Meet the next generation of bus builders

Five young people from across the North West are starting their careers in the transport industry thanks to the apprenticeship scheme run by bus operator Stagecoach Merseyside and South Lancashire.

The company has welcomed its latest crop of apprentices, aged from 16 to 20, who are learning their trade across the operator’s depots in Liverpool, Wirral, Chester, and Preston.

Each year, Stagecoach recruits up to five apprentices in the region, offering them the opportunity to combine practical, varied, on-the-job training with study.

Declan Glover, 20 from Kirkby, is four months into his four-year coach building apprenticeship course. He said:

“After finishing my A Levels, I wanted to hit the ground running in a career that I would enjoy.

“This apprenticeship is a very ‘hands on’ experience with no two days the same. One day we could be repairing a bumper, the next we could be learning about a key bus component.”

Each apprentice receives guidance on the practical day-to-day operational element of the apprenticeship programme from a dedicated mentor. This practical, real-world experience is supplemented with a specialist industry accredited course in Glasgow that the apprentices attend every six weeks to learn all aspects of PCV engineering from health and safety to the use of high tech diagnostics.

Declan added:

“The team at Stagecoach has been really helpful. We are coached every step of the way.”

When Declan finishes his course, he has aspirations to climb the ladder in the bus industry and one day hopes to become an engineering manager himself, training and developing apprentices as part of his role.

Elisabeth Tasker, managing director of Stagecoach Merseyside and South Lancashire, said:

“We are dedicated to helping our staff to realise their full potential – a key element of this is ensuring we are attracting and nurturing talent at all levels, but particularly amongst our younger team members. Our apprenticeship scheme allows apprentices to learn from the very best in the industry and for our mentors to pass on their expertise to the next generation.

“We’ve witnessed real growth in the number of ambitious young people who are choosing apprenticeships. The opportunity to ‘earn while you learn’ is a very attractive proposition for people who recognise that apprenticeships are a great way to learn new skills, get their foot in the door, and build exciting, stimulating careers.”

Upon completing their training, apprentices will be awarded an Advanced Apprenticeship (Modern Apprenticeship in Scotland) in Bus and Coach Engineering Maintenance or Mechanical Engineering and will have the opportunity to become a member of the Society of Operations Engineers.

Stagecoach Bus is one of the UK’s major employers, supporting around 24,000 jobs across the UK and 1,209 jobs in Merseyside and South Lancashire. The company is also one of the UK’s most sustainable bus operators and has reduced carbon emissions by 30 per cent in the last five years. All Stagecoach vehicles are fitted with eco-driving systems which lower emissions and the company has shown the biggest commitment to using 100 per cent biofuel of any UK bus operator

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