Stagecoach to recruit 600 extra apprentices this year

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Jemma Wood started at Stagecoach in 2011 as a mechanical apprentice in Peterborough with no knowledge of mechanics; she is now the Deputy Engineering Manager at Fenstanton depot. STAGECOACH

The company marked National Apprenticeship Week with a pledge to double level of learners

Stagecoach is to recruit 600 extra apprentices during 2020, the company has announced. The operator made the pledge to mark National Apprenticeship Week in England. Stagecoach currently employs around 550 driver and engineering apprentices across the country, which it will increase to around 1,000 driver apprentices and 200 engineering apprentices by the end of the year.

Stagecoach Chief Executive Martin Griffiths said: “Our people are fundamental to ensuring we keep communities across the country connected. We are proud to lead the coach and bus industry by investing in apprenticeships and creating 600 new learner opportunities in 2020.

“Apprenticeships bring huge value to our business in terms of talent and diversity. Whether you’re a school leaver or somebody who wants a change of career, an apprenticeship programme is a great opportunity to earn while you learn and kick-start your career in the transport industry.”

The 12-month programme is delivered in partnership with training supplier Interserve Learning & Employment.

A total of 34 Stagecoach employees have gained their driver apprenticeship, with 100 more expected to have completed the programme by the summer. Caroline Crozier, a former school teaching assistant from Newcastle, who joined Stagecoach in Walkergate depot in March 2018, is among the first to have completed the bus driver apprenticeship.

She said: “I wanted a complete change of career and the bus driver apprenticeship programme with Stagecoach came up as an opportunity. It’s a great programme, you get support from your peers and assessors all the way through which is really helpful, and the on-the-job learning really helps you get to grips with everything easily and quickly.

“Our apprenticeship team was like a little community and I regularly see drivers who were on the programme with me and give them a nod to say hello. I really enjoy being a bus driver and would recommend the apprenticeship and a bus driving career to anybody.”

Stagecoach’s engineering apprenticeship programme has run for over 15 years, with a number of employees having gone on to develop their careers with the business. Jemma Wood started at Stagecoach in 2011 as a mechanical apprentice in Peterborough with no knowledge of mechanics. On qualifying, she became a vehicle inspector in Cambridge depot. In 2019, Jemma was promoted to Deputy Engineering Manager at Fenstanton depot.

She said: “It was never in my original plan to become an engineer – as a child, I wasn’t really interested in mechanics or engineering, and I much preferred my Barbie dolls. In 2011, I was working in a big supermarket and not very happy with how things were going, and on the bus home from work, I saw the apprenticeship programme advertised and thought I’d give it a go.

“I really enjoyed the programme and would always advise people to go through an apprenticeship course. You can get your qualification whilst earning a decent wage and learn on the job at the same time. I’d been to college and tried other things but an apprenticeship scheme was definitely the way for me.”