Mother and daughter First Bus team call on more women to become drivers this International Women’s Day
A bus driving, mother and daughter duo in Aberdeen are calling on more women to consider taking up a role in the industry this International Women’s Day, as First Bus seeks to recruit more female drivers.
Mum, Lisa MacGregor, 41, works as a Relief Driving Instructor at First Bus and has been driving Aberdeen’s buses for 14 years. She started her career in retail and loved the customer service aspect of this.
Lisa said: “A desire to provide an excellent customer experience was already there from my roles in retail. I had always loved driving, having grown up with a dad who has been a bus driver for 35 years. I then married someone who has driven buses for 26. I thought if they can do it, I can do it!”
Since starting out as a driver, Lisa’s career has gone from strength to strength, taking on more responsibility with each step. In her role as Relief Driving Instructor, Lisa teaches learner bus drivers the ropes, over a three-week long intensive training course of eight hour shifts on the road.
Lisa’s daughter, Cara, 20, followed her mum into the same career and was Scotland’s youngest female driver at the age of 18. Having also started out in retail, Cara decided to apply for a bus driving role after seeing how much her mum and dad loved it.
Cara said: “It’s been great working with my mum – everyone always says it must be so difficult to work with a parent, but it really depends on your relationship. Mum and I are like best friends, and it’s been great to have her as a mentor at work and at home, where she would take me out in the car to help me learn routes I was struggling with.”
Lisa and Cara are now keen to put any remaining stereotypes that bus driving is a ‘man’s job’, to bed and encourage more women to consider taking up a career in the industry.
Lisa said: “My friends think I’m mad, but I genuinely love what I do. I do wish more women would give this job a go. If you enjoy driving and working in a public facing role, it’s worth considering. It’s a brilliant, varied job, in which no two days are the same and it’s lovely being able to say hello to people who travel with you regularly.”
Both Lisa and Cara are unphased by being outnumbered by men. Cara said: “The staff here are so lovely and everyone’s got your back. I’ve made some forever friends here.”
Lisa added, “All women can do this job, so it would be great to see more coming through the door. We’re a close-knit family really. Everyone gets along and we all look out for each other.”
With a baby on the way, Cara has praised First Bus Aberdeen for being supporting and flexible. She said: “The company has been great, they’ve helped accommodate reduced shifts so I’m not too tired and they’ve been flexible in ensuring I have days off to attend appointments.”
Expecting a baby girl herself, Cara shared what she thinks would get more young girls into the bus industry, “I’d love to see more transparency about bus driving as a career to help change the mindsets of those who think it’s a man’s job. It’s definitely not.”
Andrew Jarvis, Managing Director for First Bus in Scotland, said: “If you look around any of our depots, there’ll be, without doubt more men than women - but this is not a man’s world and we want to play our part in getting rid of the harmful stereotype that says that working in our industry is a ‘man’s job’.
“With each year, there are more women joining our workforce, and they bring so much to our company. It’s fantastic to be achieving more of a gender balance and whilst we’re not there yet, we’re heading in the right direction.
“With every recruitment drive, we’d love to see even more female applicants – from drivers, to engineers, to electricians, we’re confident that more women can find a great career at First Bus.”
In 2020, First Bus re-invigorated its focus on Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI), joining forces with an external expert partner to carry out a full ‘EDI health check’ of the business, seeking to understand what the bus company does well and what could be done better.
As part of this, First Bus is keen to understand much more than policies and ways of working - it aims to listen to its colleagues’ experiences in order to create a strategy and action plan that will truly make a difference. First Bus believes that this will help its workforce to feel, heard, valued and included.
For more information about a career with First Bus, click here: https://www.firstbus.co.uk/about-us/news/women-first-bus