Portage College Class 3 Driver Training grant continues to pave the way for new employment opportunities within our region
January 15, 2024

In early 2023, Portage College was selected as the recipient of a grant from the Government of Alberta that provides fully funded Class 3 Driver Training for unemployed Albertans.

The program is aimed to provide students with the necessary skills and certifications to enter the transportation employment field in a wide variety of job opportunities across various work sites. Along with gaining Class 3 Driver Training, air brakes, and safety certification training, students also have their resume and cover letters refined and their job interview skills enhanced as part of the program. The program launched in March 2023 in Lac La Biche. Since its launch, 4 separate cohorts of 12 students have gone through the program. Many students quickly go on to find new jobs and exciting opportunities after obtaining a Class 3 license.

Janice Blair was one of those students.  She entered the program while unemployed and battling depression and, as she put it, the program quite literally changed her life.  “I was completely depressed before this program.  But I went into it and succeeded, and now I work for a company where I get to take a beautiful big Hydrovac up into the mountains every day. I learn something new every day with this job and I am extremely grateful for the opportunity Portage College and this grant has given me.”

One of the instructors for the program, Glenn Onciul, reiterated many of the same points Janice brought up for several of the students he has seen come through the program. “Waiving tuition fees has allowed students who were running into hard times in life an opportunity to complete a quality program and find good work. Anyone who has completed our Class 3 driver training program and passed it has gone on to start working in the industry. Some have also gone on and started taking the MELT Class 1 course after passing the Class 3 training. It’s truly been a life-changing experience for many students, which has been awesome to see as their instructor.”

Nancy Broadbent, President, and CEO of Portage College, also had this to say about the program and its success so far. “The College is so grateful to the Government of Alberta for partnering with the College to provide Class 3 training across our region.  Having qualified truck drivers is essential to the demand for labour and supports the economy in our region.”

 Portage College is thrilled to see the program doing so well and creating new opportunities for so many students already.  With three more cohorts for the program scheduled already, including the next intake set to begin January 31 at the St. Paul campus, and a total of nine cohorts expected to be completed by March of 2025, Portage is excited to see even more students given such a great opportunity.

For more information about the Class 3 Driving to Work program, email Continuing Education at training@portagecollege.ca or call us at 780-623-5631.

Portage College Student Janice Blair at her new job.

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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