Future looks fare for bus company apprentice

NEW STARTER: Peter Billyard, from Peterlee, has started his career with an apprenticeship at Stagecoach's Sunderland depot.
NEW STARTER: Peter Billyard, from Peterlee, has started his career with an apprenticeship at Stagecoach's Sunderland depot.
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A NEW career is just the ticket for Peterlee student Peter Billyard.

The 21-year-old is looking forward to a career in engineering, thanks to an apprenticeship scheme operated by bus company Stagecoach North East.

The operator offers apprenticeship opportunities across the region in mechanical, body repair and electrical engineering, and has taken Peter on to train at its depot in Sunderland.

He is in the first year of the scheme, gaining hands-on practical training alongside studying at college in Glasgow over six one-week blocks each year.

The four-year programme involves a combination of residential training undertaking the Technical Certificate in Bus and Coach Engineering Maintenance and on the job training at a local depot.

As an engineering apprentice, Peter will learn all aspects of vehicle maintenance through its workshop, preparing vehicles for the road, conducting MOTs and making repairs.

As part of the training programme, every apprentice is guided by a nominated mentor from the company, who will provide support and advice throughout the four-year scheme.

Previously an apprentice toolmaker for three years, Peter’s employer recently closed down so for him, this was the perfect opportunity.

“I have always liked working with engines and getting my hands dirty so I am really pleased to be here,” he said.

“As I am the first in my family to study engineering, they are very proud.”

Gary Chisholm, engineering director at Stagecoach North East, said: “We are committed to developing our staff, and offering apprenticeship opportunities is a great way to bring young people into the company and nurture their skills from the outset of their professional career.

“The four-year course gives all our apprentices the opportunity to train while earning, and we find that once qualified, our trainees remain with the company for most if not all of their working life.

“The group training scheme has produced a number of competent skilled staff in all the engineering skill ranges over the years.”