B&R Eckels Transport Ltd. Generously Donates 53-Foot Trailer to Portage College's Class 1 MELT Program
August 23, 2023

In a demonstration of community partnership and commitment to education, B&R Eckel's Transport Ltd. has made a significant contribution to Portage College by donating a 53-foot Stoughton Van Trailer to enhance the Class 1 MELT (Mandatory Entry Level Training) program. This generous donation will significantly impact students' learning experiences and further elevate the quality of training provided by Portage College.

Recognizing the importance of safety training and education in the trucking industry, B&R Eckel's Transport Ltd. readily agreed to contribute to the betterment of the Class 1 MELT program.

“The future of the trucking industry depends upon well trained professional drivers who possess a wide variety of skills. We are confident that the addition of the 53’ trailer will provide the opportunity for advanced skill development and future career success. B&R Eckel’s is committed to supporting the communities in which we operate, and we are happy to be able to contribute to the success of the MELT training offered by Portage College,” said Roxanne Ringuette, Director of Human Resources and Communications at B&R Eckel’s Transport Ltd.

The newly donated trailer represents a remarkable addition to the program's resources. This extended trailer will provide students with an invaluable platform to refine their cornering and backing-up skills – essential competencies to master the driving test and excel in their future trucking careers. The larger sized trailer promises enhanced learning opportunities and a more comprehensive training experience.

The Class 1 MELT program offered by Portage College is a rigorous curriculum comprising 57 hours of in-truck training, 40.5 hours of classroom instruction, and 15.5 hours of in-yard practice. Students are guided through essential aspects of truck operation, including air brake systems, pre-trip inspections, and advanced maneuvering techniques. Glenn Onciul, one of the driving instructors at Portage College, shared his insights into the program, highlighting the significance of hands-on practice and continuous learning to ensure students' success.

Enrollment numbers for the Class 1 MELT program reflect its growing popularity. The remarkable support from the community has led to the upcoming December Class 1 session in Lac La Biche already at full capacity. Additionally, the Class 3 program in June welcomed 12 students, and the upcoming September Class 3 session has a waiting list, indicative of the strong interest and demand for these courses.

Portage College's commitment to delivering exceptional training extends across various locations, including St. Paul, Cold Lake, and Lac La Biche. The College's adherence to Alberta Transportation's rigorous standards, including approved testing yards and designated testing routes, ensures that students are well-prepared for success in their examinations.

This generous donation by B&R Eckel's Transport Ltd. opens new avenues for growth and expansion within the Class 1 MELT program. The additional trailer will empower Portage College to potentially introduce new trucks, hire additional instructors, and accommodate larger student cohorts. Glenn Onciul underscored the importance of maintaining consistent practice to retain learned skills, emphasizing the potential benefits of additional resources for student development.

Portage College expresses its gratitude to B&R Eckel's Transport Ltd. for their unwavering support and commitment to the success of its students. This donation is a testament to the profound impact that collaboration between industry and education can have on shaping the next generation of skilled and proficient truck drivers.

Instructor Glenn stands in front of donated trailer
Portage College Class 1 MELT Instructor Glenn Onciul in front of the 53’ trailer donated by B&R Eckel’s Transport Ltd.

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Corporate Communications Department
780-623-6671 or email

We acknowledge that Portage College’s service region is on the traditional lands of First Nation Peoples, the owners of Treaty 6, 8 and 10, which are also homelands to the Métis people. We honour the history and culture of all people who first lived and gathered in these lands.
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