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First Bus announces first ever Bus Driver apprenticeship pilot in National Apprenticeship Week

  • West Yorkshire depots to pilot scheme 
  • 13-month training includes PCV licence and functional skills in English and Maths

First Bus has selected West Yorkshire to pilot its first ever apprenticeship programme for bus drivers. 

The bus operator has teamed up with leading transport training provider, Realise to launch the scheme in National Apprenticeship Week (5-11 February). 

The aim is to attract a more diverse range of applicants to represent the communities First Bus serves and potentially provide a pathway to create hundreds of new bus drivers every year, whilst also enhancing driver retention rates.  

The inaugural cohort of seven apprentice drivers are now placed in the Bradford, Halifax and Huddersfield depots together with others at Chelmsford and Colchester in Essex. 

The training initiative is open to anyone who holds a standard UK driving licence. 

Successful applicants will complete the Bus Driver Level 2 Passenger Transport Apprenticeship over a 13-month period. Practical bus driving training will be provided to guide apprentices through their Passenger Carrying Vehicle licence, as well as customer service training and functional skills learning in English and Maths. 

If successful, the pilot could be extended across the UK to other parts of the business in the future.  

Angela Renfrew, Director of Talent and Leadership Development at First Bus, said: “The First Bus Driver Apprenticeship scheme is the catalyst to attract more young people and diversity into the business, as we strive to be more representative of the communities we serve.  

“Candidates can earn a professional qualification that will support career progression opportunities within First Bus, enabling them to become valued transport professionals. 

“We’re delighted to have more education and training options in our sector and to position bus driving as a rewarding and satisfying career choice that’s available to all. The apprenticeship is a great route for young people and adult learners to earn while they learn.” 

Kairon Flowers, Operations Director at Realise, said: “It’s been refreshing to hear how committed First Bus is to co-deliver an apprenticeship programme which not only addresses bus driver shortages, but helps people build long-term careers in the industry. 

“For people of any age who are considering a career in bus driving but don’t have the necessary skillset, this is the perfect entry mechanism into the industry.  

“In a matter of weeks, the apprentices will be qualified to drive a bus and will be taught the additional skills required to be a successful bus driver.” 

To find out more about a career at First Bus, click here: First Bus | Careers 


Notes to editors

Notes to editors

About First Bus 

At First Bus, we are on a mission to grow bus usage. We will get behind initiatives that move people out of cars and onto bus.  

We are one of the UK’s largest bus operators, delivering over a million passenger journeys every week for the communities we serve.  

 Transforming our business for the better, we are putting our people and customers at the heart of all we do.  

We are all about making journeys easier for our customers, which is why we were the first national bus operator to rollout Tap On, Tap Off payment technology across our entire UK fleet of 4500 buses. Our First Bus app has also been voted ‘best in class’ amongst UK bus operators.  

First Bus is committed to operating a zero-emission bus fleet by 2035. By March 2024, 15% of our will fleet will comprise Zero Emission Buses (ZEBs).  

We are passionate about giving back to the communities we serve, which is why we are helping local businesses to progress their own decarbonisation journeys with access to our charging hubs while our buses are on the road. 

We also operate the Aircoach network in Ireland, Specialist Passenger Solutions, First Travel Solutions and Ensignbus.  

First Bus is a division of FirstGroup.    

Find more information on First Bus here: https://news.firstbus.co.uk/