A record 23 graduates will begin First’s graduate programme in September, up two-thirds on 2013, after the group received over 1,000 applications

FirstGroup has this week revealed that it is set to increase its graduate intake by around two-thirds. In September 2013, 23 graduates will begin working for First across its bus, rail and group functions. In 2013, FirstGroup’s graduate intake was 14.

Samantha Humphries, FirstGroup’s graduate programme manager, told Passenger Transport that there were a number of reasons why the group has increased its graduate intake.

Aberdeen-based First has been impressed by the performance of the managers that have come up through the graduate scheme. The group has also been impressed by the quantity and quality of this year’s applicants. The number of applications received each year has grown rapidly from around 500 to a record 1,023 this year.

Meanwhile, work with senior leaders across First in the UK has identified some gaps in the group’s succession planning.

She said: “Looking at our available options, developing our own talent through our graduate scheme is by far the best alternative not just in the long term, but as we’ve proved consistently, many of our graduates literally hit the ground running.”

FirstGroup graduates undertake a comprehensive workplace training schedule over two years at various locations across First’s UK operations. The group offers three programmes: engineering, operations and commercial, the latter being introduced for the first time in 2013.

All 14 members of FirstGroup’s 2013 intake remain with the business and will shortly begin the second half of their two year Programmes.

Shalando Williams, 23, from London (pictured above) is nine months into his bus operations programme and has enjoyed stints at First Aberdeen and First Glasgow. He is currently working with First ScotRail undertaking his three-month rail placement and will return to the bus division later this month.

“The scheme has been fantastic,” he said. “I’ve experienced First’s operations, including ScotRail, across Scotland and have worked with almost every function within the bus division including commercial, finance, operations, HR, scheduling and network planning.

He continued: “I have been extremely impressed with the level of investment in staff learning and development.”

 

This article appears inside the latest issue of Passenger Transport.

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