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One of the UK’s largest transport companies, Go-Ahead Group, has said that more than 600 apprentices joined up to become bus drivers in London over the last year.
The sign-up is part of a UK-wide recruitment drive which saw 1,030 apprentices join the bus and rail company which jointly runs Govia Thameslink, among other routes.
“I’m incredibly proud of what we’ve achieved this year at Go-Ahead – we’ve adapted to the pandemic and are stronger than ever,” said the company’s head of apprenticeships, Susanna Dillon.
“We’re committed to recruiting apprentices and bringing in people with fresh ideas and viewpoints to shake up the transport sector.”
Go-Ahead said that amid a spike in people switching careers during the pandemic, a former legal secretary and a former teaching assistant, both over 55 years old, have joined as apprentices.
“In a time dubbed the Great Resignation, the group hopes that other career switchers will consider a career in bus and rail for 2022,” it said.
The business said that it had hired overwhelmingly from ethnic minorities for Go-Ahead London, which operates more red buses in the capital than any other firm.
It said that 82% of its apprentices fell under the catch-all term Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME), while 18% were women.
It said: “For its commitment to diversity, Go-Ahead was highly commended for Recruitment Excellence at the Government-accredited National Apprenticeship Awards earlier this month.
“The group also won the regional London awards for Macro Employer of the Year and Recruitment Excellence.”
The apprenticeships take between one and three years, and comes with training equivalent to maths and English GCSEs.