Recruitment, Training & Development
Training and development
Our employees have access to learning and development programmes and are actively encouraged to take advantage of these. All UK Bus drivers work towards an S/NVQ during their induction. In First Student all drivers are required to undertake a rigorous training programme before they can carry students.
Ongoing training needs are identified within performance appraisals. We continue to enhance our training offering, particularly in customer service (as informed by employee feedback). Every Greyhound employee takes part in a new customer service training programme. Customer service training is now also central to our UK Bus drivers' professional development. We continue to develop our leadership programmes, and this year rolled out a comprehensive talent and succession planning programme across the business.
In the UK lifelong learning remains a core part of our learning provision. All our UK Bus employees can now access lifelong learning programmes through online facilities with 85% also having access through local learning centres.
Since signing the Skills for Life pledge in 2007 we have continued to extend our employees' opportunities to develop their numeracy and literacy skills. Learning tools are available to help them work towards national numeracy and literacy standards and at any one time, around 1,000 employees are taking advantage of this.
We continue to develop our online recruitment process with the introduction of SMS text messaging to alert and invite applicants to interviews or assessment centres: this has significantly improved our interview process. The online system has also provided a mechanism for effectively collecting recruitment data and we continue to improve this process to aid future recruitment planning.
We continue to increase the talent pool of candidates available to us through recruitment programmes with a number of organisations. We focus particularly on helping ex-service personnel (many of whom have the skills and experience we require) to find work.
At 4.1%, employee turnover figures for our rail operations are low. In our UK Bus division turnover lies at 13.4%: a drop of 2.2% since last year. In North America driver turnover also remains lower than it has been historically which reflects in large part the current economic climate.
FirstGroup graduate scheme
This year our well established graduate development scheme attracted 750 applicants and a further 16 recruits joined the scheme. Graduates undertake a comprehensive workplace training schedule over two years at various locations across First's UK operations. We remain committed to on-going investment in this programme and will launch a new-look graduate website and social media campaign.
'My experiences on the Human Resources Graduate Scheme have been excellent. I've been given lots of opportunities to develop and have gained a wide range of knowledge about the transport industry and HR. I've taken on various responsibilities including collating reports, organising the graduate scheme for next year, and helping to write a rail franchise bid. It's been great to see all the different sides of the business and work with a diverse range of people.'Janneke Dobben, HR Graduate, FirstGroup
Rail companies join forces to tackle graduate unemployment
All our train companies are involved in 'Track and Train', a new cross-industry, paid internship scheme aimed at helping 100 graduates to kick-start their careers. The scheme provides 18 months' experience, targeting those who have graduated in the last two years but are unemployed or under-employed in a non-graduate level role.