to Drive, Running By The Mile, and host of The Lead Pedal Podcast. TTSAO also known as the Truck Training Schools Association of Ontario has certified member schools in the truck training vocation ensuring quality entry level drivers enter the transportation industry. To learn more about the TTSAO or to find a certified school in your area visit www.ttsao.com

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3 Steps to Learning the Truck Inspection Process

Learning how to conduct a truck inspection can be a daunting task when you’re a new student in a truck training school. There are many parts to inspect on a truck or bus and missing just one area can result in fines and downtime for any driver. This is why the inspection process is so important and a reason that every student has to take it seriously.

I recently attended a school to understand their yard work program and what students thought of going through the yard work process. The testing procedures have changed since the implementation of Mandatory Entry Level Training and has become more challenging for the student. Previously the inspection process was taught as a routine that a student would learn and show when testing for their licence. Over the years the testing changed to a random item test where the testing agent will ask the driver to inspect different items on the truck in various orders. The student doesn’t know ahead of time which items will be asked of them therefore having to learn the whole process.

Talking to instructor Jean at the school conducting the training for inspections I asked how the new way of testing has improved the training process? “Students have to learn the full schedule 1 with the new system. Previously the students were taught a routine for inspecting a truck, but due to the time frame in testing were memorizing what to say more than what they were actually inspecting. Because the requests are random students have to know exactly how to inspect an item and not just what to say to the tester.” Says Jean.

Instruction picture

One of the things I noticed when attending the training is that the students going through the program took the instruction very seriously. As a trainer myself I can tell you that not all students understand the importance of training or have the same level of determination. The students going through the inspection schedule, asking questions, and redoing tasks they didn’t understand or do correctly were determined to understand the components fully. Those are the students that will pass successfully but also make professional drivers in the future.

If you are a new student or someone just getting started in the process of looking for a training facility then there a few things you can do to ensure your training is successful:

  • Ensure you are attending a certified training facility. Certified schools have the top instructors that have the knowledge to show you the proper way to inspect items.
  • Participate in the training. Many times the inspection process is taught in a group setting. Don’t just stand on the side lines but be active taking notes, doing tasks, and asking questions.
  • Take your training seriously. Failing to inspect a truck properly can result in fines, delays, or even death. It is important to take your training seriously, review your work, take notes, and ask questions of things you don’t understand.

Truck inspections are required of drivers every day and there are many that don’t do them properly. They are important from a safety standpoint, required from a testing standpoint, and can minimize delays on the road, but only if you know how to do a proper inspection.

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About the Author

Bruce Outridge has been in the transportation industry for over 30 years. He is the author of the books Driven to Drive, Running By The Mile, and host of The Lead Pedal Podcast. TTSAO also known as the Truck Training Schools Association of Ontario has certified member schools in the truck training vocation ensuring quality entry level drivers enter the transportation industry. To learn more about the TTSAO or to find a certified school in your area visit www.ttsao.com

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Starting a Trucking School Includes More Than Just Buying a Truck

“I want to start a trucking school.” This is a statement heard recently at a truck show from a driver that was getting tired of the road and wanted to slow down in his career. He had some people interested in his local area and thought it may be a good way to continue his trucking career and be home more. ”I can just buy a truck, get some customers, and I would be all set”,he said. “How hard can it be?”

As our population grows older and drivers begin to look for ways to retire while keeping income coming in opportunities such as opening a small school or doing training on the side look more appealing. In fact we have many former drivers in the industry that have gone on to open consulting businesses, become truck driver trainers, or other home stationed positions in the industry. Anyone running their own trucking school can tell you it’s not as easy as it looks. A driver may have the experience of the road but that is just one piece of the puzzle to a successful school. Many drivers find out that their experience in the truck is not as easy to translate to students when standing in front of them in class.

TTSAO December 11th Meeting

What does it take to start your own truck driver training school?

You’ve decided that you want to start your own school, so what do you need to do? The first thing you want to look at before certifications, trucks, or anything else required is to decide on the type of school you will open. Will it be a fly by night school that is focused on a quick buck and the shortest courses possible? Will it be a proper certified school that operates with integrity and class? Both options are possible but only one is suggested. If you’re getting into operating a truck driving school for a quick buck then keep looking at business opportunities because a school is not for you.

