Go-Ahead helps Ukrainian evacuee get back behind the wheel

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Volodymyr Syrotiuk moved to Brighton after the war broke out, and is looking forward to a successful career with Brighton & Hove. GO-AHEAD

Go-Ahead’s Brighton & Hove division has helped a Ukrainian HGV driver get back on the road thanks to a special training programme

A Ukrainian evacuee has begun driving for Go-Ahead’s Brighton & Hove Buses under a Government-backed initiative to recruit people displaced by the war in Ukraine. Volodymyr Syrotiuk worked in a warehouse and drove heavy goods vehicles near Kyiv before the conflict in his home country broke out in 2022. He has since settled in Brighton and has joined the team at Brighton & Hove (B&H).

B&H’s parent company Go-Ahead began taking steps to hire Ukrainians in November last year, when Brighton & Hove and sister company Metrobus invited refugees to an open day in partnership with the Department for Work and Pensions; Ukrainians receive immediate settled status in Britain and have the right to work straight away. The Government has eased the process of exchanging their Ukrainian driving licenses for British ones, and Go-Ahead has introduced a new company policy and a special training programme to support them back into work.

Originally from Ukraine, Volodymyr has faced challenges of displacement and cultural adjustment since moving to the UK but is said to have shown remarkable resilience since joined the team at B&H. Managing Director Ed Wills said: “We’re extremely happy to welcome Volodymyr to the team. As a company we can offer jobs to people from Ukraine who are looking to rebuild a more peaceful life. I hope this is the first of many to come, and that we continue to be able to help more refugees like Volodymyr find work and security in the UK.”

Volodymyr said: “I like it here in the UK, I have my family here and see them quite a lot. I have a daughter that finished university this summer as an architect, it’s made settling into the country easier. I’d encourage my friends from Ukraine to come here, and to seriously consider being a bus driver like me. I get to be in a position where I’m responsible for 80 people for every journey and it’s satisfying.”

Eloise Cornish, Employer Advisor Lead at Brighton & Hove Jobcentre, added: “We’re thrilled to hear about Volodymyr’s job start with Brighton & Hove Buses. We met Volodymyr at a jobs fair and his positive attitude shone through. We helped Volodymyr to access the Flexible Support Fund for help with the costs of converting his Ukrainian driving licence to a British licence. At the Jobcentre, we’re all about making a difference and removing barriers to work. By partnering with local businesses like Brighton & Hove Buses, we’re able to build a stronger workforce and make a difference in our community.”