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(L-R) Steve McCall from Jobcentre Plus, Go North East's Keith Robertson, and Ivan Jepson from Gateshead College
(L-R) Steve McCall from Jobcentre Plus, Go North East's Keith Robertson, and Ivan Jepson from Gateshead College

News -

Royal seal of approval for Go North East and Gateshead College’s training initiative

Go North East, the region's largest bus company, and Gateshead College, the best performing college in England for post 16 education and training, have received a royal seal of approval for their unique Bus Driver Routeway training programme in this year’s Princess Royal Training Awards.

The revolutionary programme was created by the organisations, in partnership with the Jobcentre, as a way of improving the recruitment process for the unemployed. Of the 250 learners who have undertaken the programme, success at interview has risen from 27% to 76% and learners gaining employment has increased from 9% to 44%.

Go North East and Gateshead College join a total of 48 recipients from a wide range of sectors in achieving the prestigious Princess Royal Training Awards standard of excellence in training.

The announcement follows the adjudication of the Princess Royal Training Awards Commission, composed of seven leading figures in the business and learning & development community and HRH The Princess Royal, who is the President of the City & Guilds Group.

Keith Robertson, Recruitment and Training Manager at Go North East, said: “It’s an honour for Go North East to be recognised as having one of the UK’s best workplace learning programmes.

“The hard work that our recruitment and training team have put in to deliver this programme has received the recognition it deserves. They play a vital role in getting unemployed people across the region back into work, with the help of Gateshead College and the Jobcentre.”

Ivan Jepson, Director of Business Development at Gateshead College, commented: “To be recognised at this level is a great achievement for Go North East and Gateshead College, who were also recognised separately for the training we have in place for own employees.

“The whole point of investing in skills is to strengthen the performance of your business and the Bus Driver Routeway is a fantastic example of one which does just that as well as creating real opportunities for local people. Congratulations to everyone involved.”

Patricia Stringfellow, Chair of the Princess Royal Training Awards Commission, added: “You are truly an exemplar of training and learning best practice.”

To find out more about the Princess Royal Training Awards, visit




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