FIRST Bus has started a training programme to combat driver shortages in the transport sector.

Realise, which delivers apprenticeships and adult education programmes in England, has partnered with First Bus to develop a dedicated course in customer service skills and driving theory to offer hard-to-reach groups and unemployed people in West Yorkshire the chance to start a career with the bus operator.

Funded by West Yorkshire Combined Authority, the new training programme has been designed to teach learners the skills and behaviours required to succeed in the transport industry.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: First has launched a training programme for new bus drivers First has launched a training programme for new bus drivers

The 10-day course will be delivered through online and classroom teaching, with learners undertaking training in customer service and bus driving theory with Realise before getting behind the wheel with First Bus.

Those who wish to apply for the course must be aged 18 or over and have a clean diving licence, or one with no more than six points. Those who are successful will gain a Passenger Carrying Vehicle licence.

Tom Bridge, operations director of First West Yorkshire, said: “We are seeing a gradual rise in diversity with people from wider backgrounds and with transferable skills joining our workforce and we want this to continue.

“We are confident that working with Realise will be another way to bring more applications for job opportunities as we look to build back driver resource in tandem with growing passenger numbers to pre-pandemic levels.”

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Tracy Brabin, West Yorkshire Mayor, has backed the driver programme Tracy Brabin, West Yorkshire Mayor, has backed the driver programme

Tracy Brabin, Mayor of West Yorkshire, said: “I am absolutely delighted to see Realise and First Bus take great initiative utilising funding from West Yorkshire’s Adult Education Budget to give individuals the knowledge and confidence to apply for bus driving roles.

“It’s fantastic that 100 per cent of the first cohort were employed by First Group.

“It proves that having devolved powers to allocate funding where it is needed is already having a positive impact on the skills shortages across West Yorkshire.”

Gregg Scott, managing director of Realise, said: “It’s really exciting to be starting this journey with First Bus and supporting the next generation of trainee drivers across West Yorkshire.

Bus driving can be a great career and many of the people we’ve worked with in the past tell us that they would never look back now they’ve made the leap into the transport industry

“We’ve only just launched the new programme with First Bus but already 562 people have applied across West Yorkshire which shows the demand is there so we can’t wait to get going.”

Go to for more information or to apply.