In 2010, the UK Bus Awards Management Committee decided to expand its recognition of outstanding service in the bus industry by making awards to ’Unsung Heroes’.
The objective is to reward one or more individuals who perform junior or middle management roles in the industry and are known for their hard-work, loyalty and devotion to duty. In many cases, the ‘Unsung Heroes’ are those who keep the wheels turning against all the odds; no transport operator can do without such people – even though they often slave away for years with no recognition save their own satisfaction in a service delivered and a job well done, whether they work for the operator or the local transport authority. Above all, an ‘Unsung Hero’ will be someone who demonstrates the importance of ensuring that the services are delivered for the passenger and for the local community.
Winner: Keith Shayshutt
Wellglade - owners of Trent Barton
Our new Unsung Heroes Award goes this year to somebody who has worked in the industry for 39 years, and held posts all over the country before joining his current employer. There, he has played a key and influential role in the company’s widely celebrated and admired business strategy and company culture. His enthusiasm for the bus business and its customers are limitless, and in that regard he remains an important influence to his colleagues and his team.
He commits a day per month to at least a 12-hour driving duty to stay close to the product, at the coal face - and he is a shareholder in another operator with an outstanding reputation as well as with his main employer.
He lives and breathes “the bus” and his work round the clock, and in nominating him, his colleagues say that “every encounter with him produces a new idea or more motivation to better ourselves”.
A Portrait of Keith
Keith Shayshutt has spent a lifetime in the bus industry in important and influential roles, yet remains far from the limelight.
Starting his career with Eastern National in 1971, he became a successful product of the legendary National Bus Company Senior Management Training Scheme. Since then, Keith has enjoyed a variety of operational and commercial roles from Chelmsford to Cwmbran, but his most recent and current tenure at trent barton - where he is currently Head of Development on behalf of the Wellglade Group of companies - unleashed his creativity, vision, passion and never-failing enthusiasm for the benefit of a wider audience.
Though he is a seasoned busman, Keith differs from many of his contemporaries: he is not stuck in his ways, and his positivity and ambition have led him to be affectionately nicknamed “blue skies Keith” inside the company. In his current role, he leads all aspect of service planning, timetable scheduling and is a member of the business’ Project Group, which exists to generate new ideas and develop existing products. He is responsible for managing Wellglade’s portfolio of contract work, achieving maximum return and profitability. Currently, he is reviewing all aspects of the newly acquired TM Travel business to prepare it for future stability.
On a wider scale, he continues to push boundaries as to what the bus can and should achieve, and has played a key and influential role in the widely celebrated and admired Trent Barton business strategy and company culture, but has not necessarily achieved the same recognition as his leaders. His enthusiasm for the bus business and its customers are limitless, and in that regard he remains an important influence to everybody at Wellglade and indeed in the wider industry.
As a shareholder in Wellglade and the rural independent operator Norfolk Green, he commits a day per month to at least a 12-hour driving duty to stay close to the product, at the coal face. By spending a moment with him, you can see that he is not in it for the financial rewards, but for his personal enjoyment and motivation. He lives and breathes “the bus” and his work round the clock.
Commendations for Outstanding Service
In addition, the Management Committee awarded three Commendations for Outstanding Service to nominees for the Unsung Heroes awards. These were:
Tony Dallison has spent four years leading the Safer Travel strategy for National Express Group, and has worked hard with partners in the police and local authorities to deliver safer bus journeys in the West Midlands and Dundee. His role covers all elements of passenger and driver safety across the group’s bus operations.
Nic Hake has worked in the bus industry for 21 years and is currently Classroom Training Officer at Stagecoach South West based in Exeter. Nic works tirelessly to improve the quality of training. He inspires people to do the best job they can, making learning fun.
Bill Priday has spent 21 years at Stagecoach Manchester. He has two roles, as Health, Safety and Environment advisor and a route inspector. He has proved his ability to give sound advice, backed up by research and knowledge which delivers tangible benefits to everybody.
You can read more about their work for the bus industry by clicking the appropriate pages.
Who could be nominated?
