En route to work – A Brighton & Hove Bus Company Column

By Martin Harris (Director of Brighton & Hove Bus Company)

There’s a great vibe in this wonderful city of ours – especially in a week like this, when one of the biggest Party Conferences rolls into town, and the sun helps us put on our best face for the national media.

Some days, it feels like the best place on earth to live and work, doesn’t it?

And when it comes to the local economy and local jobs – well, independent think tank Centre for Cities puts us 3rd highest city out of 64 for private sector jobs growth in the last decade. Brighton’s Employment & Skills Plan has far exceeded its ambitious targets, with the creation of over 9,000 jobs since 2010. We now have the 9th highest employment rate in the UK.

Having said that … for apprenticeships, the city falls short. That’s why we want to do our bit to help the new Employer Skills Task Force – headed by Sussex County Cricket Club CEO Zac Toumazi  – which plans to create thousands of high quality apprenticeships across the city. We are developing our own in-house apprenticeship scheme: last month we welcomed two new apprentices to the engineering team – including Kylie Griffiths, who we hope will become our first fully qualified female engineer.

As one of the city’s largest employers – with 1,200 people working in a wide range of jobs – we’re acutely aware of how difficult it is for some people to get a foot on the first rung of the employment ladder – especially those who have been out of work for some time.

When you land a new job, it should be cause for celebration. But for some there’s a sticky period financially – the fear of unexpected expenses, the dilemma of shifting to monthly pay, the costs of clothes and travel.

So we’re introducing a scheme that will make it that bit easier to make the transition into work for new workers. Through local employers and award-winning Love Local Jobs, we’re offering 75% discount off the cost of the first month’s travel to work – and encouraging the companies who take up our offer to pick up the other 25%, so that people can travel free until they get their first pay packet. We’re extending this scheme to all accredited Apprentices too: and they will also qualify for student discounts.

Like the new Brighton & Hove Fairness Commission, we’re concerned to make sure that everyone who lives here can share in the city’s success.

I hope any employers reading this will want to come on board with our new “Routes to Work” scheme, and help even more people to benefit from our city’s success.

Do let me know what you think @citybusnews