West Yorks Bus Alliance takes students on skills journey

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Bus operators from across West Yorkshire, including Arriva, First and Transdev, along with the West Yorkshire Combined Authority, have teamed up with social enterprise Ahead Partnership to deliver a skills initiative intended to open up career opportunities whilst highlighting the need for greener travel.

The Ahead Partnership has been working with businesses and education partners to deliver engaging skills and careers initiatives for over 14 years, to help employers to address their workforce challenges and meet local skills, diversity and social mobility objectives.

Celebrating its first full year of partnership, the West Yorkshire Bus Alliance has engaged 3,190 students aged 10-18 to date across West Yorkshire schools with the benefits of using public transport and the diversity of future career opportunities in the sector. Following an extremely successful first 12 months, nearly half of students that participated in careers panels said that they would now consider a career in the sector.

The West Yorkshire Bus Alliance Education Programme will now move to focus on a number of industry challenges, including how to promote greener forms of travel in a post-Covid world. Activities will utilise engaging digital and classroom-based activities including interactive careers panels, workshops, maths curriculum resources, and an exciting pro-bus travel marketing challenge.

With the transport sector facing the crisis of an ageing workforce, the partnership said that a pipeline of young, skilled workers is needed to facilitate the future of public transport, and the West Yorkshire Bus Alliance’s education programme is making a key intervention to address the skills gap.

Building upon the success of its first year, 46% of young people who participated in the careers panels said that they would now consider a role in the transport sector, and the programme is now launching its second Bus to the Future marketing challenge and Youth Voice Forums, which enable virtual networks of young people to advise on and help shape upcoming plans and policy.