First welcomes Transport Minister’s apprenticeship visit

First Bus has welcomed Roads and Local Transport Minister, Richard Holden MP, to Reaseheath College as part of National Apprenticeship Week.

A partnership between First Bus and Reaseheath College has helped to establish the UK’s first PCV engineering academy. Apprentices are trained on the current fleet mix alongside the next generation of zero-emission vehicles. The College in in Nantwich, Cheshire first opened the national centre in partnership with First Bus in October 2021. Together they have transformed the college’s Hurleston Road site into a bespoke engineering apprentice academy.

Over £650,000 investment has gone into the training academy since the launch of the partnership with First Bus. The facility adopts a work experience-style environment to help instil a workplace mindset among apprentices and maintain a seamless switch from depot to learning for the apprentices.

The Roads Minister was given a full tour of the facility by First Bus Chief Operating Officer, Andrew Jarvis and Head of Engineering Excellence, Tony Cockcroft, alongside Marcus Clinton, Principal and Chief Executive of Reaseheath College.

First Bus currently has a total of 132 apprentices in the business across England, Scotland and Wales, with 82 of those currently learning at the Reaseheath facility, specialising in mechanical and electrical engineering, coach building and stores.

“Apprenticeships are at the heart of the government’s mission to boost skills and employment” – Richard Holden MP

Richard Holden MP said: “Driving good skilled jobs across engineering and science across the country, and discovering new-age technologies to tackle pollution go hand in hand.

“Apprenticeships are at the heart of the government’s mission to boost skills and employment, and it was brilliant to see the great work from First Bus with apprentices here in Reaseheath College, paving the way for exciting careers in a zero-emission bus future.”

“The creation of the facility at Reaseheath College has been a game-changer for our apprenticeship programme” – Andrew Jarvis, Chief Operating Officer for First Bus

Andrew Jarvis, Chief Operating Officer for First Bus, said: “The creation of the facility at Reaseheath College has been a game-changer for our apprenticeship programme.

“It has been a concentrated collective effort by our Local Business Units around the country to ensure our apprentices have the best start to their training and the partnership with the team at Reaseheath College has been a huge part of this process.

“We’ve been determined to make sure access to vehicles and equipment for technical skills development are best-in-class and the programme is industry leading in order to recreate a realistic depot environment for our apprentices.

“Zero-emission engine technologies are evolving rapidly as First Bus invests in greener fleets to reduce carbon and improve air quality. It’s vitally important that we build a pipeline of highly skilled engineers with the right knowledge to maintain the current and next generation of buses to help futureproof our business.”

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