Swansea Bus Driver Celebrated During Learning at Work Week
Bus company celebrates 20+ year partnership with Unite the Union to encourage staff to develop new skills
A bus driver from Swansea is being celebrated during Learning at Work Week by featuring in an advert on the back of one of the double-decker buses she drives. Sharon Brown, from Morriston, has been selected as First Cymru’s role model for lifelong learning after completing a range of courses offered to the bus operator's workforce in one of the learning centres it operates jointly with Unite the Union as part of a lifelong learning programme which started two decades ago.
Learning at Work Week is an annual UK-wide initiative by educational charity Campaign for Learning, which aims to put a spotlight on the importance and benefits of continuous learning and development.
Sharon was nominated to feature on the advert by colleagues after she attended a range of courses, including sign language, which boosted her confidence and helped improve her communications with customers in the city. A first aid course prepared Sharon, who is a keen walker, to help customers and others in case of a medical emergency.
I was drawn towards the practical courses offered at our Swansea learning centre. I saw the positive benefits of the courses I selected immediately, and my confidence in helping customers has increased tenfold; so much so that I’ve been encouraging my colleagues to take a look at the courses too.
The bus operator’s Learning Centre in Swansea is one of 26 learning centres across the UK where First Bus staff can access hundreds of accredited courses as well as informal ones. Courses range from those that directly support the roles and progression of employees to wider-ranging life skill courses that include mental health, First Aid, How to use a defibrillator and IT.
Paul Rogers, national delegate and convenor for Unite the Union First Cymru said:
The lifelong learning partnership entered into by Unite the Union and First Bus is one of the most enduring within the road passenger transport sector. It has delivered educational opportunities, quality advice, guidance and support to tens of thousands of our work colleagues over the last 20 years and has helped Sharon during her career with First Cymru. I believe it to be rare within the bus industry, or indeed any industry, to hear of such a robust and continuous partnership. It is testament to the commitment of both the company and the union to ensure that learning is more than job related skills and is open to all our workers.