From education to employment

West Yorkshire Mayor launches challenge for young people to help drive future for greener travel

Young people across West Yorkshire are being challenged to help drive the future of greener travel, as part of a skills initiative from bus operators Arriva, First, Transdev and the West Yorkshire Combined Authority (WYCA) which has engaged over 8,000 young people to date.

The bus operators and WYCA, together forming the West Yorkshire Bus Alliance, are entering the third year of their education engagement programme delivered by Ahead Partnership, which is designed to inspire young people to learn more about the public transport sector and promote greener modes of travel through “hands-on” activities and real-life challenge briefs.

Aligned with broader ambitions to tackle the Climate Change Emergencies declared within the region, the latest exciting activity, the Bus to the Future challenge, has recently been launched by Tracy Brabin, Mayor of West Yorkshire.

Secondary school and college students are invited to create a piece of media – for example a poster, social media campaign, animation or even a TikTok – that persuades friends and family to use the bus for their journeys. As well as offering students the opportunity to develop skills like creativity and communication and get a glimpse into careers in areas like transport, marketing and environmental sciences, the challenge will give entrants the chance to win a goody bag of prizes including bus travel vouchers.

Stephanie Burras CBE, chief executive at Ahead Partnership, said:

“We’re now entering into the third year of the West Yorkshire Bus Alliance education programme, which has been extremely successful in engaging thousands of young people with the importance of bus travel for our environment as well as the range of exciting and sustainable career oppprtunities in public transport.

“We know that younger generations are extremely passionate about green issues like climate change which affect us all. The Bus to the Future challenge empowers young people to get thinking about how public transport – and those delivering important work within the sector – can play a meaningful role in addressing these challenges. It also helps them to develop their own key skills such as creativity, teamwork and working to a brief which will stand them in excellent stead for the future.”

Tracy Brabin, Mayor of West Yorkshire, also commented:

“In West Yorkshire we’ve set ambitious targets to take responsibility and help address the climate challenges we face, and the way we use transport is central to these efforts. Young people have an integral role to play in this, as the future of the workforce who can help lead the way to deliver action that makes a difference.

“The Bus to the Future challenge is a really practical way for young people to help promote greener modes of travel. By giving young people a better understanding of public transport, and providing the opportunity to develop the skills needed to work in this industry, we can in turn support young people to pursue rewarding careers in the sector.”

The challenge is open to any young people aged 11-18 years old and living in West Yorkshire, and entries must be submitted by 31 March 2022.

To complement the challenge, a suite of Key Stage 3 Maths and Science lesson resources has also been created to help teachers enhance students’ core subject skills in the context of real-life transport sector challenges like bus timetabling and improving carbon emissions. The resources have everything teachers and students need for fun, engaging lessons that will help students aged 11 – 14 years understand how the skills they learn in lessons can be applied to jobs in public transport. Any school in West Yorkshire can take advantage of these resources for free via Ahead Partnership’s website.

Ahead Partnership is a purpose-driven business that works with businesses across different sizes and sectors. Over the last 15 years, the organisation has been delivering social value projects that seek to overcome inequality, promote opportunity and positively impact wider society.

The team delivers projects nationally, developing and delivering programmes that provide solutions to specific issues, bringing together area and sector-based partnerships and working with business around ESG and social value. Current programmes support social mobility and diversity and inclusion whilst helping young people to make informed choices about their future careers. Key sectors include built environment, digital and technology, transport, professional services and green economy.

The organisation works in partnership with businesses, the public and community partners, including public and private sector organisations such as local enterprise partnerships, local authorities, and businesses such as PwC, Arup and Landsec. This partnership work aims to support the creation of a successful, resilient society where everyone, regardless of their background, can succeed.

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