Grand life on the buses for award-winning Stagecoach apprentices

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You wait for one bus award, and then two come along at once.

Two employees from Stagecoach North East’s Sunderland depot have been recognised as top apprentices at a prestigious annual trade award.

Staff from the Monkwearmouth-based depot attended the 11th annual UK Bus Apprentice of the Year Awards, at a ceremony at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester.

Peter Billyard, 22, from Peterlee, and Chris Stobbs, 25, from South Hylton, were awarded Best Year 1 Depot Vote and Best Year 3 Peer Vote respectively.

Now in his second year of his apprenticeship, Peter was recognised for his efforts, after receiving the highest scores for punctuality, attendance, commitment, enthusiasm, motivation, ability and overall performance.

He said: “I am really pleased with this award and I have learned so much in such a short space of time.

“The apprentice scheme is brilliant and has increased my skills and focused me towards a career in the transport industry.” Chris Stobbs is now in his fourth year of the apprenticeship, and was chosen when all the apprentices in his class voted who they felt best deserved to win an award.

Gary Chisholm, engineering director for Stagecoach North East, said: “Peter and Chris are a credit to Stagecoach and thoroughly deserving of these awards.

“They have excelled themselves and set exceptionally-high standards over the past 12 months.

“The Stagecoach apprentice scheme is widely recognised as one of the most comprehensive in the bus industry, and it is vital to the future success of our business.

“We’re delighted to have such skilled people within our ranks.

“It’s great news, not only for Stagecoach, but also for the millions of passengers who travel on our buses across the North East each year.”