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12 Apr 2017
Here at Stagecoach, our people are the foundations of our success. We have some truly amazing staff who are always going the extra mile to get you to where you want to be, every day.
We asked one of our drivers, Heidi Perkins, what she loves about working for Stagecoach...
“I studied at Art College for 2 years before beginning as a trainee at a furnishings provider. I got experience in the workshop and fitting, as well as working in customer service.”
It was the customer service side that Heidi really loved, and over the next few years she travelled the world as airline cabin crew, and as front-of-house in a restaurant.
After having her son, Heidi decided to work part time.
“I worked part-time at Clearwell Castle doing wedding preparation, and also worked in a chip shop two nights a week.”
“But once my son started school, I needed a full-time position and decided to look for something new. I saw a flyer on a Gloucester bus for Stagecoach drivers, and it sounded perfect for me – flexible hours would allow me to spend time with my son, and I love working with people.”
Heidi attended a recruitment event at Cheltenham Racecourse with local managers and trainers where she got a chance to get behind the wheel for the first time.
“I knew this was going to be very different from what I’d done before,” Heidi said, “But I knew I would love the chance to meet new people every day.”
Heidi had plenty of transferrable skills from her experience in customer service, but she was nervous about the challenge of driving a big bus!
“Through the application process and training I did have a few moments of “Oh my god, what am I doing?!” but every time that happened I just took a deep breath and go on with it!”
“Just going for it” really helped Heidi to build up her confidence, especially when it came to the more challenging elements of the job.
“Building up the initial confidence to drive a bus was difficult, but the biggest challenge is the behaviour of other road users. I just have to focus on putting safety first, and the more I build my experience the more I can anticipate potentially dangerous situations.
"I love being a bus driver. I love that every day is different, and I love meeting new people. I enjoy shift work and the early starts or late finishes fit really well with my lifestyle. I love that every week is different and it’s not a boring 9 to 5!”
Being a bus driver also fits in well with Heidi's shared parenting plan with her son’s father, as she can plan around her shift patterns.
“The shift allocators are great if I need to switch shifts, for example I switched my shifts for my son’s birthday and also so I could be there for his first day back at school in September. My shifts suit me at the moment, but I know if I ever needed to I could go part-time or request flexible working. I love that I have that flexibility and freedom in case my situation changes.”
Heidi is excited and ambitious about her future at Stagecoach, and while she loves being a bus driver, she says she might be interested in taking advantage of opportunities for progression in the future.
“There are lots of opportunities – I could become a mentor for new drivers, or become a lead driver who helps with operations.”
And the worst part of being a bus driver? “I sometimes forget when I’m not on duty and slow down at bus stops in my car to pick people us! That is sometimes embarrassing!”