Arriva Plc is among Europe’s biggest transport services providers, operating bus, train, airport transfers, commuter coach and waterbus services across 11 European countries: the UK, Czech Republic, Sweden, Denmark, Italy, Hungary, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Slovakia and the Netherlands.
The company was acquired in 2010 by Deutsche Bahn, a worldwide passenger and logistics service provider. The company employs over 35,000 employees and its annual revenue is in excess of three billion pounds.
The company was established in 1938 in Sunderland and was known as Cowie after the founding family. From a single used motorcycle shop, the business expanded into automotive retailing in 1960 and moved into the bus services business in 1980, acquiring the Grey-Green business in 1980; topping it with the acquisition of The British Bus Group Plc in 1996.
The business was renamed Arriva in 1997 and consolidated over 140 transport brands across Europe, including vehicle rentals, commuter coach and rail services.
The company rebranded as a primary provider of bus and rail passenger services in 1999, selling off the automotive retailing, contract hire and vehicle rentals businesses.
Both variants of the graduate programme—General Management and Engineering Management—are of 18 months’ duration and cover the UK Bus and UK Rail business for domestic trainees and mainland Europe businesses for trainees in those countries which offer the above programmes: Denmark, Portugal, Sweden, Hungary, Italy, Netherlands and Slovakia.
Both programmes are structured in a phased manner, with some phases, e.g. the induction programme, being common to both variants.
Engineering Management Programme:
- Induction programme covering the European transport industry, Arriva Group and the business line in which trainees are employed
- Training—formal and practical—provides an extensive insight of passenger transport, business operations and strategic objectives and firsthand experience of day-to-day work, e.g. driving a bus as part of the UK Bus placement
- Each trainee is paired with a divisional mentor who provides support and guidance with technical training activities and assignments, such as workshop management, the complete vehicle construction cycle and relevant statutory/regulatory requirements. Professional development, i.e. accreditation from the appropriate professional institutions is facilitated through bespoke courses affiliated as approved professional development activities.
In the UK, there are two such programmes offered to engineering trainees: (a) Arriva Bus Engineering Development Scheme (ABEDS), approved by IMechE; and (b) ATOC Professional Engineering Scheme (APEDS) in the Arriva Trains Wales business.
Planned rotations through relevant business divisions, apart from the main business in which trainees have been recruited, as well as secondments to other transport providers, who operate in that UK domain.
The final phase involves taking on a substantive engineering role, involving the application of business and technical skills covered in the training phases. Upon successful completion of the graduate programme, trainee engineers will take up a similar full-time position and the final training phase provides a hands-on experience of the same.
Engineering trainees take up their first full-time role designated as Assistant Engineering Managers or as Engineering Managers. Based on performance against targeted objectives and available business positions, the next step may involve an Area or Regional Engineering Management role within three to five years of joining and a senior management role within seven years.
General Management Programme: As in the Engineering Management Programme, trainees begin with a comprehensive induction, a thorough understanding of the passenger transport business via formal and practical training and a bespoke training and development programme on the basis of a Personal Development Plan (PDP); developed with assistance from a dedicated divisional mentor, listing on-the-job and off-the-job experiences.
The former covers technical and operational knowledge and skills, while the latter covers business management skills—managing people, projects, financial and administrative functions.
Cross-functional placements within various Arriva business lines and external secondments provide trainees with learning macro-level business subjects, such as employment law, scheduling and planning, accounting, finance and marketing, procurement, management and maintenance of resources and infrastructure.
The substantive role phase of the programme involves general management trainees taking up practice roles available in the assigned business division, such as Bus Depot or Customer Services managers.
Following completion of the training programme, trainees move into their first fully-fledged roles as Depot Managers, Project Managers, Station Managers or Customer Services Managers.
Successful completion of targeted job objectives and performance achievements may lead employees to move into Area or Regional Manager positions in three to five years and a senior managerial role within seven years of joining the company.
Internships & Placements
Arriva does not have a structured work placement on the lines of the graduate programme. However, local offices across the UK may provide short-term work opportunities to meet business requirements and interested students are advised to contact these offices.
Arriva do not currently offer an apprenticeship scheme.
School Leaver Programmes
Salary & Benefits
Graduate trainees receive a starting salary of £22,500–£25,500, dependent on location and the initial benefits package includes a company pension scheme and discounted travel across the UK Arriva network.
Eligibility requirements for the Engineering and General Management Programmes in the UK are the same except for the requirement of an undergraduate degree in Electricity or Mechanical Engineering for the engineering programme.
The requirements are a 2:2 or higher degree, hold a full UK driving licence and possess the necessary permit to live and work in the UK.
Other qualities and skills Arriva looks for in potential employees are: organisational and leadership skills, ability to motivate others, strong oral and written communication skills, flexibility, an ability to cope with work pressures, creative and analytical thinking, self-initiative, a systematic work approach, commercial awareness and focus on client service and engagement.