Great Plains College first to offer distance learning option for commercial semi-drivers

Great Plains College is pleased to announce that it will be the first educational provider to offer a distance learning option for Saskatchewan drivers to obtain the mandatory standardized training requirements to acquire a Class 1 commercial license. The distance learning option will provide the same curriculum standard that is available for those students attending the in-classroom theory training.

Drivers seeking a Class 1 commercial license in Saskatchewan to drive semi-trucks are required to undergo a minimum standardized 121.5 hours of training (in-classroom, in-yard and behind the wheel) focusing on priority curriculum areas including basic driving techniques, professional driving habits, vehicle inspections and air brakes. Since May 2019, the college has provided the 47 theory hours of in-class training that is required as a prerequisite to receiving the remaining 74.5 hours of in-yard and behind the wheel instruction.

“With the challenges presented by COVID-19, our in-class theory training sessions have been temporarily unavailable to the public,” stated Fritz Eckstein, region manager of Great Plains College. “In response to these challenges, the college will provide the theory segment in a distance learning format which would meet the ongoing needs of the population looking to achieve their Class 1 commercial license.”

“We are excited to be the first Saskatchewan educational provider to offer this option to future semi-truck drivers in our province,” added Eckstein. “The distance learning platform meets the curriculum standards developed by SGI to meet the legislated Mandatory Entry-Level Training program.”

Once meeting and completing the theory requirements of the training, the students have the ability to contact a driving school of their choice to complete the practical components of the training. The college’s certification of completion for the theory segment does not have an expiry date which allows the learners flexibility to take the practical training as they see fit.

The distance learning delivery option will be presented by experienced instructor Bill Martens who also provides the in-class theory sessions to students. Martens is a certified SGI instructor with a wealth of knowledge as an experienced truck driver, trainer and licensed examiner. Students will also benefit from a series of electronic presentations and resources, videos and interactive training software during the learning process.

The first distance learning course option is scheduled to begin on June 15 – space will be limited, so early registration is encouraged. For more information about the Mandatory Entry-Level Training (MELT) program, delivery options, funding opportunities or to register, visit Questions can also be directed to safety training coordinator Angela Kazakoff via phone 306-778-5461 or via email at