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21 Jun 2021
When newly qualified Guildford bus driver, Mark O'Shaughnessy, started his bus driver apprenticeship at the beginning of December 2019 with Stagecoach South, the scheme was new to the region.
Stagecoach work with training provider Realise on delivering their bus driving apprenticeship. Realise deliver apprenticeships, adult learning courses and development programmes across the country.
The bus driving apprenticeship programme is conducted over 14 months and covers driving license training, national driver training programme and mentoring. Bus driving apprentices have 10 workshops to attend with their Training and Development Officer to help develop knowledge, skills and behaviours required for their future role as a bus driver. The workshops range from accident prevention, having good safety conversations, technical problem solving, legal compliance and driving and decision making.
Three additional workshops are provided to prepare apprentices for their end point assessment where they are observed in service and had a professional review.
Mark started his training in the normal way in December 2019, but in March 2020 Mark was placed on furlough due to the covid pandemic and during this time he chose to attended his classroom session for his apprenticeship training and functional skills, via Zoom.
This experience was very different to being in the classroom and showed dedication and commitment. Mark soon got ahead in his progress to other learners that started the apprenticeship before him. He was then allocated to his own group to complete the remaining workshops and EPA preparation due to this.
Mark’s dedication was not only in attendance, his written work and assessments were completed to a very high standard. This clearly demonstrated throughout the programme the development of his knowledge relating to the role.
Mark’s Training and Development Officer Steven Barlow said “I did an Observation in service and you would have thought Mark would have had many years of experience driving a bus. It was one of the best observations of a learner I have encountered. His drive was safe, smooth and comfortable. He was engaging with every customer boarding. It was in challenging times with Covid, with the new social distance measures on board and ensuring customers followed the rules and mask compliance and exact fare.
Covid changed the way we delivered the apprenticeship programme and Mark embraced the change and was a big support for me as his Training and Development Officer as he was honest with his feedback regarding Zoom workshop delivery and this helped me improve lessons to a better quality for other learners.
Mark’s dedication, commitment and professional approach to the apprenticeship, functional skills exams and to his role of a driver defiantly shows he is a great example of how the apprenticeship scheme engages new drivers. He demonstrates all the Stagecoach values. I wish him luck with his career at Stagecoach.”
Operations Manager Rob Vince said “It’s great to have Mark on board with us now he’s passed his apprenticeship; he’s a real credit to the company and was so dedicated to the training programme it really shows in his day to day driving. The apprenticeship scheme is a great way into becoming a driver for Stagecoach, and not an avenue that many would think about initially.”
Pictured, left to right, are Operations Manager Rob Vince, Mark O'Shaughnessy and Realise Training and Development Officer, Steven Barlow.