Transport operator FirstGroup is preparing to recruit its 1,000th bus driver from the European Union (EU) in the next few weeks.
Two years ago, the firm’s bus division had a shortfall of almost 800 drivers, which was seriously affecting the business and leading to the cancellation of some routes.
FirstGroup set up a project to teach experienced Polish bus drivers English to a standard that would enable them to work in the UK. Its first batch of workers arrived in May 2004 and proved to be a huge success. In addition, workers were recruited from Hungary, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Malta and the Czech Republic.
Jim Dalton, European recruitment manager, said the Polish drivers have had a positive effect on service standards, and have stabilised turnover. “Their work ethic is very different to UK workers. A job to them is very precious and something to be proud of,” he said.