Any person working for a bus operator or local transport authority continuously for the last twelve months, who could show service in a management and/or supervisory role of more than five years.
… and by whom?
Senior managers in both operating companies and local authorities were asked to nominate people within their own organisation or with another operator or local transport authority who, in their view, qualified for this recognition.
Criteria and Entry Requirements
The award will be made on the basis of the quality of the submissions made, which need to set out:
- The nominee’s length of service
- The nature and extent of their current responsibilities
- The consistency of the nominee’s record of achievement
- The sustainability of the entrant’s contributions
Tony has spent four years leading the Safer Travel strategy for National Express and has consistently pushed the boundaries of partnership working to deliver safer bus journeys in the West Midlands and Dundee. His role covers all elements of passenger and driver safety within National Express Group’s bus operations and he has a truly commendable dedication and commitment to cutting bus crime.
Tony works tirelessly to support the nine bus depots based in the West Midlands and the Dundee bus operation. He is constantly on hand to support garage managers with a wide range of challenging and difficult issues ranging from driver/ passenger assaults to community outreach work. Tony has an incredibly positive outlook on all the issues that arise throughout the course of the day - a trait which has earned him the respect of the partner organisations National Express works with.
He works closely with the Police and CCTV operatives within each of the garages to ensure that when an incident occurs footage is quickly extracted. Tony's work has led to the detection and prosecution of many hundreds of bus offenders and this commitment also extends beyond the workplace as he also volunteers as a special constable.
Tony's outstanding contributions to transport include:
- Forming the first partnership between a bus operator and a local authority to actively identify and prosecute bus smokers. To date over 60 bus smokers have been prosecuted and partnerships are now in place with Birmingham, Coventry and Solihull Councils.
- Performing presentations to over 18,000 schoolchildren in the West Midlands annually. These events have fostered close working relationships between National Express and schools/ colleges
- helping to reduce anti social behaviour on the bus network.
- playing a major role in the 54.4% drop in bus related crime within the West Midlands over the past four years.
- introducing an innovative 'code of conduct' with schoolchildren across the region. Pupils, their parents and teachers sign the code outlining what is acceptable behaviour on the bus. The scheme is now used by over 50 schools in the West Midlands. lf a child breaks the code their parents are invited to the school to view the onboard CCTV of the incident. This has proved a highly successful deterrent to bad behaviour.
- implementing CCTV technology which can beam live images from National Express buses to handheld screens in nearby police cars. This is the first time this technology has been used outside London and lets police monitor vehicles and intervene when an offence occurs.
- playing a crucial role in establishing the 'See something, say something' text line in the West Midlands. This text service allows bus passengers to report acts of vandalism and anti social behaviour instantly to National Express. The data is shared with the police who ensure every person receives a follow up phone call to reassure them that action will be taken.
ln 2006 Tony was part of the team from National Express Bus Division that picked up the CILT Annual Award for Excellence for Safety from HRH The Princess Royal.
Tony is a family man and has seven children with his wife Sue. He was a bus driver for over ten years before progressing to become an inspector and Safer Travel Manager in 2006. His work is leading the industry and has repeatedly attracted media attention for its cutting edge attitude to combating bus crime. Tony has represented National Express on a host of TV programmes about bus crime including BBC programmes 'lnside Out' in January 2009 and Crimewatch Roadshow in June 2010.
Aside from preventing crime and anti social behaviour on the bus, Tony also works closely with vulnerable bus users. He regularly meets with Autism West Midlands, Age Concern and charities which support blind and deaf bus users. He is committed to ensuring that bus travel is accessible for everyone in the region. He has put special travel plans and garage visits in place for vulnerable travellers. These additional steps have encouraged many of them to venture onto public transport for the first time.
The framework for partnership working Tony has put in place will carry the Safer Travel Partnership forward in the West Midlands for many years to come. He has worked relentlessly to forge relationships with local authorities, schools, charities and the police to build a network that is able to detect and respond to bus crime quickly and effectively.
