Unsung Heroes sponsored by sponsored by Backhouse Jones
Winner, Gold Award, Sheila Swift – Nottingham City Transport
Sheila’s love, commitment and dedication to NCT over nearly four decades is unquestionable and her very thorough knowledge of the company places her in a unique position of being able to answer every question thrown at her. Joining City of Nottingham Transport in 1981 as a short-hand typist, Sheila has progressed to be Nottingham City Transport’s HR Admin Manager, where she has overall responsibility for recruitment, making sure NCT’s rules, policies and procedures are followed and delivering many HR projects. In a difficult recruitment climate where driver shortage is pandemic across the industry, Sheila has defied the odds and moved NCT from a driver deficit to surplus within the space of 12 months. Sheila also played a fundamental role in ensuring NCT was compliant with GDPR regulations in 2018. Sheila won NCT’s Unsung Hero Award in 2019 with a unanimous judges vote, with the opening remark on her nomination form summing her up best: “Cut Sheila open and her blood would be NCT green”.
The judges noted Sheila’s outstanding contribution over 37 years in the many roles she has undertaken. She has always been keen to take on new responsibilities and devoted to the company. She’s also been instrumental in achieving the enviable position of recruiting a surplus of bus drivers, something with which many companies have struggled.
Specially Commended, Chuk Ejakita – RATP Dev London
There are few people who can say they know every driver by name and are familiar with every square metre of every bus route running out of Edgware and Harrow – but Driver Training Supervisor (DTS) Chuk Ejakita can. As well as knowing each route, he is aware of the potential hazards and all the hotspots along them. Most of his work as a DTS involves retraining drivers, carrying out assessments and undertaking accident investigations rather than teaching new recruits to drive. As well as his role as a DTS, Chuk is a relief manager, standing in for the Garage Risk Manager, Staff Manager or Service Delivery Manager, when required.
Chuck Ejakita also works for RATP Dev London, but as a Driver Training Supervisor. Although he also stands in as Garage, Risk, Staff and Service Delivery Manager when needed. His ability to successfully turn his hand to so many roles is one of the reasons the judges wanted to especially pick out Chuck as an Unsung Hero.
Specially Commended, Eddie Hollis – RATP Dev London
Eddie Hollis is RATP Dev London’s dedicated driving examiner, an outstanding professional and a model employee. He is, however, much, much more than this. He is the ultimate go-to person par excellence on all matters related to driver training. He will happily, gladly, and without a word of complaint wear several ‘hats’ at a time. He provides reliable guidance to garage-based trainers when re-training drivers and, if required, will take on the driver himself. He also manages the CPC training, gets involved in RATP Dev London’s annual Bus Driver of the Year competition, looks after the training fleet and stands in for the departmental manager. He has worked his way up through the ranks from that of a conductor. He remembers vividly his bus driving test, describing it as a ‘terrifying ordeal’. He promised himself that he would make the experience less daunting, should he ever achieve an examiner’s position. One suspects that he has delivered on his promise. He is friendly, approachable and well-liked by all, a true professional who conducts driving tests, but with a smile.
Completing our trio from RATP Dev London is Driving Examiner Eddie Hollis. He is friendly, approachable and well-liked by all who regularly receives glowing audit reports from the DVSA. He’s a true professional who conducts driving tests, but with a smile.
Specially Commended, Craig Trueman – trentbarton
“What can I say about Craig?” asks his manager Harold Rose, area engineering manager for trentbarton. “I simply can’t fault him.” Craig joined the bus industry as an apprentice at Dunn-Line in 2003 before moving on to Veolia, then Yourbus and Skills Coaches in roles including fitter, supervisor, foreman and night fitter. He joined trentbarton in 2014. In April he was named Engineer of the Year at trentbarton’s really good service awards 2019. Last year he achieved a 100 per cent pass rate with the 60 buses he prepared for their rigorous PSV test. Craig, 32, is described by all as an excellent engineer. Harold said: “Craig is a star. There is nothing so sure in my eyes as that. Every course I have sent him on, he has passed first time.” Craig recently took and passed his forklift test and has done an extensive air conditioning training course. He now manages all the aircon repairs and servicing across the trentbarton group, including its sister operator Kinchbus. Harold sums up: “As a skilled engineer, as a team leader, as a communicator, as a teacher, as a mentor – he’s a great guy. If he was female, I would marry him!”
Engineer Craig Trueman’s manager at Trentbraton says that he simply can’t fault him. As a skilled engineer, a team leader, a communicator, as a teacher, as a mentor – he’s a great guy. And the judges agreed!
Specially Commended, Roy Barrett – RATP Dev London
Working chargehand Roy Barrett started his career with RATP Dev London’s predecessor as a general hand when he was just 20. He aspired to more in life and watched his colleagues at work, repairing buses. He became mesmerised with the possibility that he, too, might one day be given the opportunity to train as a mechanic. His chance came about four months later when he embarked on a bus mechanic training course. As well as being a great mechanic, Roy is well-liked by his colleagues so when a vacancy arose in 2011 for a working chargehand, Roy stepped into the role. He has flourished and has gone from strength to strength. His natural aptitude for the job has grown and he has discovered new talents. His style of communication, for example, combined with his straight-to-the-point way of getting to the heart of the matter has earned him the respect of his colleagues. He knows exactly how to get the best out of his team. He is able to talk the language of his colleagues on the shop floor but when it comes to standing in for his manager, achieves that rather well, too.
Working Chargehand Roy Barrett is a great mechanic, well liked and respected by his colleagues and managers. He able to talk the language of the his colleagues at RATP Dev London on the shop floor as well as being able to stand in for his manager.
Specially Commended, Mitesh Patel – Metroline
Mitesh Patel is one of Metroline’s brightest and best young engineers. With an unrivalled passion for engineering and what his managers describe as a ‘can-do’ attitude, the last 13 years have seen Mitesh grow from an apprentice into to a qualified engineer and master technician. His enthuisiasm and skill has been recognised by the prestigious Institute of Road Transport Engineers (IRTE) Skills Challenge, where he was named winner of the Top Scoring Mechanical Technician category as well as a runner up in the Vehicle inspection category.
Mitesh Patel is one of Metroline’s brightest and best young engineers. With an unrivalled passion for engineering and what his managers describe as a ‘can-do’ attitude, Mitesh has grown from apprentice into to a qualified engineer and master technician. The judges were full of praise for him.