Stagecoach North East is inviting budding engineers to apply for a place on this year’s apprenticeship scheme.
The company is offering places on its Bus Engineers’ programme across its depots in South Shields, Newcastle, Sunderland and Teesside. The course begins in September each year and applications are being accepted.
One successful graduate of the scheme was invited to join the team on completion of his course in 2016. 26-year-old Chris Stobbs from South Hylton in Sunderland began the apprenticeship in 2012 and since then, he has received numerous awards for his hard work. This includes third place in the country for outstanding performance at the National Apprentice of the Year Award in 2014 and only last month, Chris won North East apprentice of the year for the IRTE (Institute of Road Engineers) and was recognised for his talents at a prestigious awards ceremony at the Hilton in Gateshead.
Chris began his career at Stagecoach in Sunderland as a cleaner on the buses, coming in on a night to sweep them and put them through the wash. He said: “I didn’t get great grades at school but after starting at the depot, I decided to go for the engineering apprenticeship. Stagecoach put their faith in me so I really wanted to impress them. I applied for the apprenticeship but had to prove myself first, so I went to City of Sunderland College and achieved my Level 2 NVQ in English which got me in a place on the four-year programme.”
Chris finished the apprenticeship last year and was offered a position at the depot, where he is now currently serving his time preparing and painting the buses that come in through the workshop, before taking up a permanent role as a qualified coach builder in the next 12 months.
He continued: “To come back to shop floor and do accident repairs and all the maintenance will be fantastic; it really is a job I love. Keeping the buses on the roads, stripping them down, fabricating and rebuilding is what I enjoy the most, there is such a lot of variety in the role. Recently as a project I stripped and replaced the full front of bus within three weeks, which impressed me and team!
“I still have a lot to learn but I am thankful to Stagecoach and the training is second to none. They have some great tradesmen here and you are well looked after. Winning the awards along the way has also been a real boost and it is great to be recognised, as you really have put the effort in to win the awards.
Gary Chisholm, Engineering Director, Stagecoach North East said: “Chris is a fantastic success story and a great advocate for our apprenticeship programme. He has worked extremely hard, been rewarded for his efforts nationally and taken every opportunity offered to him. He now has a great career ahead of him and we’re proud that he’s part of the Stagecoach family.”
He continued: “We offer one of the best apprenticeship schemes in the bus industry and it is critical to the future success of our company. It’s comprehensive content means at the end of four years we have a highly skilled – and qualified – next generation of engineering talent. Across the Group, there are former apprentices who now hold senior positions and I can say without reservation that this scheme definitely works.”
The company’s Bus and Coach Engineering Technician apprenticeship will help to recruit and train the people who are responsible for maintaining Stagecoach North East’s fleet of buses and coaches. The posts are critical to the reliable and safe operation of passenger services across the region.
Stagecoach North East offers two different apprenticeships:
• 'Mechelec' - a combined mechanical and electrical qualification
• Body Repair
Each programme is four years long with the first three years spent on the job learning in the depot with an allocated mentor to offer help and guidance. It includes attending a specialist training facility in Glasgow on a block release basis. The fourth year of the programme has been specially designed by Stagecoach UK Bus to consolidate technical skills already obtained and is certificated by the Institute of the Motor Industry.
Stagecoach UK Bus considers all applications regardless of age. The only requirement is that applicants have GCSE grade A - C or 4 and above or Standard Grade 1 - 3 / National 4 or 5 or equivalent in English Language, Maths and a Science.
Anyone wanting to apply should visit the Stagecoach UK Bus dedicated recruitment site.
For further information about Stagecoach North East please visit www.stagecoachbus.com