February 11 2021

National Express’ Engineering Training Manager, Lee Sandford, has something to celebrate this National Apprenticeship Week.

For several years now, we have been working with Birmingham’s South and City College on the National Express Training Academy.

Inside the college’s Bordesley campus, we installed a real-life garage. It’s got an MOT pit lane and brake roller tester. This gives the students actual hands-on experience of working on vehicles. We also donated an old bus and various parts so their practice is as close as possible to real-world engineering.

We were very proud when it was finally finished and officially launched by West Midlands mayor Andy Street in October 2018.

The college works with Jobcentre Plus to identify under-24-year-olds who are looking for work. They can enrol and learn the skills they need before going on to employment. Every student who successfully completes and passes their training is guaranteed an interview for a role with National Express.

And I’m thrilled to say that our first cohort of Bus and Coach Engineering Apprentices have now passed their first gateway exam - with a 100% pass rate!

This group joined us in October 2019 on a three-year apprenticeship. This gives them the skills to work on traditional bus and coach engines. It also develops their skills to support engineering projects on our new fleet of 29 electric buses.

I’m especially pleased that one of our teachers - James Dovey - is a former apprentice himself. Now he’s passing the torch on to the next generation. He has worked above and beyond and he should be really proud of this level of achievement.

Even though we are in the middle of a global pandemic, at National Express we are still developing our future engineering generations. Early this year, we took on another cohort of nine multi-skilled engineering apprentices.

With the landscape of engineering changing so fast, this cohort will be studying for the IMI Hybrid and Full Electric Vehicle qualifications, future-proofing their skills and ensuring they are fully on board with National Express West Midlands’ commitment to have a fully zero-emission fleet by 2030.

So as you can see, here at National Express, we are fully committed to #buildthefuture