Mum-of-two Miranda Anderson told an event in London last week how the ‘Step on the bus’ programme helped her to start a career as a bus driver.

After years as a stay-at-home mum, trapped in a monotonous daily routine, Miranda Anderson says that her confidence had hit rock bottom. As her two boys, now aged 11 and 17, grew increasingly independent, Miranda felt increasingly vulnerable. But she’s be given a new lease of life – and a new profession – as a bus driver.

Miranda certainly didn’t appear to be lacking in confidence last week when she told her story to more than 100 people at the People1st ‘industry leaders’ presentation in London. She was there as living proof of what can be achieved when training providers and businesses work together. And in her case, the training provider was People1st, the sector skills council for hospitality, passenger transport, travel and tourism, and bus company TrentBarton.

Miranda’s metamorphosis began last year when she responded to an advertisement for People1st’s ‘Step on the Bus’ programme. The programme, which aims to help women achieve their career aspirations in the bus industry, includes four weeks of industry specific training for women looking to complete the CPC (Certificate of Professional Competence) and provides development training to boost confidence and interview skills. Candidates also undertake a one week placement at a bus company to better understand the job. Employers supporting the programme include TrentBarton, Transdev Harrogate & District, and Easytravel.

“Last August, I started on the programme and to begin with I struggled to believe in myself and thought I wouldn’t be able to do it,” said Miranda. “However, with encouragement from the tutor and his colleagues my confidence began to grow. At every step I was shown that I could do it and the more I found myself doing things I had never dreamt of, the more I was determined to succeed.”

As part of the course, a manager from TrentBarton came to speak to the women on the course and after Miranda had completed the training programme she was invited to attend a job interview.

Before she knew it Mirandawas behind the wheel of a 10-metre bus, training to be a bus driver, which, as someone who had only ever driven a family car, meant “lots of clipping kerbs.” However, less than six months after starting the step onto the bus programme, she set out into the streets of Derby last month for her first unaccompanied shift as a qualified bus driver.

Guy Gibson, head of training at TrentBarton, says that the ‘Step on the bus’ programme gives women like Miranda an insight into passenger transport which is not readily promoted by schools or career professionals, enabling them to make an informed decision on whether they want to work in the sector.

“Such an approach ensures that the individuals who do start working for us are indeed committed to the job and are excited to pursue their career and be part of the award-winning TrentBarton team,” he said.

Miranda doesn’t have any doubts about her career choice. “It’s been absolutely amazing,” she said. “Over the past six months I’ve made new friends, learnt new skills and I’ve convinced my 17-year-old, who has just started driving lessons himself – and is struggling with his three-point-turns – that his mum’s a genius behind the wheel.

“I am sure that there are lots of people out there who don’t have the confidence in themselves to try and get a job in a profession like bus driving, but if they could attend a course like I did I am sure they would, just like me, gain that confidence.”

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