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Stagecoach mechanic encourages women to join the bus industry during National Apprenticeship Week

08 Mar 2017

  • Former Apprentice shares her experience of a successful apprenticeship programme
  • More than 450 Stagecoach engineering apprenticeships completed and 180 currently underway

A Stagecoach mechanic is using National Apprenticeship Week to encourage more women to join the bus industry through the company’s apprentice scheme.

Jemma Wood, 25 from St. Neots, Cambridgeshire joined the Stagecoach apprenticeship programme in 2012 after reading a job advert while travelling home from work on a Stagecoach bus. She contacted the company and after a short recruitment process was invited to take part in the four year programme. Jemma has worked with Stagecoach East ever since and would recommend her career choice to others.

The Stagecoach Apprenticeship Programme was introduced 11 years ago, specifically designed to be one of the most comprehensive and challenging Apprenticeship Programmes in the bus industry. It is recognised as one of the best schemes aimed at producing qualified multi skilled technicians to work on increasingly more technologically advanced vehicles and aims to give participants the experience to become our future qualified technicians, engineering managers and even directors of the future.

Using the Bus and Coach Engineering Maintenance NVQ and Technical Certificate run by the IMI the company offers a Bus and Coach Engineering Apprenticeship to about 50 participants every year.

A total of 450 apprenticeships have been completed in recent years and a further 180 are underway, with apprentices based across Stagecoach’s regional bus companies.

Jemma said, “I spent my first three years in Peterborough and my final year in Cambridge. At first I was really worried about whether I would be able to keep up with the course but I needn’t have been. We all helped each other along, I made some really good friends during training, people who will be friends for life. Becoming an apprentice is great whether you’re academic or not. You get the same treatment whatever and if you weren’t that great at school, you can pick it up no problem and still get the qualification at the end.”

Jemma said that initially she was concerned about entering what is seen as a predominantly male workplace, “I was a little worried at first about how I would be accepted as a woman.  I needn’t have worried. My mentor was amazing; he had so much faith in me. I love the fact he took me on and focused on what I wanted to be. He took me from nothing to where I am today, a qualified mechanic. My gender is not important in my work.”

Stagecoach also runs an Apprentice Plus Programme for apprentices in their 4th Year.  This involves access to training courses with various manufacturers of bus parts as well as those actually building the buses.  They also spend a week long workshop focusing on interpersonal skills, planning, coaching, mentoring and communications.  The company works to continually develop the programme to ensure that apprentices are as up to date on developing technologies as possible.

Jemma recommends the programme to women also looking to begin a career as a mechanic. She said, “Becoming a Stagecoach apprentice was definitely a great move for me. It’s given me a career that I love that pays well and the training is amongst the best in the industry. I’d definitely recommend becoming an apprentice at Stagecoach.  I can’t believe that it’s 18 months since I graduated, the time has flown by. The day I saw the advert whilst sat on the bus on the way home from my rubbish job is the day that changed my life in so many ways.”

Stagecoach UK Bus won the Large Employer Category at the People 1st Apprenticeship Awards in 2017 for the robustness of its Apprentice Programme.

Clare Willis, Deputy Training & Development Manager (Engineering) at UK Bus said, “Jemma is a fantastic success story and a great advocate for our apprenticeship programme. She has worked hard and taken every opportunity offered to her. She now has a great career ahead of her and we’re proud that she’s part of the Stagecoach family.”

Clare says that the apprenticeship scheme is open to all, “We consider all applications regardless of age and our only requirement is that they have GCSE grade A - C or 4 and above or Standard Grade 1 - 3 / National 4 or 5 or equivalent in English Language, Maths and a Science.”

Anyone interested in becoming a Stagecoach Bus UK apprentice should visit here for further information.

To read more about Jemma’s career with Stagecoach UK Bus, read her story here.