Trucking company's donation puts University College of North's mechanics program in high gear

·3 min read

The University College of the North’s (UCN) Heavy Duty Mechanics program has recently received a Highway tractor from Transolutions Truck Centre.

The donation will allow UCN students to gain practical experience working on the 2013 Volvo 630 MR Highway tractor. UCN’s Heavy Duty Mechanics program provides its students with broad-based training in the heavy-duty mechanic field for 10 months.

“I discovered quite a lack of modern equipment when I was hired in January under a term position to teach the Heavy-Duty Mechanics program,” said UCN Heavy Duty Mechanics Instructor Lyle Skulmoski on Monday.

“Equipment has changed a lot in the last years, and a lot of the equipment we had here were older, outdated equipment. We needed newer technology for the students to make their education more valuable and current.”

The program focuses on sound theoretical training, meeting the challenges presented by the complex designs found in on-road and off-road trucks, as well as construction and forestry equipment.

Fundamental skills of the trade are reinforced through exposure to practical applications.

“In this trade, our students are very visual, hands-on learners. If we don’t have this equipment, it makes it quite tough for students to learn,” said Skulmoski.

During the summer months, Skulmoski sent out emails and placed many phone calls to different companies and manufacturers looking to see if there was anything they could do to help.

The President and Co-Founder of Transolutions Truck Centre in Winnipeg, Ken Talbot was the only one who reached out to Skulmoski’s request for a donation.

Transolution Truck Centre, formerly called Freightliner Manitoba, is a brand-new state of the art Freightliner dealership that opened in March located on 45 Bergen Cutoff Road.

Over the phone, Talbot told Skulmoski he would be interested in helping UCN out.

In early October, Talbot called Skulmoski saying that he was willing to donate a 2013 Volvo 630 MR Highway tractor to the program.

The pickup was arranged on Oct. 23. The Highway tractor is currently residing at its new home at the UCN campus in The Pas.

The equipment will be used next year in January, which is when practical training starts for the students.

“Wouldn’t it be amazing if my customers had shops they could rely on in the north, that were trained on newer and modern equipment that would help them diagnose and repair problems?” said Talbot.

“This is for the next generation. If we cannot rely on them to be the best they can be, is it their faults or ours? We have to equip them with all the tools to make them the best,” he added.

The Highway tractor was previously taken in through trade from a customer. No one had bought the tractor straight after so Talbot thought that it would be perfect for donation.

“It is a nice tractor. It will last them for years since we wanted to give them something that will carry them through years of training students,” said Talbot.

Skulmoski noted that he is currently looking for donations on a modern crawler type dozer or backhoe which would further his students knowledge and experience.

Nicole Wong is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter who works out of the Winnipeg Sun. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada.

Nicole Wong, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Winnipeg Sun