The first cohort of trainees have completed their training in Zeelo’s new coach driver training school ZeeDrive, and are now being actively matched with operators to begin their careers as drivers.
The training programme supports independent coach and bus operators address the driver shortage. The programme targets drivers in their early careers and promises “guaranteed work in the coach industry”.
The school covers driver Certificate of Professional Competence training and licensing costs, a paid internship with Zeelo during the training period, and access to an enhanced training programme to give drivers experience in technology and customer service. The new drivers are then matched with an employer from the supplier’s operator partner network.
Drivers have the option to choose to work as employees or work as a contract driver in a dedicated Zeelo driver agency anywhere in the UK. Those options are flexible and drivers can “easily switch” between options, the company says.
The second intake has already begun, and those drivers will graduate in the coming months.
Partner operator Mainline describes the school as “fantastic – Zeelo is providing a training programme that prepares drivers effectively for hitting the road.
“Its digital presence is encouraging new talent into the industry and is going to have a positive impact on the driver shortage nationwide. We will welcome more drivers from the Zeelo programme.”
Barak Sas, Head of Corporate Development and Zeelo’s driver programme manager, says: “Zeelo is targeting and attracting new demographics to the industry. The coach and bus driver profession is an ageing one, with almost 30% of drivers over the age of 60.
“Our offer is targeted at 20-35 year olds. They onboard and intern at Zeelo working in customer service and operations roles, learning how the industry operates, which is a big bonus for them as future drivers. We’re also going to bring back drivers into the industry. There are many PSV licence holders that, for a variety of reasons, are not working as drivers. Using the surge in wages we are able to bring them back, allowing us and our operator partners to continue operating and growing”
Adds Sam Ryan, Zeelo CEO: “The last 20 months have been incredibly tough for the industry but this is a defining moment – an opportunity to grow the sector, particularly given the demand we see for more sustainable forms of transport.
“Our operator partners tell us the main barrier to growth is hiring and retaining drivers. In fact, many of them have vehicles sitting idle because of the driver shortage. We’re working on all fronts – digital marketing to people early in their careers or people wanting to try something new, providing them with funded driver training, operations experience, and vital experience in technology and customer service. We hope this will support the industry to recover and thrive.”
Those looking to learn more about the driver school should get in touch with firstname.lastname@example.org
Prospective drivers will can apply to work with Zeelo on the company’s website.