A new Canada wide scholarship program has been introduced to attract technical program students to careers as heavy-duty technicians. Produced as a partnership between Shell Canada and the Heavy Duty Distributors Council (HDDC), the Heavy Duty Technician Scholarship recognizes the dramatic shortage facing the heavy truck industry. It has become increasingly hard to hire qualified technicians, says HDDC president Robert Sidall. So it was welcomed when Shell approached the HDDC with the idea of partnering with the HDDC on a scholarship. Owen McNammon, manager alliance sales, commercial sales and marketing, Shell Canada, says the shortage of skilled labour in Canada can have a significant economic impact if not addressed. We recognize the impact that a shortage of skilled technical workers is having on the industry today and the future of Road Transport in Canada, says McNammon. With the number of technicians currently employed by fleet companies ready to retire in record numbers in the upcoming decades, we need to act now. On an international scale, Canada has one of the most serious cases of skilled labour shortages. Two-thirds of employers in Canada report having difficulty filling positions due to a lack of suitable talent, well above the 40% of employers globally. We are now competing with other countries and other sectors to develop, attract and retain skilled technical workers in the transport sector. The scholarship will provide $1,000 in assistance to six students annually from across Canada. Beginning this September, students enrolled in their second year of a transport-related program in a Canadian Association of Motive Power Educators institution are eligible to apply for the Heavy Duty Technician Scholarship. The recipients will be chosen based on their academic merit, financial need and desire to contribute positively to the future of the trucking industry. Were hoping that the scholarship and communication will increase awareness about the issue and encourage participation from other companies in the transport sector. We need to convey that good opportunities and support exist in the industry, and having both Shell and the HDDC step up to the plate is a good thing. We should be proud, that as Canadians, we are taking the initiative to start leading this change, says McNammon.