A BUS company is planning to hire an army of women drivers.
Go North East is specifically targeting women for 300 jobs on its services in Sunderland and across the North East.
Just eight per cent of the company’s 1,600 drivers are men, and the firm believes this is because women think it’s a difficult, male-only job.
Kevin Carr, managing director at Go North East, said: “Women are significantly under-represented in our workforce so we are really keen to get more women drivers on board.
“If you are looking for a change in career and would like to break away from an office or retail job and get out and about on the roads with us, come and have a go at driving a bus, you might surprise yourself.
“There are plenty of career progression opportunities and we offer a company pension and free bus travel for drivers and their families.”
The driver vacancies are available at eight depot locations in Sunderland, Washington, Chester le Street, Gateshead, Hexham, North Shields, Peterlee and Stanley.
Mr Carr said the firm, which employs 2,100 in total, has taken a “fresh approach” to recruitment.
Rather than looking for driving experience, Go North East is looking for people with “a flair for customer service” – no previous professional driving experience is necessary.
The firm, the largest bus company in the North East, provides free, fully-paid bus driver training to gain a Passenger Carrying Vehicle (PCV) licence.
Mr Carr said applicant only needed to have held a clean driving licence that has been held for at least 12 months – and “a passion for working with the general public”.
Among women serving on the buses is Rachel Langford, 30, from Lanchester, Durham.
The mum has been driving buses for four years after getting tired of being stuck behind a desk all day.
“After university, I went into the travel industry but the pay wasn’t very good. I had admin jobs in travel and in the police – but I was stuck behind a desk and I was bored of the same old paper work every day,” said Rachel.
“I saw that Go North East was recruiting drivers for its Consett depot and I thought ‘I could do that’ but people were saying to me ‘are you sure you want to do that?’ But when you see the size of me, you’d know why they were saying that – I’m only five foot, three, and really petite. But because people were telling me I couldn’t do it, it made me determined to prove I could.
“I enjoy being out and about and meeting people. Every day’s different and I love that.
“Women may be concerned about working in a male dominated environment but I have made some of my best friends at work and all my colleagues have been very welcoming and helpful.”
Rachel is working part time to fit around childcare of her two year old daughter.
For more information about joining Go North East, visit www.simplygo.com/employment