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Award-winning recruitment scheme looking for next intake of trainees

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

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.”