People 1st is the sector skills council for employers in the hospitality, tourism, leisure, travel, passenger transport and retail industries. The organisation’s annual awards recognise exceptional apprentices, mentors and employers.
Stagecoach was the only public transport operator to be nominated in the Large Employer of the Year category at the awards ceremony in London. The company currently has 165 apprentices in years one to four of its programme which is widely recognised as among the best in the UK bus industry.
Stagecoach UK Bus Training and Development Manager Matt Darroch said: “It’s fantastic to win this award and have the hard work of our apprentices, and those who deliver our apprenticeship programme, recognised in this way.
“We place great value on our apprenticeship programme as it is critical to the future success of our business. As a company, we believe in investing in the engineers and managers of the future as they are the people who will help us continue to deliver greener, smarter bus and coach services for our customers in the years to come.”
Stagecoach runs a four-year programme in mechanical engineering, electrical engineering or body work engineering. On successful completion of year three, the apprentice receives a Modern Apprenticeship (Scotland) or an Advanced Apprenticeship (England and Wales) in Bus and Coach Engineering Maintenance, which is graded as a NVQ level 3. On successful completion of the fourth year of the programme, the apprentice is accredited as a member of the Institute of Motoring Industry. Stagecoach is the only bus operator to offer this IMI certification.
Simon Tarr, People 1st Managing Director, said: “Our research shows that our industries will have 2.8m job opportunities by 2022, with 600,000 skilled and management job vacancies. It is therefore vital that we encourage people to enter and stay in the industry and apprenticeships are the best way to do this.
“These awards promote the industry as a great place to work, highlight the value apprentices can offer, and celebrate those who play an essential role in supporting apprentices on their chosen career path. The passion and enthusiasm of everyone involved – the young people, their employers and those who came to support them – points to a great future for our industries.”