The Ministry of Transportation in British Columbia introduced the Mandatory Entry Level Training (MELT) program for all those interested in obtaining their Class 1 driver’s license in October 2021. The course is designed so that all new commercial drivers are equipped with the right knowledge and skills to transport goods across the country safely and confidently.
What Does The MELT Program Entail?
The MELT program has to be taken at an approved driver training school. You can find a list of approved institutes here. The MELT program consists of 140 hours that include theoretical learning, practical in-yard training along with on-highway driving components. With a focus on safety, the MELT program helps you learn to navigate B.C.’s mountainous driving conditions and drive in diverse climatic conditions. The program also includes air brake training along with six hours of flexible practical training. Although students are given 1 year to complete the program after enrollment, most finish within 1 -2 months.
How Much Does the MELT Program Cost?
Driving institutions set their own fees for the MELT program. They typically cost between $10,000 and $20,000. While this may seem like a lot, truck drivers get paid well even when they are just starting off, making it easy to manage payments for the program. Additionally, there are several funding options available that can help you cover the cost of the program.
Funding for the ICBC MELT Program
Some of the funding options available for those aspiring to complete the MELT program include:
WorkBC Centre Services
WorkBC Employment Services are designed to help unemployed people find employment. People are assessed on an individual basis and receive help to develop short- and long-term work goals. As a part of this, WorkBC also offers skills enhancement services which can include support for tuition and financial support. Currently, eligible individuals can receive up to $7500 as a contribution toward the costs of training in all occupations and sectors. You can contribute to the rest of your tuition yourself or look for other funding mechanisms. To know if you are eligible for WorkBC funding, contact your local WorkBC Centre.
The Vancouver YWCA also offers a free 24-week truck driving training program for unemployed self-identifying women under its YWCA Changing Gears program.
Indigenous Skills and Employment Training (ISET)
The Indigenous Skills and Employment Training (ISET) Program helps Indigenous people build their skills and find employment. Depending on your circumstances, you may qualify not just for tuition assistance but also funding for services like childcare, living support, and transportation while you are undergoing your training program.
BC Employer Training Grant
The BC Employer Training Grant has been put in place to help employers provide increased job security or a better job for a current employee once training is completed, or a job for an unemployed person. Under this scheme, employers can receive up to 80 percent of the cost of training up to $10,000 per employee and must cover the remainder of the fees themselves.
You will need to check with a potential employer or your present employer if they have applied to and qualified for this grant before you start training.
Community Workforce Response Grant
The Community Workforce Response Grant is designed to ensure people from every background can reach their full potential. This funding supports in-demand skills training for those who are employed part-time, casually, seasonally, and precariously employed, providing up to $15,000 per applicant. However, since the aim of the grant is to provide flexible and timely responses to emerging and urgent labour and skills needs in B.C., it is recommended that first-time applicants contact the Community Workforce Response Grant by email to discuss eligibility before applying.
BC Trucking Association MELT Grant
The BC Trucking Association offers a MELT grant to motor carrier members to support relevant skills training for unemployed or currently underemployed employees. Candidates cannot be full-time employees of the company at the time of application. The grant offers a maximum of $2,500 per candidate, providing all eligibility criteria are met.
A Class 1 driver’s license can open doors to a new and satisfying career on the roads with plenty of job security.
As one of the leading bulk agricultural transport companies in Canada, Agri-Trans Services is always on the lookout for committed drivers with a strong work ethic, offering great benefits packages and pay for the right individuals. Check out our website to learn how you can have a fulfilling career with us!