Go-Ahead Group launches Britain’s largest recruitment campaign for bus drivers

Posted: 29 May 2023 | | No comments yet

In a bid to meet transportation demands and bolster the vision of an integrated transport system, Go North West has launched a recruitment campaign with the goal of hiring 300 bus drivers for Greater Manchester’s Bee Network.

bus drivers Go-Ahead Group launches Britain's largest recruitment campaign for bus drivers

Credit: Go-Ahead Group

The Go-Ahead Group announced that it has initiated the largest bus driver recruitment campaign in Britain in preparation for the upcoming launch of the Bee Network public transport service in Greater Manchester. Go North West, the company’s bus subsidiary in Manchester, aims to hire up to 300 bus drivers for the newly established Elite Bus Driver Academy located in Bolton.

The recruited drivers will operate distinctive yellow Bee Network buses in Bolton and Wigan starting in September 2023. These areas are the first to be franchised under Transport for Greater Manchester‘s (TfGM) ambitious plan for local buses, which envisions an integrated transport system similar to London’s, incorporating buses, trams, rail, cycling and walking.

Andy Burnham, Mayor of Greater Manchester, said: “Bus drivers play a pivotal role in helping people all over Greater Manchester get to where they need to go. The Bee Network is set to transform public transport here and it’s great to see this huge recruitment drive taking place, as we prepare for the launch in September, and the creation of hundreds of jobs for local people. There’s no better time to get involved in transport, so I’d encourage anyone who’s thinking about becoming a bus driver to get on board with us.”

Go North West’s recruitment campaign, themed ‘Be an Elite Driver’, employs fighter pilot-style uniforms and imagery to entice applicants to strive to become the best in their field. The campaign encourages individuals to discover their unique qualities that make them exceptional and highlights the rewarding career prospects in the transport industry.

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Applicants will undergo a rigorous six-week training programme, available to both experienced bus drivers and those new to the profession. Go North West also plans to offer long-term apprenticeships, enabling individuals to earn while they learn by combining academic study with practical driving experience.

Nigel Featham, Managing Director, Go North West, said: “This is a ground-breaking recruitment campaign to match the huge scale of change that we’ll be helping to deliver in Greater Manchester’s public transport. We’ve already had lots of interest in driving the new Bee Network buses and we’re expecting thousands of applications.”

Go-Ahead aims to broaden the diversity of its workforce through its apprenticeship programmes. As the new contracts come into effect, Go North West will operate over 500 buses from Bolton, Wigan and its existing Queen’s Road depot in central Manchester. The company’s facility in Bolton will become the largest bus depot outside of London.

Bus driver positions with Go North West also offer benefits, such as 20 days of annual leave, generous pensions and competitive starting salaries of £28,000, which increase rapidly with experience. To accommodate the expected surge in new recruits, Go North West has quadrupled the size of its training team.