Ex-Gurkha drivers salute National Express’s forces support
Pictured: L-R Amir and Lok
A pair of Gillingham-based coach drivers, who served in war zones around the world, are backing National Express’s renewed support for the armed forces.
Lok and Amir Gurung, who were in Royal Gurkha Rifles units based in Bosnia, Afghanistan and Sierra Leone, are encouraging those who are leaving the military to consider a career with National Express after the company renewed its pledge to support the armed forces community for another five years.
National Express’s coach division was the first company to sign the covenant in 2013 with ground-breaking pledges such as: guaranteed interviews for driving roles, discounted coach travel for the armed forces and additional leave for reservists.
Now the company has extended this promise with new pledges that now cover both the UK coach and bus businesses.
The package of new pledges:
- Offer guaranteed interviews to service leavers for all National Express roles across Coach and Bus (originally only available to those with a PCV licence)
- Include spouses and families of service leavers in its guaranteed interview scheme
- Provide ten days extra leave for staff in the Reserve Forces
- Extend it existing discount of 60% on coach travel for serving personnel to include group bookings
- Offer a discount for bus travel on its West Midlands network
- Offer free bus travel to families visiting soldiers at the Military Hospital at the QE in Birmingham and to volunteers on Remembrance Sunday.
Lok, who lives in Gillingham, joined the prestigious Brigade of Gurkhas in 1993 and served for nineteen years touring countries including: Hong Kong, Sierra Leone, Bosnia and Brunei. He now drives commuters from Kent into the City of London on Gillingham-based the Kings Ferry's commuter services.
He is described as an exemplary soldier by his commanding officer and was awarded the Long Service and Good Conduct Medal in 2008 for honesty, discipline, and hard work.
Lok joined the King’s Ferry - which is part of the National Express Group - in 2015 and, thanks to the driving skills he acquired in the army, he was able to go straight into a coach driving role.
Amir, who is also from Gillingham, entered the military in January 1997 with the First Royal Gurkha Rifles serving in Bosnia, Sierra Leone and Afghanistan as a Lance Corporal.
He left the forces in June 2015 after nearly 19 years service and joined the Kings Ferry in 2016 and also drives commuter services into the City of London.
Backing the renewed support for the armed forces community, Lok and Amir called on those leaving the forces to consider a career with National Express.
Amir said: “It’s fantastic that National Express is renewing its support for the armed forces. When we left the army the driving skills gained meant we were valuable to the company and since joining our careers have taken off. Those leaving the forces should look at the job roles available at National Express as you will be guaranteed an interview, which gives you a fighting chance of landing a job.”
Dean Finch, National Express Group Chief Executive: “We’re very proud to have been the first company to sign the Armed Forces Covenant and I am delighted we have signed up to an even greater commitment. Armed Forces personnel and their families do a great service to this country and it is right that companies like ours do what we can to support them.
“We employ many ex-services members and current reservists and also want to recognise their significant contribution to our company and the country. Our extended commitments demonstrate both the success of our first covenant and our commitment to growing this important partnership with the Ministry of Defence. I would like to thank all involved in this great initiative.”
The company already employs over forty former forces personnel and reservists in a variety of roles including: drivers, health and safety officers, bus engineers, and customer service advisors. These personnel come from roles from all over the armed forces including: Royal Marines, Royal Signals, Royal Engineers, RAF, Navy, Gurkhas, ranking from private all the way up to major
In the five years since the first Covenant was signed, more than 100,000 serving and former forces personnel have taken advantage of discounted coach travel through the Defence Discount Scheme, giving them a total saving of more than a million pounds.
The UK’s leading coach provider has also provided £60,000 worth of free travel to thousands of people using The British Legion’s Short Break Centres and raised tens of thousands of pounds for Armed Forces related charities, including over £30,000 via online donations from its customers when buying tickets for the Royal British Legion.
Notes to editors – to see the Kings Ferry's current vacancies visit https://www.nationalexpress.jobs/jobs