Phil Bateman, CPT West Midlands Regional Manager, said: "The CPT West Midlands Region believes that it is individuals like Tony Dallison, working within our member bus companies that gives great hope in the future for the delivery of better, safer, and more innovative customer programmes. lt is individuals and public transport operators working together with the community and other agencies that will ultimately encourage more sections of our community back on to public transport."
2010 sees Nic Hake celebrate 21 years working in the bus industry. He joined Devon General in 1989 as a driver, initially based on Exeter city routes. Then, after passing his large vehicle PCV test in 1994, Nic moved onto cover a variety of rosters including rural, express and tendered work.
During this time, Nic also acted as a mentor for new drivers, an aspect of his role he really enjoyed and wanted to develop further. This prompted him to apply to the training school in 2001, where he was readily accepted.
From 2002 onwards Nic has occupied the full time role of Classroom Training Officer, providing inductions for driving and engineering staff, classroom based learning and a variety of training programmes. His role covers everything from first day 'meet and greets' for new starters to attending 'train the trainer' courses so he can instruct staff who are looking to take on training responsibilities within the company.
A combination of ever improving training standards across the industry, and Nic's own desire to provide staff with a comprehensive and well rounded learning experience, means those leaving Nic's classroom are equipped with the skills to cope with a variety of situations in the depot, out on the road and in customer service situations. Nic is very keen to educate staff in the importance of good customer service skills. Our drivers in particular are the public face of our company and he believes in doing everything possible to make sure they are confident in their knowledge and friendly in their approach to our customers.
Nic genuinely enjoys meeting new people and inspiring trainees to do their jobs to the best of their ability. His love of drama is given free reign when it comes to role-playing situations staff may encounter - much to the entertainment of those in the classroom! His sense of fun means that those attending his courses really enjoy their time in the training school and he is held in great affection by staff at all levels.
Nic is passionate about helping staff to understand and appreciate the difficulties experienced by minority groups. This has led to him recently being asked by Stagecoach Group to help develop a Disability Awareness and Social Inclusion course for the drivers' CPC.
Nic also does not believe that his role ends when a staff member steps out of his classroom. He takes a personal interest in their progress within the company, providing ongoing encouragement, help and advice.
Nic's current responsiblities include:
- A first day 'meet and greet induction' for all driving and engineering staff. The day includes presentations introducing both Stagecoach Group and Stagecoach South West, a health and safety induction with a full depot tour and introduction to key members of the management and supervisory teams.
- Familiarisation with common transport industry terminology and examples of hazard perception to help prepare trainees for their PCV test.
- Full training on how to use our ERG ticket machines plus a comprehensive introduction to the various types of tickets available to our customers and how to issue them and a thorough review of our 'Conditions of Carriage'.
- CPC 3 day 'New Driver Training Programme' - a comprehensive customer care course which covers areas including customer service, managing difficult situations and disability awareness and social inclusion training.
- Personally organising mentor drivers for each new driving school trainee, taking time to match personalities so both mentor and trainee can get the most from the relationship.
- Ongoing CPC training for existing driving and engineering staff plus all related administration (organising courses and candidate attendance from all local depots).
- Administration of personnel folders, PCV licence and CRB checks plus measuring and ordering of uniforms for driving staff.
- Development and maintenance of KPI and CPC records plus the creation and maintenance of a uniform database for all South West uniformed personnel.
Nic is justly proud of developing a training programme which not only makes new staff members feel a part of the team but also impresses upon them the importance of their jobs. Two key parts of this are emphasising the importance of good customer service skills through role-play situations and his work in raising awareness of the needs of minority groups, whether these are customers or in peer to peer work relations.
To deepen his understanding, Nic has spent time at the 'West of England school for Young People with Little or No Sight' to listen to the challenges they face when using our services. He has also attended an RMT conference which discussed the experiences of gay, lesbian and transgender minority groups who work within the transport industry. He promotes tolerance and understanding of anyone who may appear or act differently to the perceived society norms.
Nic's work was recognised at Group level when he was asked to contribute to the Disability Awareness and Social Inclusion Course.
