Llew Jones Coaches is a further operator to demonstrate that recruiting young people is a useful part of the coach and bus industry’s response to current staff shortages by engaging Abby Griffiths, 19, as the youngest of seven female drivers that are employed by the Llanrwst firm.
Ms Griffiths joins her brother Jack, 22, and her father Anthony in working for the Conwy business, which has a team of 45 drivers. She has taken up the position after receiving assistance from training provider North Wales Training’s Employability Officer Pauline Quinn.
In February, Ms Quinn secured a work placement for Ms Griffiths with Llew Jones after an initial referral from Job Centre Plus to the Welsh Government (WG) funded Employability Skills Programme. Additional funding was also secured from WG towards obtaining a PCV driving licence, and the operator now says that it is keen to recruit more young drivers.
Explains Director Jane Brown: “Abby is doing brilliantly. She is very natural and adaptable and is driving our biggest and most expensive coaches. The average age of our PSV drivers is probably around 57, and we are trying to attract young people, both male and female, to seriously consider driving as a career.
“In the past, driving was traditionally seen as a job for men because it was more physical when coaches and buses did not have power steering. That has all changed with modern vehicles.”
Ms Griffiths says that an interest in driving and the coach and bus industry came from accompanying her father.
She aspires to drive coaches on Llew Jones’ European programme when she turns 21. “It is currently a male dominated job, but I have noticed a lot more female coach and bus drivers since I started driving.
“My advice to any young woman is that if she has an interest in driving buses, then go for it. I was worried what my friends would say when I started the job, but they think it is incredible.”