Bus firm to use refugee workers to fill driver shortage

Travel
West Midlands is hoping to tackle its bus driver recruitment shortage by
employing refugees and asylum-seekers.

The
travel company is looking to the initiative to fill some of their 40 unfilled
bus driver positions across the county along with other positions on the
Midland Metro light rail transit system.

It
forms part of a wider company initiative to draw people into the passenger
travel industry, which is currently estimated to have 70,000 unfilled positions
nationwide.

Phil
Bateman, Travel West Midlands’ corporate affairs director, said, "If the
Government does relax arrangements for refugees and asylum-seekers, there
are jobs and opportunities available in the passenger PCV and HGV sectors of
the country.

"We’re
looking everywhere we can to recruit people into the industry and are simply adding
our voice to people who are saying,Look,
we’ve got all these vacancies,
so why not use everyone we can find to fill them?’."

Commenting
on the initiative, James Omundson, community development manager at the Midland
Refugee Council, said, "I think it is a very good idea. There are so many
refugees who want jobs as drivers but can’t find the information on how to get
into it.

"It’s
really encouraging to see that the Government and organisations like Travel
West Midlands are starting to open opportunities to refugees."

Travel
West Midlands hopes that refugee bus drivers will help reduce the number of customer complaints
about delays on their bus routes.

By Phil Boucher

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