The Go-Ahead Group sets out plans to recruit 850 bus and rail apprentices during 2024
- Recruitment target includes 500 trainee London bus drivers and 220 rail apprentices
- Go-Ahead has trained more than 5,500 apprentices since 2019 – enough to fill the Royal Albert Hall
- Apprentices ‘learn while they earn’ and are of all ages and backgrounds
The Go-Ahead Group, the UK’s largest employer of transport apprentices, aims to recruit 850 apprentices during 2024 to train as bus drivers, rail drivers, engineers and in a variety of administrative roles. The new recruits will all be taught functional skills, including English and maths, while working in Go-Ahead’s depots, stations, and offices.
This year’s intake will bring the total number of apprentices hired by Go-Ahead since 2019 to 6,000 – enough to fill London’s Royal Albert Hall.
Over the year ahead, Go-Ahead London, responsible for a quarter of London's buses, plans to hire 500 apprentice bus drivers, most of whom will be on the road driving within six weeks of recruitment. Drivers are trained at Go-Ahead London’s Camberwell academy – the industry’s largest in-house apprenticeship centre.
Meanwhile, Govia Thameslink Railway, which operates Thameslink, Southern, Great Northern and Gatwick Express trains, is set to welcome 220 apprentice engineers and train drivers. Go North West, the Manchester-based bus company known for launching Greater Manchester’s Bee Network public transport service, aims to add 100 apprentice bus drivers. Additional apprentices will be recruited across various roles at Go-Ahead's regional bus companies and in head office positions in London and Newcastle.
Go-Ahead has recruited apprentices of all ages and backgrounds – the youngest hired by the group has been 16 (although 18 is the minimum age for bus and rail drivers). The oldest apprentice to join Go-Ahead was 65. Some join straight from school, while others are career switchers.
Carolyn Ferguson, Go-Ahead Group’s Chief People Officer, expressed pride in the new generation of apprentices. She said: “Our successful apprenticeship program and apprentices across the Go-Ahead Group play a vital role in shaping the future of the business and the broader transport industry. What they bring to the Go-Ahead Group is invaluable to our business and the transport sector, and we will continue to invest in talent and diversity.”
The Go-Ahead Group ranked 5th last year in the UK’s Top 100 Apprenticeship Employer listings – a ranking developed by the Department for Education.
Apprentice case studies
Wioletta Kuszyk at Govia Thameslink Railway
Wioletta, a driver for Southern Railway, is a resilient professional with 15 years in hospitality. She navigated a career shift at 39 due to the pandemic's challenges, leaving her role as a chef to pursue a new path in the rail industry. In her train driver apprenticeship, she consistently excels, holding an NVQ in English as a vital step towards her qualification, as a Polish native. Wioletta, who identifies as LGBTQ+, passionately encourages gender diversity in the traditionally male-dominated field. Her exceptional skills and proactive approach, demonstrated through top marks, assisting peers, and early exam requests, highlight her dedication. Beyond her work ethic, Wioletta fosters inclusivity, making her a valued member of Norwood Stations driver team. Her story exemplifies the possibilities through determination, a shining example during National Apprenticeship Week.
Zack Cross at Go East Anglia
Zack Cross is a dedicated apprentice pursuing a Bus & Coach apprenticeship at Go East Anglia (GEA). Focused on NVQ Level 3, Zack chose apprenticeship over university for its practical, hands-on learning, allowing him to earn while gaining valuable experience. Zack values real-world skills over theory, embracing the positive atmosphere and camaraderie at GEA. With ambitions to become an engineering manager, Zack envisions a future of continued development at GEA. Celebrating National Apprenticeships Week, Zack Cross exemplifies dedication, practical learning, and a promising journey in bus and coach engineering.
LeVaughn Kaisa at Go East Anglia
LeVaughn Kaisa, is enrolled on to the MechElec Bus & Coach apprenticeship at GEA, aiming for NVQ Level 3 certification. His journey showcases the profound impact of practical learning. Driven by the desire for hands-on knowledge, LeVaughn strategically chose GEA for his apprenticeship, an investment in both learning and earning. Confronting challenges head-on, LeVaughn employs a powerful strategy—asking questions and seeking guidance—transforming obstacles into stepping stones. Beyond the apprenticeship, he envisions a future climbing the management ladder. LeVaughn's inspiring journey during National Apprenticeships Week highlights the transformative potential of merging knowledge with practical application.
Nikkita Gordon at Go-Ahead London
Nikkita Gordon is a standout London Bus Driver from Go-Ahead London’s Croydon Garage. Nikkita's journey began with an impressive readiness, skills, and can-do attitude on electric Buses. Beyond her driving prowess, Nikkita champions gender diversity, recently representing apprentices at the House of Parliament. Nikkita aspires to be the first female Driving Examiner for Go-Ahead, aiming to inspire more women to lead in a traditionally male-dominated field. Recognised for outstanding work ethics, she sets high standards, earning praise from her mentor. Her qualifications and achievements include PCV theory test and safety courses, exemplify her commitment to excellence. As we celebrate National Apprenticeship Week, Nikkita Gordon's story inspires the transport industry to embrace diversity and empower aspiring individuals to reach their goals.
Philip Hodgson at Go North East
In the spotlight for National Apprenticeship Week is Philip Hodgson, a third-year Mechanical Electrical Engineering Apprentice at Go North East. Philip, who sought a new challenge after a stint in the car industry, embraced the ethos of "bigger is better" and applied for an apprenticeship at GNE. Throughout his apprenticeship, he has acquired many skills that have set him up for life as an engineer. The practical learning environment provided by his apprenticeship is of immeasurable value to him, and Philip expresses his gratitude to Go North East and the supportive staff who have been instrumental in his journey.