In addition, Nic is always on the lookout for courses to attend which will improve his own skills when delivering training to our staff. Those attended include 'Skills for Induction Presentation', 'Driver Recruitment and Selection', 'Equal Opportunities for Driving Instructors' and various 'Train the Trainer' courses.
Whether it is health and safety legislation, traffic regulations, correct ticketing procedures or customer service skills, our staff have to learn and digest a great deal of information. By making the learning experience fun and engaging, Nic holds the attention of his trainees, helping make the retention of information that much easier.
Nic's personality really shines out. His warmth and sense of humour can put even the most nervous new recruitment quickly at ease. He is also keen to maintain a relationship throughout a staff member's career, providing a listening ear and helpful advice way beyond their initial days in the training school.
Nic is passionate about ensuring staff are educated about the many kinds of people they will encounter from day to day, always asking that everyone be treated with tolerance and respect. This passion was recognised when he was asked to contribute to the Group level Disability Awareness and Social Inclusion Course. Dorothy Hermiston, Deputy Training & Development Manager for Stagecoach Group, had this to say about her experience of working with him:
"When we decided to develop a new Disability Awareness and Social Inclusion Course for Drivers' CPC Nic Hake was the first person I thought of.
"Nic's dedication to customer service and his passion for training the drivers to think first about the customers is outstanding. He is always thinking of new ways to make the customers' experience with us better. He has a flair and enthusiasm for Customer Service and he passes this on to the drivers in his own unique way.
"I can't think of anyone who deserves this award more - if only every bus company had a Nic Hake!!"
And it is not just within Stagecoach Nic's skills are recognised. Kelly Warner, Children's Services Transport Officer for Torbay Council, recently attended Nic's three day 'New Driver Training Programme' to deepen her understanding of our policies and procedures. Kelly came away from the course wanting to do it all over again:
"Nic was fantastic and his enthusiasm for his job really shows in his training. It definitely helped to engage the group and motivated everyone to learn. He sets an excellent example for all new Stagecoach employees, getting the right balance of professionalism and friendliness."
This is echoed in feedback from trainees who have attended his courses and consistently give him the highest marks for the course content and structure:
- "Helpful, thought provoking and good preparation for different situations." (Driver D Tibbs)
- "Nic is very professional and puts everyone at their ease. Very enjoyable." (Driver L Blanning)
- "Favourite part of the course - it was good to hear opinions of others and Nic's on subjects. The course probably wouldn't be as much fun/interesting if Nic wasn’t doing it." (Driver GM Gooding)
The final word should go to Colin Kneeshaw, Stagecoach South West's Training Manager and Senior Driving Examiner, who has known and worked with Nic since he first started in 1989:
"Nic manages to be 100% professional in everything he does but still add his own sense of humour which makes learning with him fun. In the training school we see new staff arrive on day one who are nervous and know no one. Within half an hour Nic has put them at their ease, got them talking and relaxed and made them feel welcome to the Stagecoach group - it's a real skill.
"Nic is Nic - totally unique and a pleasure to know."
Increasingly the health, safety and environment is having an impact on the way the industry does business. Stagecoach Manchester needed to find an individual who was aware of the needs of the business, but also had a passion for health and safety and an acute awareness of how the company business affects the environment ...... well they found him, and he’s called Bill Priday.
Bill Priday has a dual role at Stagecoach Manchester. He splits his time between being the Health, Safety and Environment advisor for the company and being part of the Roadside Service Delivery Team. His HS&E responsibilities are to ensure compliance with group HS&E policies and procedures and to develop and implement strategies to improve the HS&E awareness and performance at depot and company level. This involves taking a proactive approach to HS&E. This means developing existing audit procedures to ensure they remain relevant and deliver outcomes, and are not just a 'tick box" exercise. The role is very much hands-on, assisting local depot management with both practical advice and sharing best practice. Reporting to the Engineering Director, Bill is tasked with improving HS&E audit performance and employee accident reduction.
