From soldier to bus driver: a career with First Bus
If you’re thinking about a career after the army, then why not think about applying for a position with First Bus. First Bus is one of Britain’s largest bus operators with around a fifth of bus services outside London, with a fleet of 6,000 buses carrying approximately 1.6 million passengers a day.
Being a Bus Driver is more than just driving, it’s about helping to keep entire communities moving. Tony Parker, a bus driver with First Manchester, joined the business in 2012 after leaving the armed forces in 2010 and enjoys ‘being his own boss’ when he’s out on the road.
Tony was an Infantry Soldier for the Duke of Lancaster, 1st Battalion for four years, where he spent time at Catterick before moving over to Germany in the Belfast barracks, between 2007 and 2010. He applied for a position with First Manchester in 2012, two years after leaving the army and he’s held the position as a Bus Driver for over five years.
- Why did you decide to apply for a career with First Bus?
I heard about the jobs available at First Manchester through a friend who was already working as a bus driver. When I left the army, I was working as a brick layer, but I wanted job security and the safety of a knowing I would be getting a regular salary and so I applied to become a bus driver in 2012.
I didn’t have a PCV license, but that didn’t matter, as I already had my driving license and then First Manchester provided all the training that I needed to gain my license and to help me feel comfortable driving a bus.
- How much training did you need to become a bus driver?
First Manchester provided all the training I needed to gain my PCV license. Applicants go through a selection process which involves undergoing a medical, taking a theory test and a maths test, an interview with a manager and a practical driving test at the bus depot before training out on the road.
- What was the transition like from serving in the armed forces to having a civilian job?
I’ve found the transition straight forward and I enjoy my job, which is a good start! Customer services is a key part of the role, so you need to be comfortable with speaking to different people throughout your shift, but you’re also your own boss, as once you’re out on the road, there’s nobody standing over your shoulder asking for an update, which is another part of the job that I really enjoy.
If you are following the running board (timetable), then nobody bothers you from start to finish. There’s also a strong sense of community amongst the other bus drivers, which makes coming to work enjoyable. There are also great benefits offered by the company, including free bus passes for you and the family.
If you’re interested in finding out more about starting a career with First Bus visit https://uk.firstgroupcareers.com/