A graduate from Aberdeen is now getting to grips with the running of a bus depot as she takes on the role of Assistant Operations Manager with local bus operator, Stagecoach North East.
23-year-old Chloe Gray has been welcomed on board at the Stockton depot and joins the team as part of the company’s Graduate Training Programme, where she has just started her second year of training.
As assistant operations manager, Chloe will oversee the daily running of the depot as she progresses with her training and development, whilst receiving support from a dedicated mentor. Duties include assessing the operations on a daily basis, dealing with incidents and queries, recruitment and staff management, as well as liaison with engineering.
The training programme aims to recognise, nurture and encourage the best in the transport industry, with the graduate benefitting from hands-on experience combined with comprehensive classroom theory tuition.
Chloe spent the first year of her training based at Stagecoach Oxford, where she worked within different departments at various depots, experiencing marketing, commercial, engineering and operations roles. This included learning to drive a bus and obtaining her PCV licence, as well as getting under the bus chassis and getting greasy!
After graduating from Herriot-Watt University in Edinburgh with a business degree, Chloe considered a career in HR but also wanted to work in operations, an aspect of her degree she really enjoyed.
She said: “When I was applying for jobs in my final year at university, Stagecoach’s website popped up on its careers page with their Graduate Training Programme which featured the operations and HR element combined so I applied for the placement and got it.”
“I spent my first year training in Oxford predominantly with Assistant Operations Manager Rob Hough and Operations Manager and fellow Scot Abbey Pettigrew, who also used to manage the depot in Stockton. They both taught me a great deal and have prepared me for my new role.”
During her training in Oxford, Chloe helped out with major events such as Cheltenham Festival, Countryfile Live and the British Grand Prix at Silverstone, ticket selling, helping to loading the buses and also driving, which she loves doing.
Chloe is very much looking forward to her new post on Teesside and would like to get back on the bus every now and then as part of her managerial duties. She said: “I loved driving the bus and hope to get back out and refresh my training. The very first time was nerve-wracking and I got to drive a bus on only my second day of training!
“I really enjoy talking and meeting people as part of the job and even the challenges this job brings, as some days push you more than others. Every day is different, especially at the moment as I get to grips with a new depot, team and area to live in. The training on the graduate programme is really good, with a wide selection of courses such as complaints handling, employment law etc, so the company looks after you really well.”
She continued: “I’m now looking forward to doing the job, bringing my learning and experience from Oxford to see how it may be implemented here and putting some ideas forward once I have settled in, or discover what the Teesside depot does better in terms of operations for my future career.”
This is Chloe’s first time in north east and she has taken a number of trips around the region with operations manager Nathan Stanislawski to get to grips with the route. Exploring local areas such as Norton and Hartlepool and further afield to Whitby, the region reminds Chloe a little of home and is much closer for a visit to her family back in Cults in Aberdeen.
Chloe hopes to develop a long career within the company, adding: “There are great opportunities for promotion at Stagecoach, but I never thought I would go into bus industry!”
Colin Newbury, Operations Director at Stagecoach North East, said: “We warmly welcome Chloe to the Stagecoach North East team and are positive that she will take to the role of assisting with the operations management very well.
“Our Graduate Training Programme helps to develop the next generation of managers and directors for Stagecoach and we embrace the fresh thinking, creative ideas and energy that they bring. Chloe will be an asset to the Stockton depot and will help maintain the crucial public transport network across the Tees Valley. We wish her all the best in the next stage of her career.”