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Stagecoach employees become first in the UK to complete Bus Driver Apprenticeship

• Two Stagecoach North East bus drivers first in the country to qualify through new apprenticeship programme

• 200 recruits currently benefitting from apprenticeship scheme across England

• 12-month apprenticeship delivered in partnership with Interserve Learning & Employment

Two Stagecoach employees have become the first in the UK to complete a new bus driver apprenticeship programme.

The drivers – based at Stagecoach North East – have qualified through the new Passenger Transport Driver (Bus and Coach) Apprenticeship which was launched last year in partnership with Interserve Learning & Employment. Currently around 200 Stagecoach recruits are benefitting from the scheme across England.

Stagecoach’s existing bus driver training module has been enhanced and extended, within the framework of the Apprenticeship Levy arrangements, to use a combination of practical training and off-the-job learning over a period of 12-months, providing more comprehensive training and complementing Stagecoach’s high standards around high quality driving, excellent customer service and a key focus on safety.

Caroline Crozier, a former school teaching assistant from Newcastle, joined Stagecoach in Walkergate depot in March 2018 as an apprentice PCV driver. At the same time Gary Jardine, a former warehouse employee, commenced his apprenticeship within Stagecoach’s Slatyford depot in Newcastle.

Both have completed the programme and have become the first in the country to gain their PCV licence and their driver’s certificate of professional competence through the apprenticeship.

Stagecoach is currently implementing the Passenger Transport Driver – Bus and Coach Apprenticeship throughout its English Operating Companies, and by January 2020 it is anticipated that all new trainee bus driver employees will have the opportunity to complete this apprenticeship programme.

Stagecoach UK Bus Chief Operations Officer, Mark Threapleton, said: “I’d like to congratulate Caroline and Gary – we’re proud that the first two people in the country to achieve this qualification are Stagecoach employees and wish them every success in their careers going forward.

“There are so many skills needed to be a good bus driver, including a key focus on safety, excellent driving ability, first class customer service skills, good decision-making skills and the ability to deal with challenging situations. These are all covered during this comprehensive 12-month programme and we believe this approach will help build on the already high standards we have in place to ensure we deliver the best possible service for the millions of people who use our buses every day across the country.”

Newly qualified driver Caroline Crozier said: “I have found this apprenticeship invaluable for my continued support, and training in a new career! It has boosted my confidence and enabled me to do my job to the best of my ability.”

Colleague Gary Jardine added: “The apprentice scheme has helped in a big way in my first year at Stagecoach, as it covers a range of topics that help you in your role as a bus driver. The workshops that I have attended have helped me deal with different situations when I’m out on the road.”

Gregg Scott, National Delivery Director for Interserve Learning & Employment said: “We have been working in partnership with Stagecoach to co-deliver the Passenger Transport Bus Driver L2 apprenticeship since 2018. Stagecoach is leading the way for Passenger Transport Apprenticeships within the Industry and we are delighted to announce that our first two learners have now completed and passed the End Point Assessment (EPA) for this apprenticeship standard.

“This is a fantastic achievement not only for the learners, but for the whole team who have passionately designed, implemented and delivered this apprenticeship. Stagecoach is a key partner of Interserve, promoting and investing in apprenticeship training to create a highly skilled workforce. We look forward to celebrating future successes together.”