Assuming you were to open a certified facility with proper integrity and courses then there are a number of things you have to do before you can even open the doors. Having all the documentation and information required is the first step in the process. This step can take months or years as you develop course material, attain insurance and other requirements for the training centre. Once you have that set up you have to register your course information with the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities to be registered as a Private Career College. After you have got those steps completed you may then want to apply for memberships with organizations such as the Truck Training School Association of Ontario. Marketing and other processes for a successful business begin at this point and have nothing to do with truck driving but will take time, money, and skills most drivers don’t have.

Start an Accredited School with TTSAO

You can get an official list of requirements on the TTSAO website-click here!

I can tell you from experience as a trainer in the industry that I have seen many drivers have trouble transitioning from life on the road to standing in front of a class of students. It can be done but it isn’t as easy as people think. If you are thinking of opening a training facility please do it with integrity and safety in mind. We have enough crazy drivers on the road and we don’t need a facility putting more bad drivers onto our highways. Good luck and make sure you do the proper homework for a successful school.

About the Author

Bruce Outridge has been in the transportation industry for over 30 years. He is an author of the books Driven to Drive and Running By The Mile, and host of The Lead Pedal Podcast. TTSAO also known as the Truck Training Schools Association of Ontario has certified member schools in the truck training vocation ensuring quality entry level drivers enter the transportation industry. To learn more about the TTSAO or to find a certified school in your area visit www.ttsao.com

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Driving School Culture Starts at the Top

Being involved with the training industry over many years both directly and indirectly I have heard reviews and complaints on certain types of schools in the industry. I have worked with good schools and heard and seen the bad ones. Many times looking at the schools from the outside may or may not allow you to tell the good from the bad. Both will have trucks, offices, and a website. The real difference comes when applying to a school, starting a school, or operating a successful school?

The industry has been changing over the years with the implementation of Mandatory Entry Level Training and certification processes by the Government that are ensuring that the proper training programs are available to the market. Incident rates have been climbing in recent years and training is being blamed for part of the problem.

When you think of it training facilities can implement many of the Government requirements, but that still won’t make them a good school. The reason is that the culture of the school is really determined by the staff or management of the facility and the dedication to safety and training of the students. If I have a school and am just concerned with putting students through the program in the fastest way possible then that won’t be the best school to attend even if certifications are in place.

Man driving tractor

There have been many reports of students being crowded into a truck with one instructor and showing them a specific route to pass the test. Other reports include instructors doing business on the phone when they should be training or cookie cutting courses in order to charge more money.

A school or company with a good culture will train their staff properly, offer quality in their course material, and have a focus on safety instead of value over money. They will have a good culture that drips down from the top throughout their curriculum and staff ensuring students have a successful program helping the industry have successful workers. Culture is king!

If you are a potential student looking for a training facility then talk to other students and make sure the programming is thorough, staff are safety minded and professional, and the training program will give you all the tools to start a successful career in transportation.

If you are an instructor in the industry ensure you really care about the learning process for your students and that they have the training to be safe professional drivers when they complete the program.

If you are a school owner or company providing training realize training is not about just filling the seats with bodies, but ensuring everyone providing training and contact from trainer to reception is offering quality service. The culture has to come from the top down.

If you are looking to start a training facility deciding on the type of training facility you will be operating and supporting through your business decisions will be paramount. No matter how much making money enters the equation the difference between success and a good name in the industry is culture. If you would like to learn about the steps for starting a training facility the TTSAO has the process documented on their website. You can find the information by clicking here.

Start an Accredited School with TTSAO

About the Author

Bruce Outridge has been in the transportation industry for over 30 years. He is the author of the books Driven to Drive, Running By The Mile, and host of The Lead Pedal Podcast. TTSAO also known as the Truck Training Schools Association of Ontario has certified member schools in the truck training vocation ensuring quality entry level drivers enter the transportation industry. To learn more about the TTSAO or to find a certified school in your area visit www.ttsao.com

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