Company bus-y helping create job opportunities

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UNEMPLOYED people in south east Northumberland will be given free bus journeys across the UK in January as part of a new industry initiative, Bus for Jobs.

Greener Journeys, a campaign to promote sustainable travel, has agreed a deal with the UK’s leading bus companies to enable jobseekers travel free of charge for a month.

Jobseekers who have been unemployed between three months and one year will be eligible, although the scheme is particularly targeted at young people for whom unemployment rates remain high.

Stagecoach is one of the firms supporting the initiative, which will cover over 70 per cent of the nation’s bus routes, providing practical help for people who are actively seeking work or taking part in training.

Managing director of Stagecoach North East Phil Medlicott said: “The bus is Britain’s most important mode of public transport.

“It is how millions of people across the UK access employment, education and training every day.

“Bus for Jobs could make the vital difference for those who are struggling to get that first job or training place.

“In particular, I hope we can help more of our young people make a better start in life.”

The scheme will cover holders of a JobCentre Plus Travel Discount Card. Those who are eligible for the card, which is available through JobCentre Plus, include people claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance, incapacity benefit, employment and support allowance or income support and actively engaged with a Jobcentre Plus adviser in returning to employment.

Claire Haigh, chief executive of Greener Journeys, said: “This scheme will help get people on the move and into work or training.

“Our research shows that bus travel makes a massive contribution to UK Plc; and reliable, affordable, and accessible bus routes can help to boost economic growth.

“In difficult economic times, this new scheme from Greener Journeys will provide a helpful start to the new year, enabling job hunters to travel around more easily in search of employment, to job interviews with prospective employers, and to training courses which will help them find work.

“This scheme will give people looking for employment access to free bus travel for one month.

“This will help many of them secure their first job or a place on a relevant training course.”