For the first time in its 115-year history Yellow Buses has a female driving instructor – and it wants more to follow her.
Sam Bowen joined the Bournemouth-based company a decade ago and later became a mentor for new drivers before applying to become an instructor.
Now she is helping to drive recruitment as Yellow Buses aims to put more female drivers on its fleet.
Following three weeks of intense training and studying for eight modules, Sam was awarded her NVQ diploma as a PCV Instructor.
Now she can be seen sitting behind her charges on the Yellows Buses’ learner vehicle, putting them through their paces.
Sam, who is married to Yellow Buses Traffic Manager Dave, said: “I saw the opportunity to train as an instructor and I applied.
“I don’t think being a woman makes a difference now. I spent three weeks training in Manchester and they really make you think about it.
“There are eight modules to pass, three of which are practical. It is a challenging job but I am enjoying it.
“To teach someone to drive a bus there is a five week programme and we are getting more and more female drivers.
“I would urge women to consider bus driving as a career; the hours can be convenient and you get to meet lots of people. I have really got a great deal out of it.”
Mike Conroy, Operations Manager, said: “Sam has got there on merit and we’re all very proud of her. It’s not an easy thing to pass and she’s worked very hard.
“The industry has traditionally been male-dominated but we’ve been recruiting female drivers for years.
“Now we are seeing them working up through the company which has always been our hope.
“There are lots of job opportunities at Yellow Buses and driving roles often suit mums because of the shift patterns.”
To be a bus instructor you must be over 21 years of age and have held a full unrestricted driving licence for at least three years in the category in which you wish to instruct.
You must also meet the stringent requirements for good health and vision that are required of anyone wishing to drive a large vehicle.