A stigy driver is the person who drives a Stigy
drawn vehicle like a Stigy Bus
or Stigy Sleigh
. To become a licensed stigy driver, one must first follow an official training, and prove they are capable of taking care of a stigy, vehicle, and passengers.
There is only one school in all of Ghynzua
that specializes in training stigy drivers. The school is situated just outside Miraiy next to the training grounds for stigy's. Admission tests are held yearly all throughout the Empire. It is difficult to get accepted into the program though. Only twenty people are picked out of the thousands who take the test. After being selected the actual work begins.
The best day of my life was the day I got accepted into the Stigy Academy.
Students are required to take up residence in the school. But most are a long way from home anyway. Their training takes three years in which they not only learn everything there is to learn about becoming a stigy driver. Third-year students will also train their own stigy. Which is no small feat.
First year of training
In the first year education focuses mostly on theory. Students learn the anatomy and behavior of stigy's. How to keep a stigy healthy and happy. Which safety measures must be taken when working with stigy's. They also learn about the vehicles stigy's can pull. And will travel with their class to the workplaces where these vehicles are made. To pay for their lodging and education, students also work in the stables. At the start of the school year they learn how to clean the stables. As the year progresses they will also become involved in feeding, bathing, and entertaining toddler stigy's.
Keep in mind that these animals can easily crush an adult human. They are not only huge and incredibly strong. They are also extremely intelligent and have a memory far superior to ours. You do not want to mistreat a stigy.
Second year of training
Although the second year brings more theory for the students the emphasis shifts to working more with the stigy's themselves. Under guidance of stigy trainers the students become involved in training adolescent stigy's. This allows them to bond with the stigy that will become their partner animal. And they learn how to train their own stigy.
Stigy's receive what we call toddler training from the moment they have been weaned. They are between 4 to 6 years old then. Toddler training involves things like learning simple instructions and playful exercises with toys to learn them basic tasks. Toddler training lasts about five years. After that the stigy starts a more serious training and we as trainers learn what each individual stigy enjoys the most. Some love pulling a stigy bus while others show great interest in assisting with building infrastructure.
Third year of training
This year focus lies on finalizing the training of the stigy, which students will partner up with after they graduate. At this point one has to be able to take care of their stigy without help. Most duo's will end up in transportation after they graduate. Others go into construction. In this final year theory focuses for a big part on the field they will work in. Those who will transport people will learn how to behave towards clients, how to deal with difficult passengers, what to do in case of emergency, etc. Those who go into construction will learn extra safety matters for themselves and their stigy. But also how a stigy can be used in construction.
The past two years you all have worked hard to get where you are now. You did so as an individual. This year that changes. From now on you have a partner. Your own stigy. You complete your education together. You graduate together. The only way to succeed is if you both help each other to finish your training. You don't graduate unless your stigy graduates with you.
Once graduated from the Stigy Academy
the new driver and their stigy start one year of apprenticeship with a master stigy driver. This means that they are never alone on the road and always have someone to fall back on in case of trouble. In the beginning of the year the apprentices drive behind the master, but as the year progresses they will be expected to take the lead from time to time. The new driver receives an apprentice license when they graduate, and a full license when they successfully finish their apprenticeship.
With a full license in their pocket driver and stigy can finally work for their own. Stigy drivers are self employed although they receive their own stigy as part of their training. The vehicle they drive - whether it is a bus, sleigh, or cargo cart - is funded by the driver and stigy during their apprenticeship and stays with them after they become licensed. The full license must be renewed every year. If a driver and/or stigy misbehave, they can lose their license. Which means they can no longer perform their job.
After ten years of working as a stigy driver it is possible to receive the Master Stigy Driver title. Both driver and stigy need an impeccable reputation however. Not all stigy drivers apply for the title since it means that you must take on apprentices. There are benefits to this though. Having an apprentice doubles what you can transport and therefore doubles your income. Sure, you need to get your apprentice a vehicle, but you buy it with partial funding from the government. And much of the profit you and your apprentice make ends up in your pocket. You only pay them a minimum wage since they need to repay the vehicle they received. By the end of the year most masters will have made a bigger profit than what they would have earned on their own.
Grandmaster is a rare title, only granted to those who have done extraordinary deeds. It is given by the Empress herself and involves a grand ceremony at the The Imperial Palace
. Grandmasters receive extra benefits like funding at the discretion of the Empress. Sometimes they are offered a position as Imperial Driver. This can be anything from driving around diplomats or Council members to driving around the Empress herself. The title of Grandmaster is only given to humans. But after an act of extreme bravery, and the rescue of a delegation of Grand Council members, Bumble
went into history as the first stigy to receive this title.