National Express Group celebrates company apprentices

National Express Group is celebrating the company’s apprentices during National Apprenticeship Week (Monday, March 14 - Friday, March 18).

The leading public transport provider, which operates coach, bus and rail services worldwide, is supporting the government campaign as it extols the virtues of more than a hundred apprentices employed group-wide.

Launching this year’s National Apprenticeships Week, the Skills Minister, Nick Boles, said: “Apprenticeships are set to be one of the success stories of the decade. They deliver for business, our economy and offer life-changing opportunities for our young people.”

No-one knows the benefits apprenticeships can bring better than Kevin Gale, the Service Delivery Director for National Express UK Coach, who started his career as an apprentice and has since welcomed scores more to the transport industry. A transport industry veteran with well over twenty years experience, Kevin got his first taste of the working world joining the rail industry as an apprentice just days shy of his sixteenth birthday. He paid tribute to the invaluable contribution of National Express apprentices.

He said: “It’s safe to say apprenticeships really help people start their career in the driving seat, enabling them to steer towards a bright future. Apprenticeships truly are win-win, offering huge benefits not only to the young people involved who gain invaluable skills and expertise, but also to participating businesses and the wider economy. I’m always blown away by the dedication and enthusiasm shown by our apprentices and seeing them go from strength to strength as they progress in the careers makes me really proud to be part of the business”.  

National Express West Midlands, whose buses service more than 450 routes across the West Midlands, employs over 5,000 staff - including 23 apprentices. These apprentices work in engineering across the company’s 10 garages in the West Midlands - as well as at the Midland Metro depot in Wednesbury and at Xplore Dundee in Scotland - and in back office departments like HR and Marketing.

Carol Richards from Kingstanding in Birmingham is an apprentice engineer at National Express’ Walsall bus garage. She says she wants to ‘rise to the top’ to inspire other women:

“I hope to complete my level 3 in bus and coach mechanics. I want to open the door to show females that there is a gap in engineering and that, with the help and support of the company, you can achieve your goals.”

Anthony Bell from Birmingham joined National Express West Midlands as an apprentice in November 2012. He was then taken on permanently and now works as an HR administrator at the company’s HQ in Birmingham’s Bordesley Green.

He says what he liked about his time as an apprentice at National Express was:

“No day is the same - it’s always busy. I enjoy working with friendly, helpful people who genuinely care about my future. I’d like to stay here for many years and progress my career in the HR department.”

Meanwhile, ten apprentices are currently working in the UK Coach side of the business in roles ranging from engineering to HR and customer care.  

Ava Drzazgowski works in the coach company’s HR Department and has made a real impression since joining as a business administration apprentice, scoring a permanent roll within a year.

She said:  'I joined as a business admin apprentice in April 2015 and nearly a year down the line I have a permanent position as a HR Coordinator. There are lots of opportunities to develop within the business - I am engagement champion for my department and in November I was nominated twice for employee of the year. The whole company has been so supportive of my growth and learning and I hope to stay here for a long time.'

Published 14th March 2016