First welcomes this year’s engineering apprentice intake

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The new intake’s first week consisted of a number of team-building activities. FIRST BUS

First Bus has welcomed 52 new apprentices across England, Scotland and Wales, many of whom will be placed at its purpose-built engineering facility at Reaseheath College

First Bus recently welcomed its latest cohort of engineering apprentices to its training academy at Reaseheath College in Cheshire – the UK’s first dedicated bus and coach engineering facility. Its new wave of apprentices kick-started their studies with a fun induction week of team-building activities including archery, water rafting and rock climbing. The students also had the opportunity to meet their college lectures and tutors, as well as First Bus Engineering Directors Gary West and Gary Weaver. There was also a visit and talk from the group’s Chief People Officer Kevin Green.

Of the 52 new apprentices joining the programme, all English-based students will work out of the purpose-built facility at Reaseheath. Six Scottish students will complete their studies closer to home at GTG College in Glasgow, while a further two Welsh students will complete their learning programme via Cardiff & Vale College.

First Bus opened its bespoke engineering apprentice academy in partnership with Reaseheath College in October 2021. The facility offers a unique work experience-style environment to help apprentices adopt a workplace mindset, ensuring the smooth transition to a real-life depot once their training is complete. A key component of the training is the inclusion of next-generation zero-emission vehicles, providing apprentices with the skills to progress their careers whilst enabling First Bus to future-proof its business.

Gary Weaver, Engineering Director for First Bus South, said: “We’re really proud of our partnership with Reaseheath College for our English apprentices. We’ve found an industry-leading partner doing fantastic things that isn’t mirrored anywhere else in the UK. First Bus is a great employer and there are opportunities for everyone to grow and develop their career, especially young people. It really is a career for life.”

Gary West, Engineering Director for First Bus Scotland, said: “It’s really important that First Bus invests in its apprentices, especially because we have a natural attrition of our older members of staff leaving. We need the younger generation to come through and grasp hold of all the modern technology we’ve got. They are the future of the business – the future Engineering Directors, Engineering Managers and Managing Directors. They are the backbone of the business.”

Reaseheath College’s Principal and CEO Marcus Clinton added: “We are delighted to welcome the latest First Bus cohort to Reaseheath’s dedicated Engineering Apprenticeship Academy. Working in partnership with forward-thinking employers such as First Bus is the best way to support apprenticeships and employers.

“Through collaboration, we ensure that we co-design the best programme to deliver relevant skills and work-ready attributes, while exposing our apprentices to unrivalled equipment and industry standards. Our apprentices thrive on these programmes, and it is a pleasure to see such a strong progression to work.”