Ensuring that the bus and coach industry has the right skills for maintaining next-generation zero emission vehicles is a key focus for many of the major operators across the UK.
Imperial Engineering customer, First Bus, for example, has recently welcomed 52 new apprentices to its dedicated engineering training academy at Reaseheath College in Cheshire, which opened in 2021.
An investment in apprenticeships is critical to replacing older members of the national workforce and Imperial Engineering, as one of the UK’s leading distributors of bus and coach parts, has been an advocate of skilled engineers within the PSV sector for well over 50 years.
Imperial actively supports apprenticeships at the grassroots level through a number of measures, including organising training sessions with OEM bus part suppliers such as Knorr-Bremse, Haldex and Wabco, as well as the provision of training materials to support engineering apprentices.
The Harlow-based company recently opened its doors to a cohort of nine Arriva apprentices from each stage of their three-year apprenticeship. The familiarisation day involved an overview of Imperial Engineering, its history, association with the bus industry and long-standing partnership with Arriva.
A tour of Imperial’s purpose-built facility followed, to give the apprentices an insight into the parts distribution process, the range of product brands supplied and a look at a number of engineering services carried out by Imperial, including the remanufacture of brake calipers.
After lunch, the apprentices received some expert caliper training from Imperial’s Technical Sales Manager, John Simmons, who has been in the bus and coach industry for over 40 years.
Imperial has been a proud sponsor of the IRTE Skills Challenge since 2019, in order to highlight the importance of engineering training to the bus and coach industry and also supports the recognition of apprentice achievement through sponsorship of Arriva’s Apprentice of the Year and Metroline’s annual Apprentice of the Year award.
John Dwight, Imperial Engineering’s Sales Director, who welcomed the apprentices and gave them a guided tour of his family business, commented:
“It’s crucial to the successful future of our industry that we’re seen as an attractive career opportunity for the engineers and technicians of tomorrow, as advances in technology mean that the multi-skilled engineer is now very much in demand. We always enjoy the opportunity of showing young people how the whole industry works together and our partnership with Arriva continues to develop the next generation of employees.”