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L-R Steve McColl from JobCentrePlus, Keith Robertson from Go North East and Ivan Jepson from Gateshead College
L-R Steve McColl from JobCentrePlus, Keith Robertson from Go North East and Ivan Jepson from Gateshead College

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Award-winning recruitment scheme looking for next intake of trainees

A first-of-its-kind training and skills programme launched to help local unemployed people get back into work while supporting Go North East’s recruitment of new bus drivers, has gone from strength-to-strength, with the region’s largest bus operator now looking for more trainees for its September intake.

The Bus Driver Routeway in partnership with Gateshead College and Jobcentre Plus, launched in October 2016 as a pilot. Nearly two years later and over 150 local people have completed the programme, with almost half going on to secure driving roles within Go North East 1600-strong bus-driving team.

Recognising that many people are out of work due to a lack of training or education, the free four-week programme combines complementary training from all partners. Learners benefit from fundamental refresher courses in English, Maths and interpersonal skills, provided by Gateshead College and blended with critical subjects such as employability, CV writing, interview techniques, equality and diversity.

Jobcentre Plus helps to recruit applicants and covers their travel expenses for the programme as part of the partnership arrangement and unlike standard application processes, participants in the programme receive intensive training prior to interview, to ensure their chances of future employment are improved for life.

Tyneside Training Services, part of Gateshead College conducts practical driving assessments and tuition, with Go North East delivering a driver skills training course. The award-winning bus company also provides depot tours and a company induction, alongside health and safety and occupational health training. The process completes with a presentation to mark the end of the programme.

In recognition of its success, the scheme has attracted national attention, with the partnership collecting the top accolade for In-House Innovation in Recruitment at the national Recruiter Awards in May 2018, as well as being highly commended for Best Candidate Experience. 

Keith Robertson, recruitment and training manager at Go North East, commented: “We’re blown away by the success of our Bus Driver Routeway and are proud to offer a training scheme that gives people in our region the opportunity and support they need to prepare themselves for work – ensuring their chances of future employment are improved for life. We look forward to helping many more people back into employment through our September intake.”

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On the Go since 1913

Around 175,000 journeys are made on Go North East bus services every day to travel around this wonderful region. Travelling to work or education, to visit friends and family, to have a night out, or to visit one of the region's many tourist and leisure attractions.

For over 100 years, Go North East has connected the region's towns and villages with the cities of Newcastle, Durham and Sunderland and currently operates across Northumberland, Tyne and Wear, County Durham and into Tees Valley.

Employing over 2,000 local people, with a fleet of almost 700 buses and coaches and an annual turnover of £100m, the company is the regional subsidiary of the Go-Ahead Group plc, one of the UK's leading providers of passenger transport.

Go North East
117 Queen Street
NE8 2UA Gateshead