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Stagecoach Calls for New Scottish Apprenticeship Pathway

05 Mar 2020

Stagecoach calls for new Scottish apprenticeship pathway to maximise opportunities for young people in public transport

  • Company marks Scottish Apprenticeship Week with call for new qualification
  • Dedicated bus driving Modern Apprenticeship could deliver hundreds of new opportunities
  • New initiative and funding flexibility would enhance Scotland's position as bus world leader
  • Stagecoach today (4 March 2020) called for a new Scottish apprenticeship to be created to maximise career opportunities for young people in the country's public transport sector.

    Britain's biggest bus and coach operator has marked Scottish Apprenticeship Week (2-6 March) with a call for the introduction of a dedicated new apprenticeship qualification for the bus and coach sector in Scotland.

    The company, which was founded 40 years ago in Perth, said that creating the new qualification and making funding more flexible could give young people in Scotland access to hundreds of extra apprenticeships opportunities a year.

    Last month, Stagecoach announced it was to recruit 600 extra apprentices during 2020. By the end of the year, it will employ around 1,000 driver apprentices and around 200 engineering apprentices.

    The majority of these opportunities will be created in England where there are accredited apprenticeships in bus and coach driving and in bus and coach engineering. However there is no bus and coach driver apprenticeship currently available in Scotland.

    Stagecoach has also called for a more flexible approach to apprenticeship funding. The key role of a bus driver cannot be undertaken by anyone under 18 years of age, however current funding in Scotland is largely focused on apprenticeships for 16 to 18-year-olds.

    Stagecoach Apprenticeships Manager Matthew Darroch said: "There has been a welcome focus on upskilling the UK's workforce by governments across the country in recent years. We have been making huge investment in extensive new opportunities for young people, but we want to do more.

    "Stagecoach is the industry leader in delivering bus driver apprenticeships in England, and we have similar ambitions for Scotland. If a Scottish Modern Apprenticeship in bus and coach driving was made available, Stagecoach would be able to deliver around 250 of these apprenticeships a year in Scotland.

    "Public transport is central to delivering the Scottish Government's welcome and ambitious climate change targets. To make that happen, the public transport sector needs the next generation of skilled bus drivers to operate the vital greener bus and coach services which support our economy and keep our communities connected.

    "These simple changes could also help give further impetus to the bus sector in Scotland, which is a world leader in terms of manufacturing and operations."

    Around 550 driver and engineering apprentices are currently employed by Stagecoach across its operations in England, Scotland and Wales. The huge expansion of apprenticeships in England will see the company more than double the number of learners employed over the next 10 months.

    Stagecoach is already the industry leader in bus driver apprenticeships .The 12-month programme provides a combination of practical training and off-the-job learning. It is delivered in partnership with training supplier Interserve Learning & Employment, complementing Stagecoach’s high standards around safety and customer service.

    More than 30 Stagecoach employees have gained their bus driver apprenticeship to date , with a further 100 expected to have completed the programme by the summer. They are the first in the country to have achieved the qualification.

    Stagecoach's engineering apprenticeship programme has run for more than 15 years, with a number of employees having gone on to develop their careers with the business.

    For more information on the bus driver apprenticeship programme go to:

    Further details on engineering apprenticeships are available at:

    Stagecoach is a supporter of the Scottish Government’s Developing Our Young Workforce initiative, which is designed to help all of the country’s young people get work ready and ensure employers have access to the skills to help their businesses grow.

    The company offers a range of work experience opportunities, provides placements as part of Foundation Apprenticeships, hosts workplace visits for schools, helps bring the curriculum to life in the classroom, and supports its employees who mentor young people.