Go North West aims high with Elite Academy
Go North West, a part of The Go-Ahead Group, is kicking off Britain’s biggest ever recruitment campaign for bus drivers in preparation for Greater Manchester’s Bee Network public transport service.
The company plans to hire up to 300 drivers for a newly created Elite Bus Driver Academy. The successful applicants will operate routes in Bolton and Wigan, earning upwards of £28,000.
Themed as ‘Be an Elite Driver’, the campaign uses fighter pilot style uniforms and imagery, and makes existing drivers the star of the show. Images of eight drivers will be emblazoned across a fleet of buses – bringing to life the prestige of being a driver, and the great careers on offer.
Applicants will be urged to become ‘the best of the best’, to find the thing that will make them awesome and to brace themselves for a career with ‘wheels…that you’ll steer’. They will undertake an intensive six-week training program, open both to existing bus driver licence holders and to those who have never sat behind the wheel of a bus before. Furthermore, Go North West will offer longer term apprenticeships combining studying with hands-on driving, allowing people to earn while they learn.
Go North West has quadrupled the size of its training team in anticipation of an influx of new recruits for this exciting new chapter for bus travel.
The drivers will operate yellow Bee Network buses in Bolton and Wigan from September – the first two areas to be franchised under Greater Manchester’s new vision for local buses. Andy Burnham, the Mayor of Greater Manchester, has set out a vision of an integrated London-style transport system bringing together buses, trams, rail, cycling and walking. In an initial step towards this, Go North West was selected by TfGM in late 2022 as the winner of its first two bus contracts.
Nigel Featham, Managing Director, Go North West, said: “This is a ground-breaking recruitment campaign to match the huge scale of change that we’ll be helping to deliver in Greater Manchester’s public transport. We’ve already had lots of interest in driving the new Bee Network buses and we’re expecting thousands of applications.
“We’re very proud to be pioneers in delivering these bus services for Greater Manchester”
Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, said: “Bus drivers play a pivotal role in helping people all over Greater Manchester get to where they need to go. The Bee Network is set to transform public transport here and it’s great to see this huge recruitment drive taking place, as we prepare for the launch in September, and the creation of hundreds of jobs for local people.
“There’s no better time to get involved in transport, so I’d encourage anyone who’s thinking about becoming a bus driver to get on board with us.”
Once the new contracts are underway, Go North West will operate more than 500 buses from Bolton, Wigan and from its existing Queen’s Road depot in central Manchester. And the company’s facility in Bolton will be the largest UK bus depot outside London.
Bus driver jobs include 20 days’ annual holiday, generous pensions and pay rates that quickly increase with experience. To apply or find out more about becoming a bus driver click here.