There’s the select few that were ‘born’ or ‘destined’ to do what they do for a living. Others say their career ‘found them’ at the right time in their life. Regardless of where we started, we’ve had to take the time to learn the skills, look to others for guidance, and understand how the industry operates in order to be where we are today.
If you’re interested in becoming a professional driver and joining the transportation sector, Ontario’s line-up of TTSAO-accredited truck driver training schools are available to help you. Under the mandate of the Truck Training Schools of Ontario (TTSAO), these accredited schools are designed to meet the standard that’s set and enforced by the industry.
Private Motor Carrier had the opportunity to speak with Bill Lipsit, CDS, Director of the Zavcor Training Academy; George Cierpich, Owner of Metro Truck Driving School; and Gurshawn Gill, Administrator of Haulage Network Driving Academy to discuss their training programs and how they can help pave the way into your new career path.
Zavcor Training Academy
For over 30 years, Bill Lipsit has been in the transportation industry – as a driver, dispatcher, transportation manager and now Director of Zavcor Training Academy. His underlining dedication to health and safety precedes him, his credible reputation, and all that the Zavcor Training Academy stands for.
Zavcor Training Academy offers courses to obtain licenses, including AZ, Tractor-Trailer, and DZ. The AZ License is standardized under the Mandatory Entry-Level Training (MELT) program and consists of 200 hours of in-class and practical training in the yard and on the road.
Bill explains that the standardized 200 hours doesn’t define the added time the Zavcor team invests into each and every student. “We are responsible for our students, and we take the time to ensure that they feel comfortable with what they’re learning and handling. If they have any questions along the way, or even after they’ve graduated, they know that we are there to help.”
At Zavcor, it’s more than a training academy: it’s a community of students, instructors, graduates, and industry professionals that are working together at all stages in their careers. One a student graduates from Zavcor Training Academy, they enter Zavcor’s Finishing Program and are groomed for employment as an entry-level driver at Zavcor Trucking Limited or its network of carriers.
Bill explains that Zavor has a good reputation in the industry, with a 90% pass rate and diverse line-up of instructors (and their areas of expertise).
“One of instructors was formally an ice road trucker, another runs flat beds… we have a huge variety of instructors that offer different tools to equip their students,” says Bill. “It creates a powerful dynamic, where students can learn different areas of expertise and be properly equipped for any given situation when they’re on the road.”
Metro Truck Driving School
George Cierpich is proudly one of the founding members of the TTSAO and the owner of Metro Truck Driving School that, for 30 years and counting, has given students throughout Brampton, ON, the tools to become entry-level professional drivers.
Metro Truck Driving School offers training for A, B, C, D, E, and F licenses; the A license “Metro MELT – 108 hours” program, where graduates can operate any tractor-trailer combination, takes five weeks to complete and is structured under the Mandatory Entry-Level Training program.
George explains that the program offers something for everyone, with its in-class and hands-on training program and line-up of qualified instructors.
“All of our instructors have a minimum of five years’ experience in the field, where they’ve handled all sorts of situations and equipment,” says George. “Our instructors are qualified and know different tricks to teach different people. Every instructor and student is different, so we have something for everyone.”
Metro Truck Driving School’s 30-plus years in the industry has earned a valuable reputation, where transport companies in the Brampton area “welcome Metro graduates with open arms.”
“You know what you’re going to get when you hire a graduate from Metro,” says George.
Haulage Network Driving Academy
Gurshawn Gill with Haulage Network Driving Academy wants you to know that their students aren’t just trained – they are prepared to handle the road test and immerse themselves into the industry.
Haulage Network Driving Academy offers a variety of training programs for both aspiring truck and bus drivers. For those getting into trucking, Haulage Network Driving Academy delivers the AZ-MELT program and provides training for both DZ and AR licenses. For those interested in driving a bus, Haulage Network Driving Academy provides training for the B, C, E, and F class licenses.
Gurshawn explains that at the heart of Haulage’s offerings are its team of experienced instructors. “As the saying goes, experience is the best teacher.
Our instructors are abundantly experienced in Ontario’s transportation business, collectively spending several decades in various aspects of the field. They know what it takes to succeed in the industry and take pride in molding aspiring operators into professional drivers,” says Gurshawn. “They have been in the same spot as each of our students and understand what factors will affect how they drive and, ultimately, the safety of Ontario’s roads. Safety is incredibly important, and our instructors take great pride in helping students become safe, licensed, and successful professional drivers.”
Gurshawn explains that Haulage Network Driving Academy is structured so that their programs are accessible and available to anyone who’s interested in becoming a commercial vehicle operator. The Academy offers different packages and financing options, starting at $500. Additionally, many students use certain licenses as a path to a permanent residency in Canada, while others want to drive their new recreational vehicles.
“We work with each of our students to understand what their post-test goal is and see how we can help them reach it,” says Gurshawn. “The next step depends on the graduate! Majority of the time, the graduate aims to work as a driver within Ontario’s transportation industry. We make this possible with the help of the TTSAO group’s wonderful resources and industry partners!”
Founded in 1993, the Truck Training Schools of Ontario (TTSAO) is the largest association representing commercial truck driver training programs in Ontario. Each year, TTSAO-accredited schools certify over 7,000 entry-level commercial drivers under the mission to support the commercial driver training industry through advocacy, networking, education, and certification programs that help members produce the highest quality of professional drivers possible.
Kim Richardson, President of the TTSAO, is proud of the community that the TTSAO and industry represent and how it collectively supports individuals entering the field.
Kim explains, “The TTSAO accredited schools are vetted and established educational institutions that have been prequalified by industry subject-matter experts prior to becoming members.
Many insurance companies and brokers –
along with some of the finest trucking companies in the industry, private and for-hire – support the TTSAO in other membership categories. Service providers also see the value of membership. A strong committed Board of Directors bring hundreds of years of experience to the TTSAO, making this group’s efforts appreciated by all industry stakeholders and government.”
Whether you were ‘born’ into it, ‘destined’ to become a professional driver, or decided to explore a new path, know that the TTSAO and their line-up of accredited truck driver training schools – and the community of industry professionals that surround it – are available to help you be successful on your journey in the transportation industry.