Bill started work with the company as a bus driver in 1989 and continued in this role for 18 years at the Princess Road depot. Bill then put his name forward to represent Princess Road as their local HS&E representative. During this time Bill demonstrated a talent and passion for HS&E, which resulted in his appointment in 2008 as the HS&E Advisor for Stagecoach Manchester. This was a new role in the company and Bill has worked passionately to deliver a high standard and has taken the role and the performance of the company to new heights. The role is delivered on a part time basis, allowing Bill to also maintain his understanding of service delivery through his other part time role as an Outside Inspector.
Accident Prevention and Reduction Strategy
Bill is called upon to investigate employee accidents- involving depot visits, taking statements, and gathering evidence to identify the root causes. But Bill, being Bill has extended this responsibility further. In 2009, he developed a strategy for Stagecoach Manchester to reduce employee accidents. The course focussed on work place accidents, the causes of accidents and how detailed investigation can identify trends and therefore provide an excellent framework for accident prevention. The course was delivered by Bill to all supervisors and managers and it has had a significant effect on employee accident reduction, which is down year on year 56%.
Health and Safety Initiatives
Using his own initiative Bill has developed several in house HS&E related training courses, ranging from roadside recovery training to his secondry support course focusing on the correct supporting of vehicles in the workshop.
He has developed the route risk assessments for our drivers. The format and attention to detail of these assessments has been recognised by other companies in the Stagecoach group, who have taken up Bill's assessment format as the standard.
Bill has created and delivered contractor site safety courses, where he explains the HS&E expectations the main contractors must meet whilst working on our sites. With Bill's attention to detail and relentless following up of his health and safety findings the company has successfully improved year on year annual group health and safety scores.
Bill is also regularly called upon by the group Director of Health and Safety to conduct studies and assessments of various HS&E projects.
As a responsible operator, Stagecoach Manchester has been working to reduce the carbon footprint of the company through recycling, waste reduction and energy consumption reduction. Bill was instrumental in the setting up of the depot 'green teams' which focus on environmental issues, and with his help, guidance and enthusiasm are delivering year on year reduction in electricity usage of over 20%.
Bill recognised that the company had to improve their recycling credentials. Following extensive and thorough research, Bill suggested that the company use a specialist waste recycling firm called Bagnal and Morris. Working closely with them to analyse waste disposal data and having conducted a field trial at Hyde Road depot, Bill's recycling recommendations have now been implemented across all depots. The company is now forecasting to cut its waste disposal costs by over 30%, whilst increasing the recycling of general waste over the next few years to over 90%.
In 2008 Bill recommended the company take the portable appliance testing of electrical equipment in house, he carried out a detailed investigation into the test equipment and training required, this initiative has resulted in annual savings of over £20,000 against using an outside contractor. Bill is now responsible for all Stagecoach Manchester PAT testing.
Bill’s enthusiasm about health and safety is infectious, he has the ability to energise people around him in what is, lets be honest, not the most stimulating of subjects. He has the ability to communicate this at all levels, from delivering a presentation on waste recycling initiatives at a company management meeting, to holding a secondary support course for first year apprentices.
He is well respected by the company directors, his colleagues and peers, not only because he has experience as a bus driver, but he has proved his ability to give sound HS&E advice, backed up by research and knowledge of the industry which has resulted in tangible outcomes and benefits for the company and the group. It's those tangible outcomes that set Bill apart: he is commercially aware of the impact HS&E can have on any business and yet he has demonstrated that his HS&E initiatives can, and do, save money.
Bill meets regularly with the Engineering Director to discuss HS&E issues and after bouncing around ideas it is not unusual for the Engineering Director to receive an email from Bill in the early hours of the morning, where Bill has been researching and comes up with his classic line .... " I've been
Probably the most startling fact about all of Bill's achievement is, that all this has been achieved by Bill working part time, as his other day job is as a route inspector on the roadside service delivery team. He is studying, in his own time, the recognised Health and Safety Qualification NEBOSH (National Examination Occupational Safety and Health). This clearly demonstrates just how committed and focused Bill is in his role: he really does eat, sleep and drink the health and safety of his fellow employees, and understands the way we work has a massive impact on the environment around us.