Industry welcomes ex-Wilko staff

After the news that a rescue deal to save failing high-street shop Wilko from going out of business fell through, the bus and coach industry has offered potential employment opportunities.

Cambridgeshire-based Whippet is appealing to Wilko’s staff to join its operation.

In a post on its social media, Whippet said: “We’re saddened to hear that the rescue deal for Wilko has fallen through. Anyone looking for a career change is invited to apply with us. We have vacancies for local bus drivers and welcome applications from those with great customer service skills.”

All of Transdev’s companies in northern England have guaranteed interviews to former-Wilkos staff.

Transdev Training Manager, Dale French, said: “We’re naturally sad to hear the news about Wilko – they have stores in many of the communities we serve in Yorkshire, Lancashire and Greater Manchester.

“We’d like to offer all Wilko colleagues who hold a current driving licence a guaranteed interview for a driving role with us. Right now, we have opportunities to join our driving teams at each of our ten operating centres across the North.

“We’ll teach newcomers how to drive a bus, and pay for their training on and off the road. We’re looking for people who love being the best and are ready to make a fresh start – especially those with retail experience who know how to give our customers a friendly welcome, every time.

“In return, we offer a highly competitive pay and rewards package, one of the best in the bus industry, including free travel for you and your partner on our buses and most others across the North – plus discounts on shopping, health and more via our exclusive Transdev Exchange app, and a generous company pension scheme with life cover.

“We present awards and rewards to our best performers, and we offer opportunities to progress and develop into other roles with us through our ‘Step Up’ talent development programme. If you’re at Wilko and looking to change direction, we’re keen to meet you to talk about who we are, and what we can offer.”

Stagecoach East Midlands is offering interviews to Wilko staff affected by the closures, including those at the stores in Sutton in Ashfield and Worksop. For those affected, immediate start bus driver vacancies are available at both of Stagecoach’s depots in Mansfield and Worksop. Roles are on offer for both those looking to train to be a bus driver and existing PCV licence holders.

Applicants looking to gain their licence will have all their training paid for and will earn from day one. PCV licence holders joining the business will be offered a £1200 welcome bonus.

Matt Cranwell, Managing Director at Stagecoach East Midlands, said: “Our hearts at Stagecoach go out to those affected by the job losses at Wilko, particularly given the current economic climate.

“Our operations teams will process applications from Wilko staff quickly and can offer immediate starts with the aim of helping people get back into work as quickly as possible.

“As a bus operator transporting millions of passengers everyday, we are able to offer staff a secure job, guaranteed hours and good rates of pay.”

The messages follow Adventure Travel’s appeal to former-Wilko staff to apply to it for employment that was made last month as news of the collapse of Wilkos came out.

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