National Express West Midlands, one of the region’s largest employers, and Job Centre Plus have today launched the pioneering ‘Routes to Work’ agreement.
The agreement will ensure that National Express West Midlands get the 1,700 people they need to fill their vacancies across the region over the next three years as well as using new methods to increase the amount of young people and women driving buses in the region.
There will be 125 completely new jobs created as part of the agreement which will include additional route managers to improve the punctuality and reliability of key services across the region. Many of the vacancies will be created by natural staff turnover including large numbers of bus drivers who are reaching retirement age and will need to be replaced by new drivers.
The groundbreaking ‘Routes to Work’ agreement will be signed by Chris Grayling MP Minister of State Work and Pensions and Peter Coates Managing Director National Express West Midlands.
Routes to Work will see both National Express West Midlands and the Job Centre Plus take new action to get people into the 1,700 job vacancies the bus operator has in the region and will deliver:
- 1,700 people into jobs with secure permanent contracts
- Easier access to employment for women and young people
- Increased adult training
- A new regional transport work academy
- National Express West Midlands ‘Recruitment Roadshows’
- Greater understanding of the rewards of working for National Express West Midlands
- Pre interview training to ensure more candidates are ready to succeed
The agreement will deliver a massive jobs boost to the West Midlands, which latest figures show has an unemployment rate of 9.1%, with 241,000 people looking for work.
The majority of these roles will be bus drivers. Applicants do not need to be experienced bus drivers, but they must have a full driving licence and excellent people skills.
Successful applicants will gain an accredited bus driver’s licence, national qualifications in numeracy and literacy through National Express’s adult apprenticeship, pension benefits and free local travel.
National Express is Birmingham’s, and one of the region’s, biggest private sector employers with over 5,400 staff at its ten garages across the Black Country, Birmingham and Coventry.
Peter Coates, Managing Director, National Express West Midlands said:
“I am delighted to sign this new groundbreaking agreement and promote the jobs we need to fill over the next 3 years. ‘Routes to Work’ will see both National Express West Midlands and the Job Centre Plus take new action to get more young people and women behind the wheel of our buses.”
“There are a lot of people looking for jobs across the West Midlands at present and we urge them to go to www.nationalexpress.jobs and have a look at what it takes to become a bus driver.”
“The job of a bus driver is rewarding, flexible and very social as well as providing great service to local people. We have fantastic staff in the West Midlands and successful applicants would be joining a large and established business that plays a key part in many peoples’ lives.”
Chris Grayling MP, Minster for Employment said:
“I think National Express’s announcement will provide really good opportunities for people to get into the transport industry.”
“We need new blood to replace people who are going to retire shortly and also new employment opportunities in the UK. This announcement offers both.”
“It’s a particularly good chance for young people to start their career.”