Spotlight on Trena Clunis

Spotlight on Trena Clunis, Relief Driver Manager

The Women in Bus and Coach “Spotlight On” initiative shines a light on the incredible contributions of women in all roles across the bus, coach, and community transport sector. From professional drivers and engineers to human resources experts and CEO’s, ‘Spotlight On’ will highlight the diverse talents and achievements of women in this dynamic industry.

Today we focus on and find out about:

Trena Clunis
Relief Driver Manager
Transport UK London Bus

How did you get to where you are today?

I am an experienced professional with a proven track record of advancement within Transport UK (formerly Abellio). I started as a PCV holder in January 2019 and quickly progressed to covering the front counter as a lead driver. I utilised my office skills to eventually become an office administrator in 2020. I gained support from the operations manager to transition into the role of Relief Driver Manager I demonstrated adaptability, versatility, and proficiency across various responsibilities within the company.

Did you experience any challenges getting to where you are today?

Transitioning to a Relef Driver Manager role posed challenges, notably in gaining acceptance as an equal by team members. This struggle led to missed training opportunities and difficulty in feeling integrated within the team. However, relocating to another deport eased this transition, providing a welcoming environment where I felt accepted from the start.

If so, how did you overcome then?

I proactively addressed challenges by pursuing further education to enhance my theoretical knowledge in management and leadership. Completing a degree in Business Management provided me with insights into organisational operations and bolstered my decision-making abilities.

The academic foundation empowered me to work towards improving staff performance. Additionally, gaining experience outside of my depot allowed me to develop practical skills, complementing my academic learning and contributing to my overall professional growth.

What do you like about the sector?

Every day in the industry brings new challenges and opportunities, and my varied experiences have provided me with unique perspectives on how different roles interact and support each other. As a women in the traditionally male-dominated bus sector, I take pride in breaking barriers and contributing to its evolution. I believe there’s untapped potential in this sector, and I’m committed to staying in the industry until we unlock the key to delivering a profitable transport service that satisfies both drivers and customers alike.

What does a typical day look like?

In my roles as a Relief Driver Manager, my days are characterised by providing support, guidance, advice and, encouraging to drivers, alongside necessary administrative tasks. I navigate between being a counsellor one day and a mediator the next, ensuring fairness and justice. Recognising that everyone has unique needs, I work towards aligning them with the company’s objectives set by the leadership team. My focus is assisting drivers with their individual requirements while striving to achieve organisational goal.

What advice would you give to women thinking about a career in the bus and coach sector?

The bus and coach sector requires a balanced lifestyle or robust support network, particularly for individuals, with young children, given the industry’s demand for flexibility and resilience. However, this flexibility allows talent to be ready recognised, benefiting both employees and employers alike.

What has been your bus or coach sector career highlight?

Throughout my career, I’ve experienced numerous highlights. As a driver, receiving commendations from customers, and customers asking and knowing my name is a great feeling. As a Relief Driver Manager, the most rewarding highlight is when a driver expresses gratitude for my support. This acknowledgement assures me that I’m making a meaningful difference in their professional journey.

What three things could the Bus and Coach sector do to improve the industry for Women?

There is a pressing need for greater consideration of today’s working environment to support the advancement of younger females.

In the engineering field, there should be increased encouragement for women to pursue careers, addressing gender disparities.

The driving sector, it is essential to acknowledge menstruation as a factor, ensuring accessible facilities and showing compassion for individuals experiencing menorrhagia, especially during late duties where there are no additional toilet facilities.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years’ time?

My goal within the next five years is to hold a position where I can actively contribute to employee empowerment, foster motivation among staff members, and cultivate a positive working environment conducive to enhance performance.

I am however not sure what role within the business that may be.

Anything else you would like to share?

The bus and coach industry offers rewarding experiences based on what you choose to make of them. It fosters a sense of extended family, enriching your journey within the industry.

Thank you for sharing your story, Trena, you are truly an inspiration!

To find out more about who Trena works for, and career opportunities visit: Abellio London | Abellio London

Transport UK London Bus are founding corporate members of Women in Bus and Coach

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