A Sunderland business boss has gone from behind a desk, to behind the wheel of a taxi in aid of a company recruitment campaign.
Marketing Manager of Station Taxis, Natalie Bland, went through the process of becoming a licenced taxi driver and taking on some shifts out on the road to help and advise people who are interested in taking it up themselves.
This follows a shortage of new drivers coming into the trade, which the company is keen to change.
Natalie said: “We have multiple vacancies available, but struggle to find people that are licenced to drive a taxi. Most people that come into the trade have a friend or relative that can talk them through the process. Now, from first-hand experience, I can be that helping hand and provide guidance to anyone that is interested in starting a career as a taxi driver”
The process included completing a ‘Knowledge Test’ of the Sunderland area, Safeguarding Training and going through DBS and medical checks before being able to get into a taxi and picking up passengers.
Natalie added: “Completing the licensing process myself has helped me understand what taxi drivers have to go through to get their badges to start working. It isn’t as simple as jumping into a taxi and turning on a meter. Taxi drivers have to go through stringent checks to ensure the safety of the public, as well as a test based on the highway code, licencing law, locations and routes throughout Sunderland and the surrounding areas.”
Once licenced, Natalie took to the driving seat of a taxi and experienced what it was like picking up passengers throughout the city.
The 28 year old from Sunderland, explains what her first shift was like “I’m not going to lie, getting behind the wheel and receiving my first booking was quite daunting. But once I had completed a few journeys, used the system and spoke with customers, I loved it and realised there wasn’t anything to be nervous about. If I can do it, anyone can!”
“The job would be ideal for anyone who doesn’t want to be stuck in an office. You get to see new things, places and speak with people, while also enjoying the freedom of flexible working hours and uncapped earnings”
As a result of the research, the firm is now working with Sunderland College who have created a Taxi Academy to deliver relevant industry training, where candidates are guaranteed an interview upon completion.
Heather Harrop, Curriculum Manager at Sunderland College said: “This is a unique opportunity for anyone who wants to become a taxi driver. The course includes the theory and practical knowledge and skills to prepare learners for a career in the Road Passenger Transport Industry. On completion, you will have everything you need to get you on the road as a licenced taxi driver: Sunderland Knowledge test, Licence, medical, Passenger Assist Training, DBS and qualifications in the Road Passenger Transport Industry.”
To find out more about the Taxi Academy Course please call 0191 511 6000 or visit https://sunderlandcollege.ac.uk/courses/taxi-driver-academy/
For more information about applying for vacancies at Station Taxis, please call Natalie on 0191 516 5070