With an overwhelmingly male workforce behind the wheels of Northern Ireland’s buses, Translink is to make its second concerted effort in the past five years to recruit females to the stereotypically masculine jobs.
One-hundred-and-fifty-two women – less than nine per cent of all bus drivers here – currently ferry the public between towns and cities across Northern Ireland.
Now, in a bid to increase the number of females within its 1,757-strong workforce, the transport company is inviting women to ‘Have a Go’ at taking the wheel over a two-day period later this month at Nutts Corner, near Crumlin.
Qualities required for the posts include being professional and reliable, enjoying getting out and about, being good with meeting new people from many different backgrounds and providing excellent customer care.
Translink drivers have been involved in some major events in recent years including the G8 back in June, August’s World Police and Fire Games, the Londonderry Fleadh and last year’s Olympics in London.
The flexibility of the job was a key consideration for bus driver Denise Farrell, who works in the Newry and Mourne area.
“I started driving in a part-time capacity before moving to a full-time driver position,” said the mother of one, who has been with the company for six years. “The job’s flexibility really suited me with a young family at home.
“Every day you meet different people from all walks of life and I like knowing that I’m supporting the local community by delivering an important service.
“Some women might be daunted by the prospect of handling such a large vehicle but I was surprised to find out that it was not as difficult as I thought; they are very modern with all the latest technology to make driving a comfortable and enjoyable experience.
“I think these ‘Have a Go’ days will provide more women with a real insight into bus driving and I would strongly encourage anyone looking for a fulfilling career – one that’s not your average 9-5 desk job – to attend this special event.”
Translink chief executive Catherine Mason said there remains a misconception that bus driving is a job for men only.
“There are many reasons to become a Translink bus driver, from attractive pay and final salary pension scheme to free travel for employees, job security, good holidays and supervised training for a PCV licence,” said Ms Mason.
The sessions will be held on October 15 and 16 and a free shuttle bus service will be available from Europa buscentre to and from the training site. For more information, visit www.translink.co.uk/haveago.