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Stagecoach South West celebrates National Apprenticeship Week 2023

  • The company invests each year in the training and development of new people joining the workforce.
  • The company’s courses offer ‘Skills for life’ awarding candidates with an industry recognised qualification and position with the company.
  • Stagecoach urges anyone considering their next steps to consider the public transport sector for their career choice

This week local bus operator Stagecoach South West are celebrating National Apprenticeship Week 2023 by highlighting people across their business who have excelled through the company’s apprenticeship schemes.

Each year National Apprenticeship Week details the benefits that apprentices can bring to local communities, businesses, and the wider economy. With this year’s theme being ‘Skills for life’ it’s a great opportunity for people to consider the public transport sector as a career choice. Stagecoach has been at the forefront of championing apprentices in the workforce for many years, recognising that the schemes bring huge value to the business in terms of talent and diversity as well as providing opportunities for internal development and succession planning.

Stagecoach heavily invests every year in the training and development of new people joining the workforce, as well as offering Driver and Engineering apprenticeships across the UK. The Passenger Transport Bus Driver apprenticeship has been offered in partnership with Realise since 2018. The course uses a combination of practical training and off-the-job learning providing a comprehensive package to teach the many skills needed to be a good bus driver. The high quality, innovative programme was recognised in the 2022 Top 100 Apprenticeship Employers, with Stagecoach Group placing 36th across the UK.

The company also currently offers two apprenticeships in their Bus Engineers’ Programme. Applicants can choose from a Coachbuilder course, or the ‘Mechelec’ course – a combined mechanical and electrical qualification. Both are four-year programmes spent on the job learning in the depot with an allocated mentor as well as attending a specialist training facility. Upon completion of all Stagecoach apprenticeship training, successful candidates are awarded an industry recognised qualification and position with the company.

Stagecoach South West have countless examples of apprentices who have successfully continued their career path with the company. Former apprentice Tony Vincent is now Engineering Director in the South West of England business. Having started the Stagecoach Apprenticeship Programme in 2006, Tony was able to progress his career with Stagecoach working firstly in the garage environment before developing through Assistant Manager and Engineering Manager positions. Tony is a fantastic example of how an apprenticeship can be the foundation of a hugely successful career.

Another shining example of the scheme is local Workshop Manager Luke Edgecombe, who started his apprenticeship journey at aged 17.  Having successfully completed his level one qualification in Light vehicles in 2011. Luke powered through this two-year course in just one year, before gaining a place on the Stagecoach apprenticeship scheme in 2012, and completing his Level 3 qualification in Bus and Coach Mechanical Engineering in 2016.

Once qualified, Luke worked on the Garage shift for the next 5 years, completing several specialist courses, before a management position in the workshop became available in 2021. At the age of 26, Luke became Worksop Manager for Exeter, now responsible for the maintenance of the Exeter fleet and MOT’s across 250 vehicles in the South West’s fleet.

Today Stagecoach Southwest celebrates two more of their successful apprentices. Casey Knight, a Stagecoach South West Falcon driver based at the company’s Plymouth depot, who completed the Passenger Transport Driver level 2 apprenticeship. 

Casey said “The course has been quite straight forward, and the workshop days were really enjoyable.  If you are ever unsure of anything, the course leaders are on hand to point you in the right direction. They offer great level of support and plenty of advice to help when you’re out on the road.” 

“I personally didn’t find any challenges with the course, but the course leaders where really approachable so I definitely would have felt comfortable to seek help if I needed to.” 

“I would absolutely encourage anyone thinking of starting an apprenticeship to do it! It’s very straight forward, you’re supported all the way through and you gain really good understanding of the role.” 

James Beer is an Exeter Mechelec technician who undertook his apprenticeship apprentice between 2016 and 2020.  James, having two Grandfathers who worked in Engineering always dreamt of following in their footsteps by embarking upon an Engineering career path. One grandfather had a successful career in Avionics, whilst the other worked as an engineer manufacturing tanks in the army.

Growing up, this fuelled James’ interest in the subject, leading him to take the first steps by working for local airline Flybe before applying to the Stagecoach apprenticeship scheme. James thoroughly enjoyed the apprenticeship and even met his partner of 5 years during his time spent at the classroom-based sessions!

James said ‘The apprenticeship offers a great opportunity to earn whilst you learn. There’s a good mix of classroom and practical learning. I particularly enjoy the atmosphere of working in the garage, and I work with a really great team of people.’

To find out more about the apprenticeships on offer at Stagecoach South West visit: