The National Express Group has today (23 January) formally committed to working with Jobcentre Plus through the Local Employment Partnership (LEP), in helping to open up job opportunities for people who have been long-term unemployed.Ray O'Toole, Chief Executive National Express UK and Sue Veszpremi, National Sales Director, Jobcentre Plus signed the agreement, which will help people in the West Midlands, East Anglia, London and the North East get back to work.
The LEP is an agreement between Jobcentre Plus and employers to work together on a range of measures that will help get long-term unemployed people back into work.The measures include working with the Learning & Skills Council on training and skills programmes to prepare candidates for interviews.Managers of the rail, bus and coach businesses of the National Express Group, which have key employment bases across the UK, will now be working with Jobcentre Plus offices to provide bespoke pre-interview training for people in the community struggling to get back into work after a long period of unemployment.
Travel West Midlands (TWM), part of National Express Group has been working with Jobcentre Plus on the recruitment of bus drivers.It was found that the applicants who attended interviews and assessment days were not well prepared.The business worked closely with Jobcentre Plus and through Fair Cities, an employer-led skills programme, funded bespoke training to prepare candidates for interviews.John Firkin, a bus driver for Travel West Midlands has been recruited through this programme and attended the formal signing of the agreement.
Ray O'Toole, Chief Executive, National Express Group said, "We have established a productive relationship with Jobcentre Plus and are jointly working on measures to help people get back to work.As each LEP agreement is tailored to the individual needs of the business, it ensures that people coming for interviews at National Express are better prepared, giving them a fair shot at the job in hand, which is great for the business, the individual and the UK economy".
Sue Veszpremi, National Sales Director, Jobcentre Plus said: "We are delighted to be working with National Express Group in a Local Employment Partnership. They are committed to working closely with Jobcentre Plus and the Learning & Skills Council to offer real opportunities for people on benefits to help get them back into work and give them the chance to look to the future."
This is one of the first major initiatives for the new National Express UK Division, which includes its bus, coach, rail and airport transfer businesses. It was announced in July 2007 that National Express Group planned to integrate its subsidiary companies into one single business, now known as National Express UK Limited.This includes National Express coaches, Travel West Midlands, Travel Coventry and Travel Dundee, National Express East Coast, one and C2C.The business relocated its headquarters to Birmingham at the beginning of 2008, and a major rebranding exercise is taking place as part of a wider initiative of Making Travel Simpler.
For further information, please contact:
Joy Williams on 07795 267 453 or Stuart Henry on 07920 781 452
Notes to editors:
About National Express Group: Around one billion journeys a year are made worldwide on our bus, train, light rail and express coach operations. We deliver services in the UK, North America and Spain. Our aim is to Make Travel Simpler. Our 40,000 employees are committed to improve the quality of life for all through travel.