First Bus launches first apprenticeship programme to address driver shortages
First Bus aims to transform bus driving into an appealing career choice, offering comprehensive training and career progression opportunities for aspiring drivers across the UK.
Credit: First Bus
In an effort to tackle ongoing driver shortages and diversify its workforce, First Bus has announced that it has embarked on a pioneering initiative by teaming up with a transport training provider to unveil its first ever apprenticeship programme for bus drivers.
The innovative scheme aims to address the pressing need for more bus drivers, as well as increase driver retention rates within the company. By providing a structured pathway for individuals to enter the profession, the company hopes to attract a more diverse range of applicants that accurately reflect the communities that it serves across the UK.
The first cohort of apprentice drivers has already commenced their training, with participants hailing from various backgrounds and regions, including Chelmsford, Bradford, Halifax and Huddersfield depots within Essex and West Yorkshire operations.
In collaboration with Realise, a transport training provider, the programme offers comprehensive training for candidates holding a standard UK driving license. Over a 13-month period, successful applicants will undergo the Bus Driver Level 2 Passenger Transport Apprenticeship, encompassing practical bus driving training, customer service skills and essential functional skills in English and Maths.
Angela Renfrew, Director of Talent and Leadership Development at First Bus, said: “The First Bus Driver Apprenticeship scheme is the catalyst to attract more young people and diversity into the business, as we strive to be more representative of the communities we serve. Candidates can earn a professional qualification that will support career progression opportunities within First Bus, enabling them to become valued transport professionals. We’re delighted to have more education and training options in our sector and to position bus driving as a rewarding and satisfying career choice that’s available to all.”
The success of the pilot programme could potentially pave the way for its expansion nationwide, offering promising prospects for the future of the bus driver workforce across the UK.