frequently asked questions
How do I get started with my training?
Most of our class 2 and class 3 students begin by taking the Air Brake course with us, then write the Air Brake knowledge and Learners exams with ICBC at the same time. Class 1 MELT students will need to take the ICBC class 1 knowledge test first (which also includes air brakes questions), in order to be accepted into the MELT program.
To get started studying for your knowledge tests, you can pick up the free "Guide to Driving Commercial Vehicles" book from any Valley Driving School office or your local ICBC location. There are also online practice exams available HERE. We would recommend scheduling an appointment for your knowledge tests with ICBC asap as they are quite backed up for appointments. You can make an appointment for a knowledge test with ICBC online or via phone at 1-800-950-1498.
I want to get my class 1, do i have to take the MELT Program, or can I take a smaller program?
Effective October 18, 2021, a person applying for a new BC class 1 driver's licence must successfully complete the BC class 1 MELT course before attempting an ICBC class 1 road test.
The only exception to this may be someone who received a class 1 licence in another provice as BC will recognize the full class 1 MELT courses from other provinces, but with some exceptions. Ontario class 1 drivers may be required to complete an Air Brake Course and pass an Air Brake Pretrip Inspection. Alberta class 1 drivers who have only completed the Alberta class 1 "Experience & Equivalency Course" will be required to complete BC's full class 1 MELT course. Documentation detailing your training/testing from another province will be required.
As in the other Canadian provinces with a class 1 MELT requirement, BC will not provide any sector specific exemptions for drivers who require a class 1 driver's licence to operate within an industry.
This aligns with feedback from the BC trucking industry and driver training industry that basic entry-level training is necessary to operate heavy vehicles that require a class 1 driver's licence. This is necessary for road safety reasons regardless of what industry a driver is operating in, where they may be operating, or how frequently they are operating.
Contact ICBC at 1-800-663-3051 for more information and to discuss your specific licensing needs or check out our MELT FAQ page for more answers to frequently asked questions about class 1 MELT.
How do I choose a driving school?
Choosing a driving school can be confusing, there are many schools and training programs to choose from. Any school must be licensed by ICBC and each Instructor must have a professional driver training Instructor licence along with completing the necessary criminal and medical checks.
But beyond those very minimum requirements, a driving school should be:
• Flexible to your needs. Multiple office locations can offer options for dates and times for classes that meet your scheduling needs. Instructor and lesson availability will allow you to choose appointments that work for your busy chedule.
• Teaching more than to pass the road test. Memorizing certain areas or routes may help you pass the road test but it will not make a safe, confident driver that can drive independently. Coaching students to think independently creates a safe and confident driver who, as a result of their strong driving skills, will pass the road test. By coaching on how to make safe decisions rather than just telling students what to do, it allows the student to develop the necessary critical thinking to make the correct decisions during their lifetime of driving. Once the driving Instructor or qualified supervisor is no longer in the vehicle, has the new driver developed the ability to make their own safe and confident decisions? If a student has always been told what to do when making a left turn, will they be able to confidently and safely make that left turn while no one is there to direct them?
• Offering a variety of Instructors. Are you able to request a certain Instructor or describe the type of Instructor you’d like to be matched with? If you want to change Instructors, is the school able to accommodate a change?
• Consistently upgrading the knowledge and skills of their Instructors. Continual training and upgrading ensure Instructors are always up to date with all driving rules & regulations and are providing accurate information to their students. Routine evaluations of an Instructor's teaching methods provides you with the confidence to know you are receiving highest quality training sessions.
• Recommendations from others. Ask friends and neighbours; have they or someone they know taken training, can they recommend a school? Why did they choose this school? What feedback or reviews have been posted online?
• Check details. A school’s cancellation policy/charges and privacy agreements should be available and will allow you to ensure your investment and information is safe.
• Offering progress reports. Does the Instructor summarize the training session and provide a report for you to review? Lessons should be in conjunction with practicing with a qualified supervisor. Completing a progress report will help the supervisor know the areas to review to ensure on-going driver development.
How many lessons should I take?
I am looking to drive a school or transit bus, do you offer Class 2 training?
Most buses have automatic transmissions and we offer Class 2 Automatic training on our school bus. Class 2 licence holders are also qualified to drive any motor vehicle or combination of vehicles in class 4, including working for ride-hailing compaines.
I’m a company looking to train my employees, what can you offer for both licensed and unlicensed employees?
We offer a variety of training options to companies and their employees. Please contact us at 604-856-0115 or by email so that we can connect you to our Corporate Relations department.
Can I practice my pre-trip on your trucks before my test?
We have group pre-trip courses available to you as part of your program and your Instructor will also cover pre-trip procedures during your training with us.
Our online training website is also a great resource when practicing your pre-trip for your road test.
I am only available on weekends, can I take lessons on Saturdays or Sundays?
Yes, we can arrange your lessons for Saturdays and Sundays for class 2, class 3 and class 4 students. We would recommend being available 2-3 times a week in order to keep your training consistent and relevant prior to the road test.
Our Instructors are available daytime, evenings, and weekends to accommodate a variety of schedules.
Class 1 MELT training dates and times are pre-scheduled with no flexibility in re-scheduling. Daytime, evening & weekend availability is required in order to complete the 8-12 week class 1 MELT program.
Can you tell me if I’ll pass my Road Test?
Our Instructors would be happy to complete a lesson and advise you of your current strengths and skills as well as any habits that may require additional practice prior to testing.
If you have already previously taken a road test on your own, we would be happy to schedule the use of our vehicle for an ICBC Road Test at your earliest convenience. If you still have your original test papers, we would recommend scheduling time for you and our Instructor to go over the results.
Will I be able to find a job as a new truck driver?
Yes! Valley Driving School students are in high demand with employers. Current students and graduates receive exclusive access to our online job board where reputable employers in the transportation industry are looking to hire Valley Driving School graduates. Apply for employment that matches the class of licence you are currently training for, or have recently obtained.
Do you offer financing on truck training?
Yes! We offer interest-free payment options! Training may be scheduled upon receipt of a deposit towards your program, with the balance being due during the course of your training. Details regarding a payment plan for your specific training schedule can be discussed further with our office staff.
If you wish, you may pre-pay for your package and should you decide that you will not require the entire package, we will only charge you for the training you received and we will refund the balance.
Students may receive funding through various sources such as WorkBC, WorksafeBC, YWCA, Douglas College, RRSPs & RESPs. For those new to the country both ISS of BC and Windmill Microlending provide low interest loans to fund local training for immigrants. If you are looking at another company for funding, you are more than welcome to attend any of our offices to receive a personalized Acceptance Letter and a packet of information.
The BC Trucking Association (BCTA) is also offering a grant opportunity to motor carrier members to support relevant skills training for unemployed or currently underemployed employees to the needs of the business and the participant’s job. The BC Trucking Association (BCTA) will act as the administrator for this Grant Opportunity and funds accessed will be used to pay for Mandatory Entry Level Training (MELT) throughout BC. The Grant Opportunity is only open to BCTA members.
More information regarding other funding options and grant opportunities can be found via the Government of BC website.
HOW HAS COVID-19 AFFECTED MY TRAINING AND/OR MY ICBC ROAD TEST?
Covid-19 has affected all of our lives in various ways, including training with Valley Driving School and testing with ICBC. Please see our Covid-19 FAQs for more information.