More women are being encouraged to become bus drivers by local operator First West of England.
First West of England are opening their doors to women in Bristol who would like to give bus driving a go.
On Saturday 29th June First Bus are hosting a ladies-only recruitment open day to help encourage more female-drivers into the industry. The day will include the opportunity to find out what it’s like to be a bus driver, meet staff and operation managers, and try out getting behind the wheel of the buses at the depot.
Louise Guy, bus driver and Unite Union representative at First West of England said: “There’s no doubt that that men outnumber women in bus driving. That’s why at First West of England we want to challenge the stereotypes and show that everyone can be a bus driver - with the right customers service skills and with an interest in helping others.”
First West of England have both full and part-time positions on offer and women who attend the session and like what they see will also have the opportunity to start their application process with driving assessments, interviews and necessary medical and competency tests available on the day. If they choose to complete all of this, they could even be offered a job by the end of the day.
“No two days are the same” says Marta, a First West of England driver, who is originally from Poland and has now fulfilled her dream of becoming a bus driver in Bristol.
She adds, “I just love the variety, from the routes, which are both city and rural, to the people you meet. There’s a good level of responsibility and yet you are never alone – there’s always back up from the control centre if you need it. There is a great sense of teamwork with someone always there to support you.”
Marta is one of 143 female drivers working for First West of England and she now hopes to help others get started in their driving careers having recently completed First’s ‘buddy driver’ course, with the aim of one day becoming a full-time trainer with the company.
“Although there are still more men than women in the sector, that’s definitely changing and it’s good to be part of challenging the perception of what it is like to work in the bus industry. One of my best friends has recently signed up for the training course because she could see how much I love it!” said Marta.
The First Bus ladies open day will run from 9.30am to 3.30pm at Lawrence Hill depot. Morning and afternoon sessions will start at 9.30am or 12.30pm. Ladies can make their own way to the depot, with parking available and numerous bus services stopping nearby, or a mini bus will be available to collect people from Bristol Bus Station for these times, with regular return journeys to the city centre from the depot.
Ian Coyle, Operations Director for Bristol at First West of England said: “Our bus drivers make a real difference in their local communities and at First West of England we want to make sure everyone has the opportunity to start not only a job, but a long-term career driving our buses.
“We offer fantastic opportunities to progress in the company, alongside great shift flexibility and travel benefits. Whether you’re interested in becoming a driver or would just like to have a go behind the wheel of one of our buses – we’d encourage you to come along to our recruitment open day, meet our staff and find out more.”