Spotlighting Apprentices - National Apprenticeship Week

Celebrating Apprentices in the Bus and Coach Sector during National Apprenticeship Week

This National Apprenticeship Week we are proud to celebrate and showcase amazing apprentices working across the bus and coach sector.

Today we celebrate Lara Goncalves Morais.

Lara is currently a second year General Management Apprentice at Transport for London. Lara started this apprenticeship in September 2022, jumping straight from school and into the vast and insightful world of TfL.

Lara told the Women in Bus and Coach team that it’s hard to explain how much I enjoy my apprenticeship with TfL, but to briefly put it, there hasn’t been a day where I have regretted my decision of doing this degree apprenticeship. For some context, as part of this apprenticeship scheme, we do six-month rotational placements around the company, differing from office placements to operational placements. In the Summer of 2023, myself and the other General Management apprentices were put on a six week programme of jumping around different Surface Operational departments across TfL. On the first week, I was scheduled to shadow our Dial-a-Ride department and on the second week, our Bus Operations department. Throughout these weeks, I shadowed our Dial-a-Ride drivers, Bus Station Controllers, Network Traffic Controllers, Service Delivery Managers, and so many other important colleagues. I was fascinated by the world of Bus Operations, and I quickly realised that I wanted to do a 6-month placement within this department. Two weeks later, I was scheduled to work at Victoria Coach Station (VCS) for a week, arguably one of my favourite weeks throughout my time in Surface Operations. I quickly picked up the instructions and it was after the first day that I was confident enough to direct customers to their coaches, assist customers with mobility issues, direct coach drivers to their lanes, acknowledging the coaches entering the ‘Arrivals’ hall and making sure that their arrival had been noted down. I thoroughly enjoyed working with my colleagues at VCS, and it gave me an even deeper insight into the world of Buses and Coaches.

After both experiences, I realised that I really wanted to do a placement with our Buses team, and thus that is where I spent the next 6 months – in Bus Service Delivery. Again, I really enjoyed my placement in Bus Service Delivery (BSD), I worked on various different projects, including working on a questionnaire which was created to obtain and celebrate BSD success stories across the Buses department. When finding out that for my next placement I would be working in the CPOS (Compliance, Policing, Operations & Security) department in the Schools Team, I felt excited to start. I remember my placement manager in Bus Service Delivery told me to use the knowledge and insight I had gained to be a spokesperson for Buses in my new department – to which I told him that I would. My current placement is about liaising with schools regarding students taking part in fare evasion/antisocial behaviour/work related violence and aggression on our network. Reports of these issues are sent to the inbox I monitor daily, ranging from issues happening on the London Underground to aboard our Bus network, and because of the knowledge and experience I have gained regarding Buses; it has made my job a lot easier. Recently, I even attended a bus garage and spoke to some bus drivers who had complained about a specific route facing issues from students from a nearby school. Amongst this bus garage, this bus route had become infamous to drive, and drivers were starting to lose hope that behaviour would improve. I spoke to the bus drivers and reassured them that I would take these matters seriously and liaise with the school, which I did. The school got back to me, issuing their apologies and how they wanted to work with us to combat these issues. After contacting the bus garage for any updates on behaviour two weeks later, they let me know that there had been no further reports from bus drivers regarding the issues previously raised – so I’d consider that a success!

My advice to any aspiring apprentices or new apprentices is to take every opportunity that gets thrown at you, especially ones that you wouldn’t normally go for. I started my apprenticeship thinking that I wanted to be solely office based, and now, in my second year, I’ve grown a strong passion for operations. So, you might find that what you initially expected to not be for you, turns into what you want to pursue in the future!

Thank you for sharing your inspirational story Lara.

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