More than 800 graduates have applied to join bus and rail operator FirstGroup this year. ‘I’m thrilled with the response rate,’ says HR director

More than 800 have applied for FirstGroup’s UK graduate scheme this year – a record for the bus and rail operator.

“The number of candidates that have applied has been overwhelming,” said John Evans, HR director at FirstGroup. “10% more graduates applied this year and compared to two years ago we’ve attracted around 65% more candidates.”

He continued: “We’ve invested in our graduate engagement strategy in the last 12 months. A new website specifically tailored for graduates has complemented the launch of a social media campaign and an increased presence at universities across the UK.

“At FirstGroup we are very conscious of the need to invest, train and develop our staff,” said Evans. “The transport industry plays a vital role in keeping the economy moving. It is imperative therefore that we attract talented, enthusiastic people to our industry, and in particular FirstGroup.

“I’m thrilled with the response rate and in particular, with the quality of candidate that is approaching First. We are attracting students with tremendous pedigree and potential.”

Gary Cheema (23, from Berkshire) is in the first year of his two-year Finance Graduate Programme based at FirstGroup’s Aberdeen headquarters. “It’s not surprising that FirstGroup is attracting large volumes of students – the scheme is fantastic,” he said. “In the eight months I’ve been with First I’ve learned an incredible amount, and thanks to the excellent support of my colleagues I’ve grown in confidence and taken on more responsibilities.

“In deciding which graduate schemes to apply for at my final year at the University of Kent, FirstGroup was my number one choice. I consider myself very fortunate, given the competition, to have secured a place on its graduate scheme. I’m hoping, come the end of the two-year programme, that I can continue my career with First.”

FirstGroup graduates undertake a comprehensive workplace training schedule over two years at various locations across First’s UK operations and within various functions in the company’s bus and rail divisions.

Last year, FirstGroup recruited 16 graduates from a total of 750 applicants (PT015).


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