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FirstGroup Launches a Book of Short Stories Written by its Bus Staff
Wednesday 12 October 2011
FIRSTGROUP, the UK’s largest transport operator, has launched a new book. ‘Life in the Bus Lane’ is a collection of short stories entirely written by employees of First’s bus division, including drivers, engineers, mechanics, cleaners and office staff.
The book is available for sale at www.firstgroupshop.com priced £5 with all proceeds going to FirstGroup’s charity partner, Save the Children.
More than 500 staff responded to a joint FirstGroup and Unite the Union competition encouraging First staff to submit short stories, with the 89 winning entries published in a book.
The competition was promoted throughout the UK in First’s ‘Learning Centres’, which have been established in partnership with Unite the Union. Staff visit the centres to learn new skills – how to use a computer, the internet and email - or improve numeracy and literacy skills. The centres even offer courses in conversational Spanish, scuba diving and a whole host of other areas.
Linda Guthrie, FirstGroup’s Head of Learning and Development, said: “We want our people to recognise and embrace the benefits of learning as an investment in their future. ‘Life in the Bus Lane’ encourages our people to try something different, learn a new skill, use our Learning Centres and unlock their potential.”
She continued: “Life in the Bus Lane is our third collection of short stories, and is the best yet. Each year we are taken aback by the quality of entries and I am thrilled with the final edition. It’s an unmissable read and who knows we may have unearthed the next John Grisham or J K Rowling.”
Mick Dowds from Unite the Union said: “FirstGroup is to be commended not just for this particular initiative, but to its overall approach to lifelong learning. Working with First we have developed one of the most successful lifelong learning partnerships in the passenger transport sector and opened more than 50 Learning Centres at First’s bus depots and facilities throughout the UK. These centres, which are staffed by fully trained ‘Trade Union Learning Representatives’, make an invaluable contribution to the development of our members.”
In FirstGroup’s bus division approximately 85% of employees have access to Learning Centres. The company has more than 50 Learning Centres across the UK, mainly located in bus depots but with access available to relatives of staff and, in some cases, the public. 100% of employees within First’s bus division will have access to adult learning of some form or another by 2012.