February 13 2024

  • Newly qualified bus and coach drivers with electric bus company Ember were celebrated in Dundee this week.
  • The drivers completed an innovative new scheme from Jobcentre Plus.
  • Attendees included representatives from the Department for Work and Pensions, Dundee City Council and the Confederation of Passenger Transport.

Two newly qualified bus drivers were commended this week at a special celebratory event in Dundee after they completed a groundbreaking pilot training scheme.

The drivers, who now work for Ember, the world's first all-electric intercity bus operator, were the recipients of a special presentation after months of successful training. Those in attendance at the event included representatives from the Department for Work and Pensions and Dundee City Council.

The partnership scheme was the result of an innovative collaboration between Ember and Jobcentre Plus.

Using statistics from trade association Confederation of Passenger Transport (CPT) on staff shortages, Jobcentre Plus identified Ember as a suitable local employer in need of drivers.

Through the sector’s collaborative efforts, a group of candidates were recruited and taken through the full training process, ultimately becoming fully-fledged bus drivers with Ember, who provide all-electric intercity travel in Scotland.

It is hoped that the scheme will act as a blueprint to be rolled out more widely across the UK in the future. The project forms part of a wider strategy from DfT and DWP to tackle the driver shortages in the bus and coach sector.

Roads Minister Guy Opperman MP said:

“It’s fantastic to see the trainees complete their training with Ember, and I’d like to thank my colleagues at DWP for helping make their ambition of becoming bus drivers a reality.

“We’re investing £4.5 billion to protect and improve bus services, and we will continue to work closely with industry and DWP to attract new and brilliant talent to the bus and coach sector, creating new jobs, levelling up transport and growing the economy.”

Alistair Mackey, Ember’s Operations Manager said:

“Partnering with DWP to recruit these new drivers into the sector has been a very worthwhile experience. We would thoroughly recommend other operators and Jobcentres get involved.”

Newly qualified Ember driver Stuart Strachan said:

“I’m thrilled to have completed my training with Ember and am really excited to be embarking on this new chapter in my career. Thanks to all the instructors and the team behind the scenes for all their support.”

Keith McNally, CPT’s Operations Director said:

“We are proud of our role in facilitating this partnership and the achievement of the drivers who have successfully completed their training. Partnership working between the public and private sector is critical to addressing issues such as the shortage of drivers in the bus and coach industry.”

Full photos from the day available here.