Stagecoach Manchester launches bus driver apprenticeship programme

Wendy Barrett Stagecoach Manchester apprentice

Stagecoach Manchester is building on its induction training programme with the launch of a bus driver apprenticeship programme.

The programme lasts 14 months and will “provide successful graduates with additional skills and insight into their roles as Stagecoach drivers”.

Initially graduates will take part in three months off-the-job training, where they will pass their PSV driver’s licence and undergo vehicle familiarisation, learn relevant routes, how to use ticket machines, and core skills in safety and customer services.

After completing the initial three-month training period, apprentices will then move to on-the-job training, which involves driving with one day per month dedicated to day release ongoing training. On successful completion of the scheme graduates will achieve a Level 2 Apprenticeship or Intermediate Apprenticeship (the equivalent of five GCSEs up to Grade C)

Wendy Barrett, a school bus driver based out of Stagecoach Manchester’s Middleton Depot, is the scheme’s first graduate. She joined the company in January 2020 following a career change.

“The scheme offered my cohort the chance to discuss and realise how others would handle situations. It opened our eyes to things that you would possibly be looking at every day but not seeing, and we were able to swap information and stories – we all compared notes on our experiences in driving buses,” she says. “The apprenticeship has really helped to develop me further, and has definitely made me a more confident driver.”

Adds Lee Wasnidge, Managing Director of Stagecoach Manchester: “We are thrilled to announce our new bus driver apprenticeship, aiming to develop confident and capable bus drivers who are equipped to serve the community.

“We offer our new recruits a stable job with guaranteed hours, planning shift work well in advance to help our drivers manage their time and ensure a healthy work-life balance.

“All of the Stagecoach Manchester team offer Wendy their congratulations, and we commend her on all her hard work and commitment.”