Black Country bus drivers take on the world
Alex Cooke and Constance Holness
Two Black Country bus drivers at National Express West Midlands have won places at the company’s global Values Awards finals.
Alex Cooke from West Bromwich garage and Constance Holness from Wolverhampton will be at the international final in London on 23 May. They will be up against colleagues from Spain, Morocco, Bahrain, North America, Germany and others from the UK.
Constance is nominated for the Community award for her tireless work helping young people in her community.
A regular at Wolverhampton’s Mount Bethel Church, Constance dedicates her free time to a Big Lottery-funded community project called The Light. She teaches lifestyle and parenting skills to young people and teenage mothers, giving them practical advice. Often these young people don’t have support from parents or extended family to learn from.
Constance teaches young people essential techniques on how to manage a limited income. She shows them how to shop on a £10 budget, cook healthy nutritious meals for themselves and their children and also provides guidance on positive parenting.
Over and above this, Constance takes part in sponsored walks and lunch clubs to raise the funds so that these community projects can happen.
Constance doesn’t just volunteer with her church. Her compassionate nature and desire to help others drives the many community activities she instigates at Wolverhampton depot. When a fellow driver suffered a life-altering incident which limited the use of his limbs, Constance organised a large collection to help him.
Kerry Jukes-Rowe, National Express’ Wolverhampton Operations Manager, describes Constance as “a fantastic employee and a great asset to Wolverhampton. Kind and caring, she is a well-respected member of the team.”
Alex Cooke joined National Express’ West Bromwich garage in 2016 - following in his father’s and grandfather’s footsteps as a bus driver for the company.
From day one, Alex was motivated to become a Master Driver - National Express’ top-ranked driver scheme. And he’s already on track to achieve this prestigious driving accreditation this year.
Alex’s commitment to provide customers with a first-class service is evident. Within his first year, his performance had already achieved gold status on Traffilog. To get a gold score, a driver must demonstrate exceptional vehicle control.
In 2017, West Bromwich garage introduced DriveCam, which records incidents of harsh braking, accelerating, cornering or a collision. To date, Alex has had zero DriveCam events. This demonstrates his extraordinary dedication to consistently delivering the highest standards of driving and customer service.
Alex is so passionate that he volunteered to speak at a Master Driver graduation, inspiring 150 colleagues, friends and family with his comprehensive understanding of safety and his determination to provide the highest standards of professional driving.
Lee Stockton, National Express' Operations Manager at West Bromwich, describes Alex as “a truly exceptional employee who has a passion for the transport industry. He is an outstanding performer in all aspects of his role and a credit to the driving profession and to the depot.”