THE challenges of recruiting young people to become bus drivers were the focus of a ministerial visit to Carlisle's Stagecoach depot. 

Guy Opperman, who is the Minister for Roads and Local Transport visited Stagecoach Cumbria and North Lancashire’s Carlisle bus depot today for the launch of the government’s new consultation into driver recruitment among young people.

The MP for Hexham met with young drivers from Stagecoach and Stanley Travel to learn more about their experiences in the industry and why they chose to pursue a career in the field. 

Young people are currently underrepresented among drivers for buses and coaches but the government minister hopes that this consultation will encourage them to view this as a viable career opportunity whilst also addressing driver shortages. 

Roads Minister, Guy Opperman, said: “Being a bus, coach or lorry driver can be an excellent career for young people and these proposals could help get younger talent into transport, encouraging diversity in the sector.

“This could be a win-win, not only improving job opportunities for those leaving school but also going some way to continue to ease driver shortages, delivering more reliable bus and coach services and a more resilient supply chain as part of our plan to grow the economy.”

News and Star: Guy Opperman MP, Minister for Roads and Local Transport on a tour round Stagecoach in Carlisle meeting young drivers.Guy Opperman MP, Minister for Roads and Local Transport on a tour round Stagecoach in Carlisle meeting young drivers. (Image: Jonathan Becker)

Receiving a warm welcome from industry leaders, the consultation looks to be a positive way forward.

Tom Waterhouse, managing director of Stagecoach Cumbria and North Lancashire, said: “One of the barriers that our industry, and Stagecoach in particular, has is attracting young people into the career.

"In particular, attracting young people to become drivers with us. 

“This consultation is really about understanding how we can look at those barriers and make it more accessible for young people.”

Andrew Scott, Director of Stanley Travel, added: “Whatever comes of the consultation, it’s got to be an improvement on where we’re at now. 

“It really is a fantastic industry to be involved in, the drivers of both buses and coaches love the job so much. I would wholeheartedly encourage people to join it.”

News and Star: Guy Opperman MP meets young driver Liv RaymentGuy Opperman MP meets young driver Liv Rayment (Image: Jonathan Becker)

Oliver Smith, 19, eagerly awaits his qualification as a Stagecoach driver this week.

"I just love driving my car so I thought I might as well get paid for it," said Mr Smith.

"I applied, got the job, and now I love it.

"It’s the best thing."

Rhiannon Black, 21, is a coach driver with Stanley Travel and enjoys the travel opportunities the job offers.

“Every day is different, nothing is the same. It’s not like your standard 9-5 job where you’re doing the same thing every day.”

To be eligible for the role of a bus driver with Stagecoach, you need to be at least 18 years old and have held a driving licence for a minimum of 12 months. 

Anybody interested in finding out more is encouraged to get in touch. 

More information about driver vacancies with Stagecoach can be found here: