Employer profile: Stagecoach, the UK’s biggest bus operator
Stagecoach has apprenticeships in mechanical and electrical engineering (combined) and bodywork!
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Public transport helps us to get around, but what's it like to work for a transport company? In this guide, you’ll learn all about working at Stagecoach, what apprenticeship opportunities are available, and how to apply.
Stagecoach at a glance:
All over the UK (except Northern Ireland)
Jobs you might not expect
Financial Accountant, Fleet Engineer, Tech Engineer, Marketing Manager, Social Media Lead, Inclusion & Culture Partner.
Kate Thompson, who is a People Development Partner, tells us what it’s really like to work for the company.
What does Stagecoach do?
Stagecoach is the UK’s biggest bus operator, with services connecting more than 100 major towns and cities across England, Scotland, and Wales. We also operate a number of coach and tram services.
Where is Stagecoach based?
Our head offices are in Perth (Scotland), London, and Stockport. We also have smaller offices across the UK, which are usually located in town and city centres and are attached to our bus depots.
Our office-based staff work on a hybrid basis and the number of days they’re based at the office depends on which team they’re in, and whether they’re needed in-person.
What is your workspace is like?
Most of our employees are drivers and engineers and they’re based at our bus depots which are fast-paced environments with lots of things happening. At these sites, we have large teams of engineers doing things like MOTs and repairs on our buses so the garage space is full of machinery and tools, whilst our drivers are busy taking the buses in and out of the depot.
There are also offices attached to the bus depots which have a range of boardrooms and computer stations for our different office-based teams like HR and finance.
What are some of the most common entry-level roles at Stagecoach?
A common entry-level position is a bus driver. Drivers are the face of our business and they play an important role in safely transporting our customers. On a typical week, full-time drivers follow a five-day roster pattern with the same start time. However, we offer flexible working hours with daytime, evening, and weekend shifts. Some of our drivers even work part-time for us while they’re studying at university.
Drivers will know the bus routes that they’re driving in advance of their shift, and they’ll normally stay on that specific route for the full shift unless there’s an emergency like a staff shortage on another route.
Our drivers start on a salary of approximately £25,000, and they receive benefits like paid-for training, and free travel for them and their family.
How can someone join Stagecoach at entry-level?
We offer bus driver and bus engineer apprenticeships, and a graduate leadership programme.
Our Level 2 Bus Driver Apprenticeship is 12-14 months in length, and you’ll start transporting passengers once you’ve gained your PCV licence. Outside of driving, you’ll be building your knowledge of Stagecoach as a company, and learning more about our operations.
We have two Level 4 Bus Engineer Apprenticeship Programmes in ‘Mechelec’ (a combined mechanical and electrical qualification) and Body / Coachbuilding. These apprenticeships are four years long – the first three years are spent on the job, learning in the depot and working towards the Bus and Coach Engineering Technician Standard, and the fourth year is focused on strengthening your technical skills. There’s lots of opportunities to specialise in different types of vehicles, for example, we have some engineers that work specifically on electric-powered vehicles, and others that fix and install computer systems onboard the buses.
We also have our Stagecoach UK Bus Graduate Development Programme, which is a two-year programme with a guaranteed manager role at the end.
Whether you join us as a bus driver or another role, we’re really keen to support your development, so it’s common at Stagecoach for people to start as a bus driver, and then move into different roles like engineering, IT, or management.
What are the entry requirements for these roles?
For our Level 2 Bus Driver Apprenticeship no formal qualifications are required, although a good level of literacy and numeracy would be an advantage. You’ll also need a driving licence with no more than six penalty points on it.
To apply for our Bus Engineer Apprenticeship Programme, you’ll need three GCSEs at grade 4/C or above (or equivalent) in maths, science, and English. You also need to have a genuine interest in engineering.
To apply for our Stagecoach UK Bus Graduate Development Programme, you’ll need a degree in any subject with a 2:2 or above.
What is one top tip to help an entry-level applicant succeed at getting into Stagecoach?
We transport thousands of passengers every year and we’re always seeking new ways to give our customers the best experience. Do some research and think about how we can keep customers coming back to use our services. This could include easier ways to buy tickets, installing entertainment systems onboard our buses, or a loyalty system to reward our regular customers.
What work experience or internship opportunities are there with Stagecoach?
We offer work experience placements during the summer, and these are usually arranged individually by request by contacting your local Stagecoach depot. During your placement you’ll hear about our different business areas and the services we provide. You’ll normally complete your placement in one of our central support functions, like finance or HR, and this is a good opportunity to build up a useful set of contacts with our employees and managers.
What can students be doing right now to build their experience?
Start to gain an understanding of how transport companies work. Go to your local car garage and ask if you can do some work experience, or visit a bus garage and talk to the staff there to learn more about how they operate.
Good stuff from elsewhere
Stagecoach engineering apprenticeship programme Find out more about Stagecoach's combined mechanical and electrical engineering apprenticeship programme