Go-Ahead Women campaign aims to recruit 1,500 new women bus drivers, with 50% goal by 2035

The Go-Ahead Women campaign was launched this week

The Go-Ahead Group has launched a campaign this month aimed at revolutionising the traditionally male-dominated landscape of the transport sector. Under the banner of ‘Go-Ahead Women’, the company is poised to recruit 1,500 new women bus drivers across its bus operations, with a firm commitment to achieving 50% gender equality by 2035. This ambitious target not only marks a significant milestone for Go-Ahead but also sets a compelling precedent for the entire industry.

Recognising the imperative for greater representation and inclusivity, Go-Ahead has pledged an investment of £8m to upgrade bus depot facilities, fostering environments where female colleagues can thrive. This investment underscores the company’s dedication to creating inclusive workplaces that empower individuals regardless of gender.

Indeed, the statistics speak volumes: according to recent data from Women in Bus and Coach, women comprise a mere 10% of the workforce in the bus industry. Go-Ahead’s initiative not only aims to bridge this gender gap but also serves as a catalyst for broader societal change.

Presently, with 11.5% of bus driver roles occupied by women within Go-Ahead’s bus companies, the need for change is evident. The company’s stance, particularly on International Women’s Day, reaffirms its commitment to challenging industry norms and driving meaningful progress.

Crucially, the recruitment drive is complemented by an extensive eight-week fully paid training programme, designed to equip new hires with the skills and confidence necessary for success. This investment in professional development underscores Go-Ahead’s commitment to nurturing talent and providing equal opportunities for advancement.

Gender equality isn’t just a goal – it’s a commitment to building a better future for all

Matt Carney, chief executive of Go-Ahead’s bus division, said: “Gender equality isn’t just a goal – it’s a commitment to building a better future for all. By setting an ambitious target to achieve 50% gender parity by 2035 and investing £8m to support women drivers in their work environment, we are taking decisive steps to create a more inclusive and equitable workplace.”

Carolyn Ferguson, chief people officer for the Go-Ahead Group said: “We firmly believe that diversity drives innovation and success. We’re investing in training and development opportunities for women drivers, and by doing this we’re not only enriching our workforce but also paving the way for a more sustainable and inclusive future.”


Meet Koli Begum, Go-Ahead’s advocate for more women bus drivers

Koli Begum is a trailblazing bus driver and mentor based at Northumberland Park Garage. Koli has emerged as a powerful advocate for women in transport and a driving force behind the company’s driver apprenticeship scheme. Her journey is a testament to resilience, determination, and a genuine passion to inspire others.

Over the past three years, Koli has made a remarkable impact, earning the title of a ‘woman with real drive’. She defies age and gender stereotypes, paving the way for more women to enter the bus industry. Drawing from her personal experience as a caregiver, Koli champions passenger accessibility.

In October 2022, Koli’s dedication led to a well-deserved promotion to the position of driver mentor. In this role, she inspires the next generation of women drivers, ensuring the best possible passenger experience. Her mentees commend her for keeping them motivated, navigating challenges, and sharing a genuine passion for the job and the industry.

Recognised nationally in November 2022 with the Luke Rees-Pulley Award for Top London Bus Driver at the UK Bus Awards, Koli’s exceptional contribution to the industry and inspiring story garnered attention. And most recently she was awarded the 2023 Apprentice Award at the Everywoman awards for Transport and Logistics.

Koli’s impact extends to recruitment drives, where she has contributed to the recruitment of over 50 female drivers. Her dedication has earned her a place on the ‘Passenger Transport Driver – Bus, Coach, and Tram’ trailblazer sub-group, allowing her to share knowledge and experiences as an apprentice to assist in rethinking industry standards.

Koli Begum has served as a mentor for approximately 1.5 years. Her exemplary mentorship is evident in her proactive approach to learning, personal commitment to apprentices’ success, and the creation of a supportive and inclusive environment that fosters growth and development.

This story appears inside the latest issue of Passenger Transport.

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