Training provider partners with First Bus to overcome driver shortage

A leading training provider has joined forces with First Bus to launch a new programme to overcome the driver shortage in the transport sector.

By Ian Hirst
Friday, 22nd April 2022, 6:30 am

Realise delivers apprenticeships and adult education programmes in England.

It has partnered with First Bus to develop a dedicated course in customer service skills and driving theory to offer hard-to-reach groups and unemployed in West Yorkshire the opportunity to start a career with the region’s leading bus operator.

Funded by West Yorkshire Combined Authority, the new training programme has been designed to teach learners the skills and behaviours required to succeed in the transport industry.

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Brighouse bus station

Gregg Scott, Managing Director of Realise, said: “It’s really exciting to be starting this journey with First Bus and supporting the next generation of trainee drivers across West Yorkshire.

“Bus driving can be a great career and many of the people we’ve worked with in the past tell us that they would never look back now they’ve made the leap into the transport industry.

“We’ve seen a noticeable trend in recent months that shows people are choosing a career in transport outside of other industries which is playing a massive part in filling vacancies in the sector.

“For anyone that’s interested in the course, all you need is a driving licence that’s either clean or has no more than six points and to be over the age of 18. We will then work with you to gain a PCV (Passenger Carrying Vehicle) licence and achieve the skills required to be a bus driver.

“We’ve only just launched the new programme with First Bus but already 562 people have applied across West Yorkshire which shows the demand is there so we can’t wait to get going.”

The 10-day course will be delivered through online and classroom teaching, with learners undertaking training in customer service and bus driving theory with Realise before getting behind the wheel with First Bus and securing a job with great career opportunities.

Tom Bridge, Operations Director of First West Yorkshire, said: “We are seeing a gradual rise in diversity with people from wider backgrounds and with transferable skills joining our workforce and we want this to continue.

“We are confident that working with Realise will be another way to bring more applications for job opportunities as we look to build back driver resource in tandem with growing passenger numbers to pre-pandemic levels.”

Tracy Brabin, Mayor of West Yorkshire said: “I am absolutely delighted to see Realise and First Bus take great initiative utilising funding from West Yorkshire’s Adult Education Budget to give individuals the knowledge and confidence to apply for bus driving roles.

“It’s fantastic that 100% of the first cohort were employed by First Group. It proves that having devolved powers to allocate funding where it is needed is already having a positive impact on the skills shortages across West Yorkshire.”

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