First Bus and Unite the Union hosted learning conference to recognise the value and success of First’s workplace learning centres

Aberdeen, Scotland, 2014-11-17 — /Travel PR News/ — First Bus, the UK’s leading bus operator, and Unite the Union last month hosted a learning conference to recognise the value and success of First’s workplace learning centres.

First’s bus division, in partnership with Unite, has established more than 50 workplace learning centres at depots across the UK.  The centres, which are manned by Trade Union Learning Representatives (TULRs), help colleagues develop and learn new skills – how to use a computer, the internet and email – or improve numeracy and literacy skills.  The centres even offer courses in conversational Spanish, scuba diving and a whole host of other areas.

At First’s annual learning conference in Manchester, awards were presented to the bus division’s ‘Learning Centre of Excellence’ and ‘Lifelong Learner of the Year’.   The event also recognised the important role that the TULRs play in the success of the learning centres with two award categories: ‘TULR Individual Progression Award’ and ‘Regional TULR Award’.

Learning centre staff and internal assessment teams have been responsible for some impressive results at the UK’s largest bus operator.  More than 6000 vocational qualifications have been awarded to date. In 2013/14, 1500 colleagues achieved Level 2 NVQ status and 1500 staff undertook the functional skills tests for English and Maths.  Approximately 1000 non-vocational courses are also delivered each year.

Giles Fearnley, Managing Director of First Bus, said: “We want our people to recognise and embrace the benefits of learning as an investment in their future.  Our workplace learning centres are an ideal tool to help unlock the potential of our people right across the business.”

He added: “Our awards ceremony is a fantastic means of rewarding and recognising the hard work of everyone involved with bringing our learning centres to life and making them a success.”

In FirstGroup’s bus division approximately 85% of employees have access to workplace learning centres. The company has more than 50 learning centres across the UK, mainly located in bus depots but with access available to relatives of staff and, in some cases, the public.

Award Winners 

Award Winner
 Learning Centre of Excellence – Gold Category  Queen’s Road (Manchester)
 Learning Centre of Excellence – Silver Category  Parkhead (Glasgow)
 Learning Centre of Excellence – Bronze Category  Bramley (Leeds)
 Regional TULR  Jimmy Lillis, Larkfield (Glasgow)
 Trade Union Individual Progression  Barry Young, Bramley (Leeds)
 Ian McDonald Lifelong Learner of the Year  Lidia Zamojska, Queen’s Road (Manchester)


For more information, please contact Niall Dowds, First UK Bus Head of Communications, on 07860 936671 or email


FirstGroup plc is the leading transport operator in the UK and North America with revenues of more than £6.7 billion a year. We employ approximately 117,000 employees and transport around 2.5 billion passengers a year.

Our vision is to provide solutions for an increasingly congested world… keeping people moving and communities prospering.

UK Bus
FirstGroup is one of Britain’s largest bus operators with around a fifth of bus services outside London. A fleet of some 6,400 buses carries approximately 1.6 million passengers a day in a huge number of communities including 40 of the UK’s largest towns and cities. We operate Greyhound UK providing regular intercity coach services linking South Wales and Bristol Airport, and we also operate some US-style yellow school buses and have a fleet of coaches available for charter. We also operate the Aircoach network in Ireland.