Making a Difference
(L to R): Sheldon Anderson, Dean of the Centre for Trades; Rob Mitchell, Service Manager, Southland International Trucks; George Kirkham, President, Southland International Trucks; Kevin Wiber, Chair, Crooks School of Transportation

A new partnership between Lethbridge College and Southland International Trucks will provide trades students with exclusive training opportunities, software and equipment to support their training and career development.

The five-year partnership with Southland – a Lethbridge service, sales, rental and leasing highway truck and trailer dealer – will provide students and faculty in the Crooks School of Transportation access to Navistar International Corporation and its International dealer network’s TECH EmPOWERment initiative. This initiative supplies accredited institutions with valuable training equipment, advice and insights into the opportunities available to aspiring technicians.

Lethbridge College is one of the first Canadian post-secondary institutions to become a TECH EmPOWERment partner. Southland will also be suppling Global Positioning System (GPS) access to two rental truck live data/information to enhance the college’s heavy duty training.

George Kirkham, President, Southland International Trucks

“Southland International has always been forward thinking and a huge supporter of trades education, from elementary to post-secondary,” says Sheldon Anderson, Dean of the Centre for Trades. “This gift will allow Lethbridge College students to remain at the cutting edge of technology and innovation, and it will give them an advantage when they embark on their careers.”

The TECH EmPOWERment program enables students to access valuable information on career opportunities available to service technicians in the transportation industry, as well as information on becoming a technician as well as job opportunities and dealer/school partnerships. The Southland partnership also includes the creation of a new annual Southland Heavy Equipment Apprentice Award.

“Every year we have 10 to 20 per cent of our staff taking training of different kinds at Lethbridge College,” says Rob Mitchell, Southland International’s service manager. “We’re always extremely satisfied with the quality of employees the college produces.”

George Kirkham, Southland’s President, adds “our support for trades education at Lethbridge College comes from wanting to secure our future pipeline of quality people and to be good stewards of our community. We want to encourage surrounding businesses to support education in the Lethbridge area and to give the next generation the chance to be successful.”

Rob Mitchell, Service Manager (left) and George Kirkham, President, of Southland International Trucks.

“We are thankful to see dealers like Southland International do tremendous work partnering with Lethbridge College, getting involved in their program and supporting them with all the tools and resources they need to engage more students in our industry,” says Ana Salcido, manager, Technician Recruitment, Navistar. “Commitment, loyalty and thinking outside of the box are some of the things we have seen from this partnership.”

Southland International Trucks Ltd. was founded in 1985 and is a family-owned business with more than 36 years in the industry. The company is the longest running truck and trailer dealership in Lethbridge.

Lethbridge College’s Crooks School of Transportation is a progressive school covering Automotive, Parts, Heavy Equipment and Agricultural Technology programs. The school offers all sections of apprenticeship offerings in all these trades as well as a certificate program in automotive service and another in agriculture and heavy equipment technician studies. The school is housed in the new, state-of-the-art Trades, Technologies and Innovation Facility, and it features well-maintained training equipment and professional instructors with substantial industry experience.